NCAA BREAKDOWN: Morehead State

Morehead State, Louisville's first round NCAA opponent, is led by 6-8 senior forward Kenneth Farried, the NCAA's all-time leading rebounder. What are the key's for Cardinals Thursday against the Eagles? InsideTheVille.com breaks down the Cardinals first round matchup.



    Morehead State
    Head Coach: Donnie Tyndall
    Conference: Ohio Valley
    Record: 24-9
    RPI: 76

    LOWDOWN

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    Morehead State enters the NCAA Tournament as the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament champions. The Eagles defeated Tennessee Tech, 80-73, in the tournament championship game to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.

    Coached by Donnie Tyndall, the Eagles finished second behind Murray State in the OVC regular-season race, then won the OVC Tournament for the second time in the last three seasons.

    The Eagles are led by 6-8 forward Kenneth Farried, the NCAA's all-time leading rebounder. Farried, a likely first round NBA Draft selection, averages 17.6 points and 14.5 rebounds. He posted 24 points and 15 rebounds in the OVC title game as Morehead pounded Tennessee Tech on the boards 42-25.

    Morehead State, though, isn't a one-man team. Kenneth Faried is definitely the star for the Eagles, but 6-4 guard Demonte Harper is also one of the top players in the Ohio Valley Conference. He averaged 16 points, 3.4 assists, 4.9 rebounds and shot almost 40 percent on three's this season. Harper led Morehead with 27 points and 11 rebounds in the OVC championship.

    Terrence Hill, a 6-1 junior guard, is the other double figure scorer for the Eagles, averaging 10.4 points. Hill, though, shot just 38 percent from the field and has turned the ball over 65 times this season, 18 more than his assist total. Sam Goodman, a 6-2 guard, and Ty Profitt, a 6-4 guard, round out the starting lineup. Goodman averages 8.4 points, while Profitt adds 7.7 points per game. Typically, Morehead State goes seven deep. Drew Kelly, a 6-7 forward, and Lamont Austin, a 6-0 guard, are the Eagles top two reserves. Kelly averages 5.3 points; Austin 3.1.

    Some assorted rankings: Morehead State averages 69.8 points per game (143rd nationally); 37.5 rebounds (53rd nationally); 12.3 assists (214th nationally); and 46 percent field goals (65th nationally).

    Opponents of note: Florida (lost 61-55); Ohio State (lost 64-45).

    KEY MATCHUPS


    Morehead State's guards vs. Louisville's fullcourt press: Morehead State sometimes can have turnover problems, evidenced by their 22 turnovers against Tennessee Tech in the OVC finals, and 23 turnovers earlier this season in a 19-point loss to Ohio State. Louisville will try to rattle the Eagles with relentless fullcourt pressure, and that approach could prove effective, especially considering Morehead State's lack of depth. If Morehead State can't handle the heat, they'll be going home early.

    Louisville's frontcourt vs. Kenneth Farried: Louisville has struggled at times rebounding the ball this season. On five occasions, the Cardinals have been out-rebounded by double-digits. Louisville lost all five of those contests. Kenneth Farried is the nation's leading rebounder and is relentless on the boards. Florida's Billy Donovan compared Faried to former NBA star Dennis Rodman, and Louisville's No. 1 focus will be trying to keep him off the glass.

    NCAA RESUME


    Morehead State finished second in the OVC behind Murray State with a 13-5 record. Kenneth Farried led the Eagles to their second NCAA appearance in three seasons with a win over Tennessee Tech in the OVC Tournament championship. The Eagles enter the tournament having won 12 of their 13 games.

    Ranked No. 76 in the RPI, Morehead State played Florida tough in a five-point loss to the Gators in December. Morehead State beat MVC champions Indiana State 71-65 last month. The Eagles strength of schedule was also boosted with a game against Ohio State early in the season.

    FINAL THOUGHTS

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    Louisville should be familiar with Kenneth Farried and Morehead State. The Cardinals knocked off the Eagles by 20 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2009, though Rick Pitino's team led by just two points at halftime.

    Louisville's undersized lineup should matchup well against Morehead State, who start four players 6-4 or smaller. The Cardinals depth and defensive pressure could create big problems for an Eagles squad that isn't deep and has been plagued by turnovers this season.

    If Louisville can neutralize Kenneth Farried they'll advance to play either Vanderbilt or Richmond in the second round. That won't be an easy task, especially with Rakeem Buckles out with an injury. Terrence Jennings likely will draw the assignment of keeping Farried off the boards and his play, particularly on the backboard, will be of major importance for the Cardinals.




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