I have been up since early this morning and in the grand scheme of things, I haven’t gotten one thing done today. I have only listened to local sports talk radio and been on social media keeping up with everything UofL-UK for tonight. But isn’t that what I am supposed to be doing today? I suppose it’s finally time to come up with my prediction post, so here we go…
First of all, the December 28th game at Rupp means nothing to me. For one, it was at Rupp. Russ Smith and Luke Hancock shot a combined 10-31 that game. Speaking of Luke, he wasn’t even starting at the time, Wayne Blackshear was. Mangok Mathiang started and played 22 minutes. Chane Behanan played 20 minutes and played that game knowing he was about to be kicked off of the team. Does any of that sound like the Louisville Cardinals that you have seen recently? We are a completely different team, and yes UK is a little different as well, so that is why the last game doesn’t mean much to me. Actually if I do take anything away from it, I am glad that UK doesn’t have a revenge factor for this game. So they can have that game at Rupp, I’ll take this one tonight.
Kentucky is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since winning the Championship in 2012
They have won 4 National Championships since 1978
They had the #1 recruiting class this year according to ESPN
John Calipari is coaching in his 9th* Sweet 16
Frank Vogel* (who is cheering for UL this weekend)
Road Through The Tourney:
#9 KSU 56-49 W
#1 Wichita State 78-76 W
#5 Andrew Harrison, 6’6, 215 Lbs, Freshman, Guard
Andrew Harrison was widely regarded as a top 5 player in the class of 2013 with Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, and twin brother Aaron Harrison. In his Freshman year at uk he has put up 11 points per game, 3.8 assists and 0.5 steals per game. Had a season high 26 points vs Tennessee on January 18th. Had a season high 9 assists vs Georgia in the S.E.C. Tournament. Chose Kentucky over Maryland, SMU, Baylor, Kansas and Arizona
Jeff Borzello of cbssports.com took the 16 teams that are left in the NCAA Tournament and ranked the starters from 80 to 1. Borzello says that “It’s not based on potential, NBA prospects, or purely college numbers. It basically comes down to, if I need a player for the next two games or four games, which guy am I taking?” Let’s take a look at how he ranks the starters for both Louisville and Kentucky.
75. Stephen Van Treese, Louisville: Without Chane Behanan, Van Treese has had to play a bigger role down low. He’s averaging 9.3 rebounds in his last six games.
48. Chris Jones, Louisville: Jones came to Louisville with plenty of hype, but he’s been inconsistent at times this season. He needs to pressure the Kentucky guards.
34. Luke Hancock, Louisville: Hancock is Mr. March for the Cardinals. He was the Most Outstanding Player at last year’s Final Four and is averaging 18.5 ppg in the 2014 tourney.
14. Montrezl Harrell, Louisville: Harrell’s emergence down the stretch took the Cardinals to a different level. He has racked up six double-doubles in his last 10 games.
2. Russ Smith, Louisville: Smith has been a little too out of control in the tournament, with 13 turnovers — but Louisville needs him to a menace at both ends of the floor.
Louisville and Kentucky will meet on Friday night in the Sweet 16 in Indianapolis, IN. We all know that already. When the brackets came out, everyone knew this had a realistic chance of happening. And now here we are, just a few days away from Indianapolis not knowing what they got themselves into when they said they would host another Regional.
The Cards and Cats took two different paths to get to this point. Louisville played against a team that resembles them and knew their every move, and they escaped at the end. Then they battled St. Louis in a defensive game and scored enough points to pull away late. Kentucky played a very bad Kansas State team that will probably be playing at the YMCA next week. Then they played the undefeated Wichita State shockers in a very exciting game that was back and forth and they won at the end.
Two teams heading to the Sweet 16. Two of the most storied programs in all of college basketball. Two very different reactions about winning an NCAA Tournament game in the Round of 32.
All this week we will be breaking down the match-ups at each position for the Louisville vs Kentucky basketball game for this Saturday December 28. Today we begin with the point guard position.