It’s that time of year 

Cardinal Bird

Louisville vs Kentucky

First off, I want to wish a very merry holiday season to #cardnation & those who take time to read what I care to say. As Merry as the holiday season can be… Louisville fans haven’t felt the New Year GAMEDAY bliss vs Kentucky 7 out of 8 tries.

Not enough down time between rivalry games in my opinion….but who am I?

You never really get ready for these things…. The game. The anticipation is antagonizing. It’s Christmas morning for the rest of the world but for the state of Kentucky, THAT day is tomorrow and I imagine some fans would ask Santa for nothing other than a win in against their rival. Cards fans might be a little more optimistic heading into the matchup than the #bbn but that’s because Kentucky was overrated heading into the season and Louisville was highly underrated. And this week leading up to the game, you haven’t heard much smack talk for the Kentucky fan base exclusively on the matchup, but rather off the court issues that don’t even seem to be an issue for this Louisville team.

So let’s size up the competition for the 2015 battle of the bluegrass: Louisville at Kentucky 


Cal and Kentucky have been known to focus on the very large center position for years but not this go around… This will be a guard heavy game. For Kentucky… It’s guys who have been the star in high school and AAU & are used to having the ball in their hands most of the time. That’s why it would seem that when either does not have the ball, they aren’t sure what to do with their hands. Cue coaching. For Louisville… These guys are men. The two graduate transfers are incredibly vocal leaders who will be a pain in the Wildcats’ side when on defense… Making Kentucky’s already struggling offense, even more sore for the blue fan’s eyes.
Focus on the numbers;

#0, 2, 3 vs 3, 13, 23

Running point:

🔴 Quentin Snider

Avg points 10

Avg assists 4.5

🔵 Tyler Ulis

Avg points 12

Avg assists 5.5

Both sophomores… Q didn’t see the floor like Tyler Ulis at this time next year but I believe Quentin is a head higher in basketball maturity. He’s going to make a few frustrating mistakes but his size and supporting cast is favorable against Ulis.

Complete the backcourt: 

🔴 Trey Lewis

Avg points 15

Avg assists 3

🔵 Jamal Murray

Avg points 17

Avg assists 3

Jamal Murray might be the most developed freshman Kentucky has on its roster. When I watch him play, I get the vibe that he feels he has to put the team on his back to get ahead.. And that most certainly won’t win every game. Maybe a few, but it’ll get played out if the rest of the team doesn’t progress at the speed the fan base desires. Height difference won’t be too much of an issue here because Trey Lewis is a bullet. He’ll dash to the basket, he’ll knock down the three.. The difference is he’s not carrying the rest of them because there will more in the back.



🔴Damion Lee

Avg points 17

Avg rebounds 4.3

🔵Isaiah Briscoe 

Avg points 11.5

Avg rebounds 5.5

Damion Lee is without a doubt my fan favorite. The soft-spoken slasher will be the best on the floor tomorrow as he gets to the basket and 1. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Alex Poythress also defending Lee. The strength matchup between Lee & Poythress could get a little interesting so expect a couple fouls early for the two. For Lee, however, defending Briscoe shouldn’t be too tall of a task as #0 has 3 inches on #13.

The 4: 

🔴 Ray Spalding

Avg points 6.3

Avg rebounds 4.8

🔵 Alex Poythress

Avg points 9

Avg rebounds 7

This is where it gets interesting, #cardnation. I believe Ray will get the start for the game but Alex will have a huge size advantage. He always finds himself alone under the basket for the dunk and it could get a little frustrating for a young Spalding with a high ceiling of potential. The next position is crucial.

Under the basket: 

🔴 Chinanu Onuaku

Avg points 9.5

Avg rebounds 7.5

🔵 Skal Labiseierre 

Avg points 10

Avg rebounds 3.5

No, Nanu doesn’t have the stars next to his name like Skal does, however, both are projected to find themselves on an NBA roster in the future. You couldn’t find me one Kentucky fan that believes Skal is the difference maker in any matchup, let alone the biggest non conference game either team has on their schedule. Alas, the game IS at Rupp and Nanu might already have two fouls today… Which is why losing Mangok’s body underneath is a huge blow for Louisville. He must win the offensive and defensive rebound game to win this matchup.

Crucial 6th man: 

🔴Donovan Mitchell

Avg points 8

Avg rebounds 4

🔵Marcus Lee 

Avg points 9

Avg rebounds 7

One of my favorite recognitions of the NBA season is the 6th Man of the Year award. It just goes to show that you don’t have to be the face of a franchise or even a starter to be an eminent contribution to a team’s success. For Louisville, that guy is freshman Donovan Mitchell. His energy alone makes his game fun to watch. He just might be that guy who always seems to have a coming out party on rivalry day. For Kentucky, it’s Marcus Lee. The junior’s leadership will have to rally the troops along side Alex Poythress to bring the Cats to victory.

However, tomorrow… I’m just feeling it. Louisville will get the win at Rupp with an incredible 45% shots made while Kentucky struggles to ever get on a run. Kentucky might even spend a lot of time at the free throw line but it won’t give them the go ahead. I was worried about the new rule changes this year but the fast pace is favorable to the way Rick Pitino & Louisville want to play. Bring it on, Cats.

As always, go cards! 


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