10 Things You Need to Know About the Cats vs Cards

The annual battle between Kentucky and Louisville is just around the corner and for both teams it will be a huge game.  Here are 10 things you need to know heading into the game.

  1. Rick Pitino will not be in the building but he will be a big topic of discussion– Unless you have been living under a rock you are aware that Pitino was fired after an FBI investigation revealed he was involved in a deal with Adidas to pay a player to go to UL.  He will be watching the game from parts unknown but he will be talked about by fans and media all day long.  The post game interviews should be very interesting as coach Cal and David Padgett will likely be asked to comment on Pitino.
  2. Kentucky losing to UCLA was the worst thing that could have happened for Louisville– The Cards lost any chance of catching Kentucky by surprise when the Cats lost to the Bruins.  Rest assured that the loss got the Cats attention and Cal has used that to his benefit in practice.
  3. Louisville is capable of beating Kentucky– Before Pitino was fired the Cards were considered a top 5 team and title contender.  They have struggled a bit with all the off the court issues and an interim head coach who has virtually no experience.  With that said they have a fairly deep team of talented players.  They also have a lot more experience than the Wildcats which will certainly be a factor on Friday.
  4. Kentucky really needs a bounce back win– After dropping the game to UCLA the Cats confidence level surely took a hit.  A win against an NCAA tournament caliber team and huge rival would go a long way in helping get confidence back.  It is also extremely important in regards to NCAA tournament seeding down the road.
  5. Big Blue Nation needs a win– Many fans have been extremely pessimistic about this team for much of the early season and that got a lot worse after the loss to UCLA.  A win against the Cards would help get a lot of fans off the panic button.
  6. Quade Green guaranteed a win over the Birds– After Kentucky beat Virginia Tech Quade Green said that his Christmas present to BBN would be a win over Louisville.  He then went out and laid an egg against UCLA in the following game.  It was his worst game as a Wildcat and it will be crucial for him to play much better against UL.  He is best suited to handle the full court press that the Cards will likely use for much of the game.  Expect Green to have a big game on Friday.
  7. David Padgett is the Cards interim coach– He played at Louisville under Pitino and was the only assistant coach that was not fired after Pitino was sent packing.  This is his first season as a head coach at any level and it shows.  His in game coaching is no where close to Pitino and that has had an impact on the team early in the season.  Louisville hired Trent Johnson who is a former coach at LSU to be the associate head coach and help Padgett on the sidelines.  The problem with that is that Johnson was not all that great as a head coach himself.  Padgett is probably just a stop gap until next season unless he really excels this year.
  8. Adel is not a grammy award winning singer– Deng Adel is the Cards leading scorer and best player on the team.  He always seems to play well against Kentucky and he will probably give them problems on Friday.  He is capable of making shots from deep but is most dangerous off the dribble.  Kevin Knox will have his hands full on the defensive end against him.  Adel is also a big energy guy for the Cards and his team mates feed off him.  That makes slowing him down a key issue for the Cats.
  9. The Cats have a size advantage– Kentucky is bigger at almost every position and has more depth inside than Louisville does.  The question is if the Cats can capitalize on their advantage.  It should give them an edge in rebounding and interior scoring but they have to go out and do it on the court.
  10. Louisville’s press should actually help Kentucky– If the Cards press in the full court it should actually serve to help get the Cats into a full court game.  This team is at it’s best in the open court and on fast breaks.  It will be interesting to see if Padgett will stick with the press or try to slow it down into more of a half court grinder.

It will be a packed house in Rupp Arena and the crowd should get to watch a very good game.  The edge goes to Kentucky in terms of size, talent and homecourt advantage but Louisville has the experience edge to even things up a lot.  In the end Kentucky should survive a tight contest and come away with a hard fought win but it is no sure thing.

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