By LARRY VAUGHT
Look for Louisville to play a variety of defenses tonight against Kentucky if UK coach John Calipari is correct.
“They’re long. They switch, so they could switch pick-and-rolls. They switch one through five at times. They’ll play their matchup zone and tilt it to somebody to take away guys,” Calipari said.
“You watch what they did to Purdue. They took away their two guys. That kid has averaged a double-double his whole career. Then, down there, he couldn’t get a point. They do a good job of taking guys away.
“I would imagine, in this game, they will play fast and if they don’t score quickly, then they’ll play the clock. That’s my guess. My guess would be that they play their 2-2-1 on made goals to slow us down and possibly play it on missed goals and get back.
“How will they play Malik (Monk)? Will they trap? Will the switch? I imagine they’ll try some different things. Run at him with different people to make him think. They’re a terrific defensive and offensive team. I was just working out and watching tape and I had the guys come on over and look. (Louisville) was up 30-10 against Baylor who’s the third or fourth ranked team in the country. They were up 20. I said, ‘Now, I’m going to have to watch the rest of the game because somehow they lost this game. I don’t know where, but I’m in second half and they’re still up 17 or 18.’
“Here’s why I didn’t watch it: What does Baylor play, all you Basketball Bennies? What defense? It’s the greatest. You have no idea what they play, right? If I didn’t watch the game until now, what do you think they play? Zone, because I’m not playing zone.
“I might in this game though, Rick (Pitino). I might. I may play a triangle and two. I’m trying to figure some stuff out. Baylor played man-to-man against them and they got lobs. They play good against zone or man. Look, they’re a top-10 team and we’re on the road. It’s going to be a hard game.”
Kentucky senior Derek Willis says this is not always the most physical game of the season. He says Michigan State, a team UK beat earlier this year, is physical.
“I think just being a rivalry in general it’s going to be one of those games where it’s high intensity. You almost have to play physical and want to fight somebody if you want to have any chance of winning,” Willis said.
Monk had 47 points in Saturday’s win over North Carolina. He knows he’ll be targeted by the Louisville defense tonight.
“Coach Cal will know how to play me. He does a great job in practice of giving me plays, getting me open and getting experience. Whatever they do I think Coach has something for them,” Monk said Tuesday.
“I know they will have some kind of defensive trick for me but we just have to run through our offense and let the game come to you.”
So how would he guard himself?
“Foul,” he said.
My guess is that North Carolina wishes it had and that Louisville will do that a lot tonight.