By LARRY VAUGHT
Often the Kentucky-Louisville game produces a key player that no one was quite expecting.
Remember the 13-point game that Dominique Hawkins had in last year’s Kentucky win. Or what about the national break-out game that Josh Harrellson had in the 2010-11 season to help UK win at Louisville.
So I asked media friends who they thought might be the key player in tonight’s game for each team.
Jeff Drummond, Publisher All-Wildcats.com: “For Kentucky, I’d say it’s Derek Willis. In my view, he’s the X-factor who can turn the Cats from good to great. It’s hard to count on what exactly you’re going to get from him — somewhat similar to Alex Poythress — but on his good days, it makes this team almost impossible to defend. For Louisville, I think it’s probably Quentin Snyder. He’s got a tough challenge on his hands going up against De’Aaron Fox. Plus, the Cats can roll other defenders at him like Isaiah Briscoe, Malik Monk and Dominique Hawkins. He’ll have his hands full, but if he can handle all that pressure, the Cards may have a puncher’s chance.”
Tom Leach, UK Radio Network/Leach Report: “Derek Willis is one and Isaac Humphries could be important if Bam gets into foul trouble. There’s often an unlikely hero—like Hawkins last year. For the Cards, I would say Quentin Snider and his ability to handle the defensive pressure from the UK guards.”
Larry Glover, WVLK LarryGloverLive: “For the Cats, Bam is the big key. I’m confident that the UK guards will play well but they need a solid, if not great game, from Adebayo to win. For UofL, its Donovan Mitchell. He leads UofL in scoring and needs a great game for the Cards to win. If he gets dominated, UK could run them off the court.”
Keith Taylor, Kentucky Forward/Northern Kentucky Tribune: “De’Aaron Fox will be a key for the Wildcats just as Dominique Hawkins was in last year’s game for the Wildcats. Quinton Snider will be the key player for the Cards. Should be a good matchup for both teams and exciting game to watch.”
Mark Buerger, WLAP Sunday Morning Sports: “De’Aaron Fox for Kentucky. Can he make good decisions and maintain his poise against the way Louisville defends. VJ King for Louisville. Will he get to play much? Will Rick let him play through mistakes? Will a freshman this good ever go to Louisville again?”