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National, state media members picking Cats to beat Cardinals Saturday

Louisville’s loss to Georgetown on Wednesday was “damaging” to the fourth-ranked Cardinals going into Saturday’s game at No. 3 Kentucky and ESPN college basketball analyst says that’s one reason he’s picking the Wildcats to win 74-68. “The only way Louisville has a chance is to make a lot of 3’s like Indiana did (when it gave UK its only loss),” said Vitale Thursday. “If you don’t make 3’s, you don’t beat Kentucky. Louisville will battle, but when it is all said and done, (John) Calipari’s team will not lose on its home court.”

Vitale also says there’s no doubt “Kentucky has absolutely more to lose” in the game than Louisville because of lofty preseason expectations for Calipari’s team.
“Kentucky has more to lose, Louisville has more to gain,” Vitale said. “The standard is so high for Kentucky, this is a game they have to win.”

Here’s how other national and state media members responded when asked who would win the game and which team had more to lose/gain in the game.

Question: Who do you think will win Saturday’s Kentucky-Louisville game and why?

Kyle Macy, WLAP Sunday Morning Sports Talk: “I will take Kentucky! I think the home court will be the difference.  U of L has only played one game outside of the KFC Yum Center so far and that was at Butler, who is having a down year.  Seemingly, all Big East teams are taking this approach of playing only home games vs non-conference opponents so as to build up a high numbers of wins and thereby a higher RPI.  (see Syracuse, there recent game at NC State was their first true non-conference road game since 2008)  Then, with these elevated rankings, when they lose multiple games in conference it doesn’t hurt their rankings.  Granted the Cards have played some good teams, but playing on the road can be a challenge, and you never know how a team will react?”

Michael DeCourcy, Sporting News: “At least on the front end, that doesn’t seem like a tough question. Kentucky has the better players and is playing at home. That should get it done. But the Wildcats would be wise to not leave it close at the end, and absolutely to play to the final buzzer. One thing Louisville does as well as anyone: believe. Sometimes I think they’re changing clothes in the locker room after a loss and still trying to figure out a way to turn it into a win.”

Keith Taylor, Winchester Sun: “Kentucky has proven to be a tough team to beat under John Calipari at Rupp Arena and I don’t think it will change against an instate rival. Louisville is ranked right behind Kentucky in the polls, but, Louisville’s roster isn’t interchangeable like Kentucky’s and the Wildcats have proved they can win without Terrence Jones. Louisville is a good team, but I really don’t think the Cardinals can matchup with Kentucky’s size in the post and won’t have answer for Anthony Davis inside. The return of Jones, along with Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist give the Wildcats an edge in this one.”

Chris Dortch, Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook: “I think Kentucky will win, for a couple of reasons. I think the home-court advantage for Kentucky has become huge in coach Calipari’s three seasons. And I think Kentucky’s frontcourt is more talented and physical than Louisville’s.”

Larry Glover, Larry Glover Live: “I definitely think UK will win. The Cats hold all of the Cards, so to speak, with talent and home court advantage at the top of list. Louisville’s only chance is that they catch the Cats a little flat and there is NO way that Cal and the Big Blue Nation will let that happen.”

Matt Jones, Kentucky Sports Radio: “I will take Kentucky due to the combination of more offensive weapons and home court advantage. Both teams can play defense, but I simply don’t see how UL will be able to score on Kentucky. They don’t have the offensive firepower of UK and will be unable to get the easy baskets that the Cats can produce.”

Jacqueline Sprague, WTVQ: “I think Kentucky will win the Louisville game. It will be a tough battle but I don’t think the Cards have enough ammo to beat the loaded Cats team, especially with T. Jones playing. However, this ESPN magazine coming out with Anthony Davis adds a little more fuel to the fire.”

Alan Cutler, WLEX-TV: “I like UK and not because I work in Lexington. It’s at Rupp. UK has better talent. But for those UK fans who hate Louisville and don’t give them any credit, so far this year when it comes to playing offense, pretty is not the word you would use. But they play defense and they are tough. March tough? No. December tough. For UK fans, the raw power of the athletes often makes some exciting plays, but pretty is not a word you would use for their offense. UK is still trying to figure out their rolls and has a long ways to go when it comes to playing together. But, for a young team they play defense and they are tougher than Cal tells us. But, Cal is right, they aren’t March tough. December tough? Yes.
“Look for a low scoring game. Hope that the refs don’t decide the game with blowing the whistle too early and too often with too many of the best players sitting and watching. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist says he won’t change how he plays. But he’s been picking up ‘two’ fouls quickly.  Scoring eight points in the first half against Lamar is okay.  Playing only seven minutes in the first half because he was in foul trouble isn’t.”

Mark Mathis, Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer: “UK will win the game 77-68. It has more overall talent than UofL, although the Cardinals have decent depth despite all their injuries. Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist need to continue to play strong inside and in the lane. Terrence Jones needs to have a much better effort than he did at Indiana.”

Mark Buerger, WLAP: “UK wins. I’m hard pressed to find a position where Louisville has an advantage over Kentucky (maybe Siva, but he can just as well play Louisville out of a game as play them into one). Between that and the game being at Rupp, it’s UK’s to lose.

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  1. grant

    I hope and wish that not only does uk win , but i want the subs coming in with about 3 minutes left in the game. Wishful thinking maybe , but i really despise the cards.

  2. Karen Sprinkle

    I think that if the Cats play the way they are capable, the Cats will win. A key in the game will be turnovers, and I think Teague will up his game and take care of the ball. He needs to keep his composure, as the Cards will try to get him (and the rest of the Cats) upset (ala Cousins two years ago). All the Cats need to rebound as that is one of the things the Cards do well. It will be interesting to see if Coach Pitino learned anything from the debacle years ago when the Cats tried to press Kansas and got beat badly. With every Cat able to handle the ball fairly well, pressing would seem to be a bad idea against UK. Less than 24 hours now…. Go Cats!

  3. Rodney

    Oh I have no doubt that Louisville will bring the full court press. I agree it may not be a good idea, but that is Pitino’s identity and he’s not gonna change. They will press…. and they will bite, and slap, and hack, and trip, and push, and tackle all to try to turn it into as much of a “rugby” game as possible, in hopes to rattle and frustrate the young UK players, because there is no way that they have the players or the athletes to beat the Cats in a “basketball” game. I would like to see Kentucky press them some, because I think we win going away if it turns into a track-meet. I have always heard it said that pressing teams don’t like to be pressed and we have the size and athleticism to really bother them if we do indeed pick it up full court. We might not do it for the full 40 mins, but it could be really effective in spurts. Siva is the head of the snake. You have to frustrate and take him out of his game, and Louisville will struggle. They are not a great offensive team anyway.

    I look for TJ to bring some intensity to the game for this one. TJ and Davis own the lane and MKG owns the court, while Lamb and Miller will have the 3 goggles out! Louisville will hang around for a while, but in the end the Cats just have too many weapons. UK wins by 10-12 points. Go Big Blue!!!

    1. larryvaught

      Don’t see that Cards have any choice but to press. UK too talented in half court for Cards to guard for 40 minutes

      1. Rodney

        As long as we are strong with the ball, we are too talented in the open court for Louisville too. We are too long, too fast, and too athletic. I still think we could potientially be a hard team to press. We can have 5 ball-handlers on the court at the same time and we have the potiential to go over the top with our length. But you are right, they will press. Their only hope is that they can turn us over with their pressure. Take care of the ball and we should be fine.

  4. TheProfessor

    Early Vegas Line: UK by 12 points


    1. larryvaught

      seems like a big line, uk has not covered spread in seven straight games I think

      1. TheProfessor

        I think the line is about right. As for covering, they have fallen short 7 of the last 8 games. They are due to cover, and I believe they will cover tomorrow

        1. Rodney

          I’m with you professor. I think Cats by 10 or 12. The Vegas line is about right….I think. The end of the bench guys won’t be in there to kill the spread in this one. Petal to the Metal all the way!!

  5. coldspringmike

    Boy O boy, 12 points is a very large margin in a game like this. Hope Vegas is right, will make it a lot easier watching at home from the the recliner

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