Kentucky has a huge advantage in that we’ve played Louisville earlier in the season and we’re familiar with their press defense. While we struggled against it in December, the team has made an effort to work on beating it in practice. Anthony Davis said that the team has paid special attention to their signature backcourt defense and the guys are confident in their ability to take the Cards. When asked how they’d do that, he said by passing the ball and getting easy dunks and layups in transition.
One player who particularly struggled against Louisville’s pressure in the first game was Darius Miller. The senior had eight of Kentucky’s 20 turnovers in the game to go along with four fouls. While his stat line wasn’t anything to write home about, his defense on Kyle Kuric was phenomenal. If Darius can pair his offense from the past few games with his defense from the first meeting then Kentucky will win this by a wide margin. Kuric said that no one has played him like Darius did all season. Miller denied the corner and the wing and held the Cards’ top scorer to only two points.
Louisville’s defense has got them this far, but they haven’t played a team as skilled offensively or defensively as Kentucky. That’ll be a bigger road block than any press they could throw at us. What it boils down to though is what Coach Cal has been preaching since the start of the tournament. The guys just need to go out, play their game and have fun. Anthony Davis said that Cal has been emphasizing that above all else. If these guys can keep their heads and play loose and easy then we’ll need to cancel any plans we might have for Monday night.