Before the season started, I predicted Kentucky would beat Louisville on New Years Eve 76-72. Proof is here. I was pretty thoroughly trashed by the comments section because of that prediction. But as I said then, the new arena gives Louisville 4-7 points. Kentucky is not as good as they were last year, and UK was losing that game in Rupp Arena with 8 minutes left. All signs pointed to another close game, but Kentucky still having too much talent and thus getting the win.
But then a funny thing happened: Kentucky turned out to be as expected, and Louisville turned out to be better than expected. The Cards had been hammering opponents, and they beat one decent team in Butler and one good team in UNLV. And then last night came along, and the Cards were beaten at home by DREXEL. And for those who watched the game, it was no fluke. Drexel controlled the pace of the game, and in the last 10 minutes, whipped the Cards on both ends. It was the first slip-up for a Cards team thinking of being undefeated coming into the Kentucky game.
Now, as far as their opponents so far, Louisville has played a less than stellar schedule. Here is a list of their opponents with current RPI. Louisville has an RPI of 17.:
Jackson State (85)
Florida International (275)
South Alabama (231)
San Francisco (178)
Game to Still be Played
at Western Kentucky (125)
Morgan State (201)
(For comparisons sake, Kentucky has only played 2 opponents with an RPI over 100, compared to the 4 that UL has played. Plus, UL has only played 1 opponent with an sub-50 RPI, while Kentucky has already played 4.)
So, with the loss to Drexel, the schedule is now pretty confusing for the Cards. They hammered every weak opponent, beat their 2 quality opponents comfortably, but now have this loss to Drexel to deal with. Have the Cards just experienced a letdown, or is the Drexel better judge of what kind of UL team this is? A team averaging well over 80 ppg just scored 46 at home.
One thing that UK fans have to stop arguing is that the Cards never leave home and that is why they have looked good so far (sans last night). Newsflash: they play UK at home. So please drop that argument. A better argument is that UL has likely not played a team that can run up and down the floor with them like Kentucky. UNLV was able to do it for a half, but wilted in the 2nd half. Kentucky has a better athlete than Louisville, assuming that depth does not become an issue.
Here is the question for you: After last night’s loss, are you worried about the Louisville game on December 31st? What are the key’s to a Kentucky win?
By the way, I am going to stick with my preseason prediction of 76-72.