Believe it or not, Kentucky and Louisville will play a basketball game tomorrow night.
On a Wednesday?
Yes, on a Wednesday.
But the North Carolina game was like three days ago!
Yes, I know. Quick turnaround between two of the biggest games on the entire schedule. That is life.
In order to get you ready for the annual game in the biggest rivalry in college basketball, I put together a fact sheet on the Louisville Cardinals. I know you’ve been busy recovering from Las Vegas and Christmas shopping and getting your TaxSlayer Bowl trip aligned, so I did the hard labor in scouting the Cards ahead of the big game.
Don’t mention it; you’re welcome.
1. Louisville is ranked No. 10 in the AP poll, No. 11 in the USA Today Coaches poll.
Meanwhile, Kentucky is ranked No. 6 and No. 5 in those polls.
2. The Cards have lost 13 of the 15 games against Kentucky when both teams are ranked in the AP poll.
Tomorrow night’s game will be the 16th meeting of such kind, obviously.
3. Louisville has won 53 of its last 54 non-conference home games, spanning the last seven seasons.
The one loss? To the Kentucky Wildcats, of course, in 2014-15.
4. Rick Pitino can’t beat John Calipari.
Aside from a miracle in the 2012-13 game, Pitino is winless in eight attempts against Calipari at Kentucky for a 1-8 overall record. Louisville’s 2012-13 win came against Calipari’s worst team, in the KFC Yum! Center, and only by three points. That Louisville team went on to win the national championship.
Outside of that one blind-squirrel-finds-nut game, Pitino is Calipari’s punching bag.
5. Louisville leads the nation in Ken Pom’s Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.
The Cardinals are fifth in the nation in field goal percentage defense (.359) and 11th in scoring defense (59.4 ppg).
6. The Cards rank fourth nationally in rebounding.
Tough news for Kentucky: Louisville hauls in over 16 offensive rebounds per game, which is a glaring weakness for the Wildcats.
7. Louisville also ranks fourth in blocked shots.
With 7.18 blocks per game, Louisville is fourth nationally in that category. Kentucky is in a close fifth with 7.09 per game and one fewer block on the season.
8. UofL’s top three scorers from last season are gone.
Louisville misses 37 points per game from a season ago following the departures of Damion Lee (15.9 ppg), Trey Lewis (11.3 ppg) and Chinanu Onuaku (9.9 ppg).
Quentin Snider is the team’s leading returning scorer at 9.4 points per game a year ago.
9. Louisville opened as a two-point favorite.
What I wouldn’t give to be back in Las Vegas when that line went up.
The spread has since moved to a pick ’em, although that is moving back-and-forth by the hour, according to VegasInsider.com.
10. Pitino insists he has no plans to slow down tomorrow night’s game.
On his call-in show Monday night, Pitino told his listeners, “We’re not going to slow it down.”
That means Louisville will totally slow it down.
11. Donovan Mitchell is Louisville’s second-best shooter, according to Pitino, which is simply not true.
Also from last night’s call-in show, Pitino said Donovan Mitchell is his second-best shooter.
However, Mitchell is actually the seventh-best shooter on the team with a current average of 29 percent on 18-of-62 shooting from outside.
12. Former UK great Wayne Turner is on staff.
Kentucky’s two-time national champ and career leader in steals now serves as UofL’s Director of Player Development.
Turner was on Calipari’s UK staff in 2010-11 while completing his undergraduate degree.
13. Pitino does not want to be in your selfie.
Rick Pitino says no more selfies. pic.twitter.com/thh6WZUEqv
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) December 16, 2016
14. In case you forgot: Members of the UofL staff provided hookers and strip shows for recruits in the team’s Billy Minardi Hall.
But Pitino had no idea.
15. Louisville will lose tomorrow night.