The Courier-Journal’s Tim Sullivan knows betting against a Calipari-coached Kentucky team in Rupp Arena isn’t a wise play.
But he’s doing it this week, predicting a six-point Louisville victory over the Wildcats.
Sullivan makes two good points that are hard to disagree with — the first being Skal Labissiere going up against a much more physical big man in Chinanu Oknuaku:
Should Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku be able to exploit Labissiere’s learning curve, and absorb some of Mathiang’s minutes without reverting to his foul-prone past, the Cardinals should have enough of a rebounding edge to offset Kentucky’s superior quickness on the perimeter. [C-J]
Then Sullivan notes Rupp Arena isn’t exactly a hostile environment, another fair point:
With the students consigned to one end of the floor and the premium sections generally occupied by middle-aged money, the building’s seating configuration eliminates the feeling that hostile fans are hovering over the visiting players. It’s a hard place to play because of who you are playing, not where you are playing. [C-J]
In the end, he thinks it will be a 74-68 victory for the Cardinals, which would be only the second for Rick Pitino in the rivalry since Calipari took over in Lexington.
More on Sullivan’s reasoning: Picking Louisville, even at Rupp