I’ve been combing the internets all day to find out how the national media’s feeling about tomorrow’s Kentucky vs. Louisville game, but honestly, it’s been mostly crickets. Maybe they’re all distracted by the College Football Playoffs? Maybe they don’t know what to make of this Kentucky team either? Regardless, here’s a small roundup of national takes on the Cats vs. the Cards, along with what the computer models are saying. As of 5:30 p.m. ET, we’re still waiting on the line from Vegas.
Parrish weighed in on the game in his new “Top 25 and 1” (which does not include Kentucky).
So now John Calipari’s team is 8-3 with just one top-100 KenPom win and two sub-100 KenPom losses. Put simply, that’s a lousy body of work.
Will it improve Saturday?
As always, we’ll see. But if the Wildcats are to avoid a three-game losing streak, they’ll probably need to shoot from the perimeter better than they’ve been shooting from the perimeter. And the bad news for UK, in that regard, is that Louisville is holding opponents to just 26.7% shooting from the arc this season, which ranks 12th nationally. In other words, there’s nothing in the numbers that suggests this is the game where Kentucky’s shooting will improve. But basketball is goofy sometimes. So who knows?
The line isn’t out for the game yet, but Dauster says the smart money is on the Wildcats, especially if they’re an underdog.
We’ve seen this story before with the Wildcats. They struggle throughout the first two months of the season before they put together one, statement performance that lights a fire under the program and turns the season around.
I think this is going to be the performance.
Kentucky is coming home after five days and two losses in Vegas. They are going to be playing their first meaningful game in Rupp Arena this season, and it just so happens to come against their arch-rival Louisville.
I also think this is going to be a tough matchup for the Cardinals. They struggled against Texas Tech when the Red Raiders were able to get out and pressure Louisville’s ball-handlers. They beat Michigan at home, but that win was a product of Louisville’s defense. They only managed to score 58 points on 66 possessions. This is also going to be their first road game since the first game of the season, a win over Miami.
ESPN Matchup Predictor: Louisville
KenPom: Louisville 66, Kentucky 65
KenPom’s ratings give Kentucky a 47% chance of knocking off the Cards in Rupp.
Sagarin: Kentucky favored 51% to 49%
Sagarin’s ratings give Kentucky a slight edge in the game (0.14 points) thanks to the home court advantage and predict the total to be 130.24.
The Courier-Journal has a rundown of local and national media picks (including one from yours truly). To check that out, click here.