51st CONTEST BETWEEN CATS AND CARDS TIPS AT 7 P.M. TONIGHT
It'll be a battle of the undefeated Cats (7-0) against the rapidly improving Cards (3-4) that UK has won for the last four years. Last year, in the KFC YUM! Center, the Cards roared off to a 13 point lead at halftime but the Cats climbed back in the second half for the 77-68 win. The M&M girls led Louisville in scoring...Myisha had 17 and Mariya 14.
|Will Walz break out the checkered shirt|
for this one?
Louisville comes off a 75-42 Sunday win against Valparaiso in the KFC YUM! Center that put five Cards in double figures. The Cards sprinted off to a 15-0 start in that one and Jeff Walz substituted liberally throughout the contest.
So, who wins tonight? We'll toss a few scenarios out here for consideration.
LOUISVILLE WINS IF...
|Radio for this one on 790 WKRD with Matt|
-- Controlling the boards. Cortnee Walton has been crashing the boards with authority lately but it's actually Hines-Allen who leads the team in rebounds. They could use help tonight from Sam Fuehring and Erin DeGrate tonight to prevent the second chance point opportunities and get the ball back into Louisville's possession.
-- Defense! Defense! It's the aspect of the Cardinal game that has taken the longest to come around...and against a Wildcat squad that averages 86 p.p.g....it'll be severely tested tonight. If the Cards can hold UK under 70, I like Louisville's chances.
KENTUCKY WINS IF:
-- Controlling the guard play. Makayla Epps and Janee Thompson have thrived over the last several seasons against Louisville's guards. The dribble-drive has served UK quite well and if they can establish that successfully tonight, it could be a long night for Louisville. Freshmen Maci Morris and Taylor Murray have provided steady and dependable guard-play so far for UK and must be reckoned with.
-- Slow down the start and finish strong. Louisville has sprinted out to fast starts against Dayton, Michigan State and Valpo. If UK can turn the tables on that and also be the dominant team in the final ten minutes, they're likely to end up with the "W".
-- Shoot at their present pace. The Wildcats are shooting 49% for the season and holding opponents to a 32% mark. If they pull off those kind of numbers tonight against the Cards, you'll likely see a Kentucky win.
My success rate at picking winners has been about 5% since September....so I should probably pick UK in a blowout win to ensure a UofL victory. I do see a hard-fought game where the experience of the Cats back-court will match up against the proven M&M duo and the the key to this one could possibly come down to how well recent additions Asia Durr and Briahanna Jackson do in their first appearance in the rivalry game.
Louisville wants to avoid getting into a track meet against Kentucky and if the Cards can control the tempo and find success with outside shooting they could spring the upset. UK is the most explosive offensive squad that UofL has faced this season...so the improving Cardinal defense must not take a step back tonight.
It should be a fun one tonight in Lexington. CARDINAL COUPLE will be on-hand and provide you a full game-time report of the action via Twitter (@Cardinal Couple) and in the Friday edition here at the website.
Give us your prediction in the comments section or via e-mail and we'll make mention of who got the closest in tomorrow's article. For the record, Paulie is saying 68-65 Louisville and Sonja says 77-62 Kentucky.