Louisville (10) downs Kentucky (6) in an in-state thriller
Santa Claus indeed came to town early in the city of Louisville, Kentucky with the Cardinals winning in a thriller against their in-state rivals. For the 2nd time since the Calipari era began at Kentucky, Rick Pitino improves to 2-8 against Calipari with a win that could help build a strong resume for a #1 seed in March. Louisville needed to keep Kentucky off balance and take advantage of costly turnovers, slow down the tempo by playing a suffocating zone defense, dominate the defensive glass and neutralize Malik Monk.
Guess what? They did.
Monk went to the bench early, gathering two fouls in the first half. When he wasn’t on the bench, Monk tried to force shots that simply weren’t there by going 1-9 from the three-point line. You don’t have to be John Wooden to know that isn’t acceptable and is a far cry from his performance against UNC last weekend. To add to Kentucky’s woes, De’Aaron Fox and Isaiah Briscoe combined for a dismal 8-20 from the field and were in foul trouble halfway into the second half. Needless to say, Louisville needed to shut down the typically overwhelming guard play of the Wildcats and to the dismay of Big Blue Nation
Needless to say, they did.
Surprisingly, the Cardinals posted an impressive offensive stat-line by going 42.9% beyond the arc and 43.3% from the field. Leading the offensive effort was freshman guard Quentin Snider who had a fantastic game with a season high 22 points, six rebounds and five assists. Louisville simply played better basketball the entire game and seemed to play with more intensity and focus than the young Wildcats, which isn’t surprising considering that this is the first true road game of their college career for four of the starting five for Kentucky. However, it wouldn’t be fair to say that Louisville didn’t earn this hard fought victory against a very good Kentucky team.
Because if you ask me, they did.