A look at the matchups for Kentucky's against Louisville Saturday at noon:
Brett Dawson, Publisher: Kentucky 71, Louisville 68
On paper, the Wildcats are double-digits better than the Cardinals. There's more talent, fewer roster holes and a heap of home-court advantage at Rupp Arena. But there's some crucial experience at point guard on the Louisville side, and the hunch here is that Peyton Siva's going to keep the Cards close. It'll take lights-out shooting and an off game from Marquis Teague for Louisville to hang around, but with Terrence Jones hurting and the Cardinals smarting from a Wednesday loss to Georgetown, this one has close game written all over it.
Steve Jones, Recruiting Editor: Kentucky 72, Louisville 64: It's hard to come up with the scenario for which the Cardinals overcome UK's advantage in NBA-level talent and hand John Calipari his first Rupp Arena loss since becoming UK's coach. U of L's M.O. this season to fall behind, then storm back in the last 10 minutes of many of its victories isn't likely to cut it against the Cats. The only major runs UK has allowed this season came under a barrage of three-pointers and a crazy crowd at Indiana, and UK still lost only that game because of a last-second basket. UK point guard Marquis Teague has been turnover-prone at times this season, but I think those miscues are more the result of forcing plays in the half court, not buckling under the kind of full-court pressure the Cards will try to employ. Plus, UK has tall guards and forwards who can handle the ball and pass well, so I don't think the press will bother UK much. I do think UK's length inside will cause the Cards to struggle to score, and I think the Cats will win fairly easily. I think a double-digit UK win is more likely than a victory of any kind by U of L.
Ben Jones, Staff Writer: Kentucky 77, Louisville 67
This will be the closest UK-UofL game since John Calipari landed in Lexington, and that has nothing to do with the Wildcats' talent. Louisville has one of its strongest squads in years and while they're still a notch below their intrastate rival, they'll give them everything they can handle. Gorgui Dieng is strong enough defensively
to keep Anthony Davis from dominating, and Peyton Siva should give Marquis Teague everything he can handle. The game could come down to Terrence Jones and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for Kentucky. Jones can be a matchup nightmare for the Cardinals if healthy. Kidd-Gilchrist is stronger defensively than any UofL player is offensively - so long as the freshman can stay out of foul trouble. Once Kentucky builds a six-or seven-point lead, it'll be hard for the Cardinals to mount a comeback. From there, it's just a matter of making free throws to seal the deal.
T.J. Walker, Staff Writer: Kentucky 84, Louisville 73
The biggest question is which Card will guard Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. UK's Mr.Do-It-All has carried the Cats whenever the offense is stagnant or when the defense needs a stop. While matching his athletic ability is challenging, topping his hustle and determination is nearly impossible. Expect him to be the difference in the game.