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Kentucky Wildcats 58, Louisville Cardinals 50: Post Game Happy Dance

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The Wildcats fight their way through a tough Louisville Cardinals squad in the KFC YUM! Center.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, the Kentucky Wildcats defeat the Louisville Cardinals, and this is the third straight success for the Wildcats against their arch rivals, this time on their home arena. With this victory, the Wildcats remove all doubt, if any still existed, that Kentucky is the best team in college basketball right now. Yes, Duke, Virginia, and a couple of others may feel they are just as good. That’s fine. See you in the tournament.

This was just a nasty defensive struggle. It was extremely physical by both teams, there wasn’t very much pretty basketball, and it was just downright brutal, even cringe-worthy at times. Having said that, we probably should’ve expected a physical grind like this. I’m pretty sure John Calipari is happy about this wrestling match, and the way his young men acquitted themselves.

Louisville deserves a lot of credit. They didn’t back down from Kentucky, they fought and scrapped and did everything they could to win, except put the ball in the basket. Most of that, but certainly not all, was due to Kentucky’s defense. But Louisville missed several easy shots including a dead-bang layup and free throws at the end by the normally reliable Wayne Blackshear. Overall, Louisville fans have to be pretty happy with the effort and defense, but they can’t be too happy with the shooting and overall inefficiency of the offense. They were a worthy opponent, no doubt, but the best team definitely won this game.

Final stats

Observations

  • Kentucky managed to shoot a decent percentage against an incredible defense — 42%. That’s a surprise considering the way the game looked.

  • Kentucky did a good job on the glass, and that probably did more than anything else to help their cause.

  • Offensive rebounds offset turnovers, and vice versa, and it’s a good thing the Wildcats rebounded so well, because they turned the ball over 18 times in what is likely to be a 57 possession game. That’s going to be an ugly number, likely over 30%.

  • There was a lot of contact allowed to go. That’s all I’m going to say about the officiating. Kentucky has to learn to play through it, and I’m sure Coach Cal would like to buy them a beer.

  • Kentucky had 11 assists on 21 made baskets. They have been consistently around 50% assists all season. Louisville had 1 assist. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that.

  • This was such a typical Kentucky-Louisville game, it really isn’t anything we haven’t seen time after time from these two since Pitino and Calipari have been coaches. It was a physical, low-possession scrum.

  • The Wildcats made a very nice percentage from three, and when they do that, they are practically unbeatable.

  • Kentucky sure made some dumb plays down the stretch. We are lucky they didn’t do more damage.

  • How many balls did the young 'Cats drop, let slide, or fumble away? Too many to count.

Tyler Terrific:

Certainly his best game as a Wildcat, and he was needed. Andrew Harrison was really out of sorts today.

I know you’re all happy, and so am I. That’s 3 in a row over the Birds with Teeth, and I’m very happy that this game was ours, even if it wasn’t particularly memorable as the series goes. Sometimes, those are the ones that are worth the most. It’s hard to be favored on the road against a rival and deliver like that, but Kentucky did.