UK enters the game at 9-2 and coming off a bad loss to UCLA. Making matters worse for the Cats is their resume is severely lacking quality nonconference wins. Their best win thus far is a home victory over Virginia Tech.
But away from Rupp Arena, UK is just 1-2 with the win being over Monmouth. They badly need a win over Louisville to salvage their otherwise-weak nonconference schedule.
Louisville comes into this game at 10-2, including six-straight wins. However, the Cardinals’ resume is mostly cupcakes and struggling Power 5 programs. They actually don’t have an RPI top-100 win. Their best wins are over Indiana (104), St. Francis (118) and a two-point win over Albany (134).
However, Louisville’s two losses are quality ones against Seton Hall (16) and at Purdue (11). The Cards are still a relative unknown under interim head coach David Padgett.
Here’s a look at some of the main offensive and defense stats for both clubs via Team Rankings:
As you’ll see, UK is the better offensive team thus far, but Louisville is easily the better defensive teams. That’s not saying much though if you’ve seen UK’s defense thus far, which has been severely lacking. It was nonexistent in the loss to UCLA, and it will need to improve dramatically for UK to consistently beat good teams.
That begins this week with Louisville, or else, the Cats could be riding a two-game skid into SEC play.
The good news is the experts currently favor UK. KenPom projects UK to be a 5.5-point favorite and gives them a 70-percent chance of winning. ESPN’s BPI matchup predictor gives UK a 63.8-percent chance of winning this rivalry matchup.