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Kenny Payne wants a one-point victory over Kentucky on Thursday

“I know he wants to beat me down, and I want to win the game by one.”

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Texas Tech Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats are getting set to face off against the Louisville Cardinals on Thursday night in the KFC Yum! Center.

During a press conference Wednesday, Kenny Payne talked about Kentucky’s team and had nothing but good things to say.

“I see six guys (scoring) in double figures, a high percentage of threes, get to the line. They’re very, very good basketball players. They’re complete,” Payne said. “We have to get back in transition, have to play very good one-on-one defense, and help each other. And we have to rebound the basketball. They’re good. There is a reason they are top-10 in the country.”

However, he is not counting out his Cardinals squad saying, “But if we do what we’re supposed to do, we’ve got a fighting chance.”

The Cardinals have obviously struggled against lesser opponents this season, losing games to Chattanooga, DePaul, and Arkansas State. However, they have played well in some of their bigger matchups including an 81-80 loss to Texas, a 74-66 loss to Indiana, and a 75-68 loss to Virginia Tech on the road.

Payne has seen his Cardinals team play a style that can lead to winning and knows his team has a chance if they play that style.

“I’ve seen us play the style of basketball that is conducive to winning,” he said. “They’ve got older guys, but also younger guys — a lot of those guys similar to us. They don’t have any experience in this rivalry. Emotions will play a part in it. And if we do things we’re capable of doing — obviously, we’ve got to play really, really good. They’re a top-10 team. But nobody knows until the ball is thrown in the air and we fight. And at the end of the fight, we’ll see where we are and what’s going to happen.”

Payne doesn’t enjoy coaching against Calipari, and it is likely that Calipari also does not like coaching against Payne.

However, both coaches will want to get a win on Thursday night, and Payne just wants the Cards to have one point more than the Cats.

“We have so many years together,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I know he wants to beat me down, and I want to win the game by one. Then I’m happy.”

The Cats and the Cards will tip off from the KFC Yum! Center on Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. ET with the game airing on ESPN.