Can Louisville Knock of Undefeated Kentucky?
One of the biggest highlights of the college basketball season is the annual matchup between in-state rivals Kentucky and Louisville. This year’s game is of particular interest as the Wildcats are the top ranked team in the country and the Cardinals are ranked fourth in the country. With both teams in the top five, it should be one of the best games of the season and fans appear to be willing to pay a premium to see this game live.
This year, the matchup will take place at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville. The average ticket price for Louisville vs. Kentucky basketball tickets is currently $442. The cheapest ticket you’ll be able to find at TicketCity is $144, making this game the most expensive meeting of the week. Ticket prices usually dip as we get closer to game time, but with such limited quantity available (there’s less than a few hundred tickets left) it’s highly doubtful that prices drop as we get closer to Saturday, and we may even see a slight increase.
While the Cardinals will have home court advantage in this year’s game, they will certainly have to play exceptionally well if they want to get the victory. Kentucky has faced three ranked opponents thus far this year: a 72-40 win against Kansas, a 63-51 win against Texas, and an 84-70 win against North Carolina. None of the three matchups were all that competitive, though the latter two were at home at Rupp Arena and the Kansas game was on a neutral court.
This will actually be Kentucky’s first true road game of the season. They’ve played two neutral court games (the win against Kansas and then another 83-44 blowout victory over UCLA this past Saturday) and have played ten home games to get to 12-0.
Louisville has had an even easier stretch of play early in the season, however. Their first nine games were all at home or at a neutral location. The only ranked opponent they faced was a home game against the (at the time) 14th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Louisville won 64-55 and, until this past Saturday, was the only game the Cardinals did not win by more than ten points.
However, on December 20th, Louisville visited Western Kentucky for their first road game of the season. Louisville barely held on for the victory, leading by five at the half 29-24 and eventually closing out a 76-67 win, but they looked much less dominant than in the first nine games of the year.
Things looked pretty bleak at halftime due to star Montrezl Harrell getting ejected from the game with less than forty seconds to go in the first half. The star forward tussled for a loose ball with a few Hilltoppers and after the whistle was blown, was clearly upset about something that occurred on the floor as he stood up swinging, throwing at least one elbow at a Western Kentucky player.
Harrell was ejected for the remainder of the contest and afterwards, it was announced he would be suspended one game so he will miss Tuesday’s meeting against Cal-State Northridge. So, fortunately he will be back for the Kentucky game, adding a little more intrigue to the game.
Whenever John Calipari and Rick Pitino are manning the sidelines against each other, it is always a competitive affair. Many believe Kentucky is the better of the two teams, but with the game at Louisville, it’d be very surprising if this game doesn’t come down to the wire.