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Sunday, April 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Louisville set for Kentucky rematch

What Happened

Kentucky played like Kentucky. Despite No. 4 IU’s 90 points — Kentucky’s worst defensive output of the season — the Wildcats still pulled out the 12-point win.

Following its victory against IU, Kentucky took control of No. 3 Baylor and kept its foot on the gas. The No. 1 Wildcats cruised to back-to-back double-digit victories in Atlanta to advance to their second-straight Final Four.

Kentucky’s in-state rival, Louisville, upset No. 1 Michigan State and rallied to pull off a comeback win against No. 7 Florida to advance to the Final Four. Rick Pitino’s squad has now won eight in a row, dating back to the first round of the Big East Tournament.

Sound familiar, UConn?

What’s Next

One of college basketball’s biggest rivalries will square off for a chance to play in the National Championship. Kentucky got the upper hand in the first meeting and defeated
Louisville 69-62 in Rupp Arena.

But now the Cardinals come in with the momentum of a Big East title and a West Regional title under their belts. Kentucky also has momentum on its side, having cruised to four double-digit victories in the tournament.

Kentucky has not shown any signs of slowing down during its sprint for a national title. Yes, Louisville booted top-seeded Michigan State, but Kentucky is on another level.

With freshmen sensations Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague, the Wildcats present matchup problems that Louisville hasn’t seen in the tournament.

Look for Kentucky to earn another trip to the National Championship with the focus on bringing banner No. 8 to Lexington.

Player to watch: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Somebody woke up at the right time in March. After averaging five points in his previous three games before the Sweet 16 game against IU, Kidd-Gilchrist played like anything but a kid.

The highly-touted forward fueled UK’s 102-point effort with 24 points and 10 rebounds against IU. He followed up that performance with 17 first-half points to jumpstart UK after a slow offensive start against Baylor.

It’s easy to forget about Kidd-Gilchrist when preparing for Kentucky. He isn’t a National Player of the Year candidate like Davis, he isn’t the offensive facilitator like Teague, and he isn’t as physically imposing as sophomore forward Terrence Jones.

Kidd-Gilchrist brings an element to UK that Coach John Calipari has never had in his three years at Kentucky. He is a matchup nightmare who can get to the rim and get high-percentage shots at will.

To make matters worse, the 230-pound Kidd-Gilchrist creates space on the block that makes him tough for any defender to handle.

He might be a couple names down on Louisville’s scouting report, but if it sleeps on Kidd-Gilchrist, UK will be celebrating a national championship berth at night’s end.

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