The date has been set for one of the best rivalries in college basketball. The Kentucky Wildcats will take on the Louisville Cardinals on Satuday, December 28th, 2019, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY. The game will air on CBS
This will be the 53rd time installment of the rivalry. Kentucky currently leads the all time series 36-16. Calipari has never lost to Louisville in Rupp and is 10-1 against UofL since he arrived at Kentucky (10-2 depending on your stance on vacated wins). This includes a 71-58 win last year in the KFC Yum! Center.
Kentucky should prevail in defending their home court, but Chris Mack may have something up his sleeve with his “Super Six” recruiting class.
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One thing I loved about the Kentucky vs. Louisville rivalry from the years of 2009-2017 was that, in a Pitino vs. Calipari matchup, you never knew whether or not the mafia was going to get involved.
If you are a true Soft 7 and have been following us for a while, you know that I love to sink my teeth in any story about the mob getting involved in sports. Already this year, the Armenian mob got caught fixing tennis matches in Spain and a mob boss in France who lamely calls himself “maestro” was arrested for his role in fixing tennis matches. Now, my ridiculous imagination has me hoping that the mafia will involve themselves in this year’s NCAA tournament. And I know the perfect game.
There are plenty of rivalries that could potentially meet up, but there is one game with some serious bad blood and it is in the first round. 7-Seed Louisville taking on 10-Seed Minnesota.
Rick Pitino was battered and humiliated when he was ousted as Head Coach of Louisville. He vowed to never return to that city again (he has since broken that vow, but please ignore that). Pitino brought Louisville Basketball back to their former glory from the 80’s and they threw him out like Jazz from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. All because of a dirty assistant coach named Andre McGee and a pimp named Katina Powell (notice that I didn’t say lady pimp, because it is 2019 and women can do anything).
With Rick Pitino’s own son, Richard Pitino, coaching Minnesota, this could be a potential trap game for the Cardinals. Daddy Rick is going to be in Lil’ Richard’s ear all week telling him exactly how these Louisville guys play.
I am not saying that the mafia will 100% be involved. I am not even saying there is a 1% chance. But the chance is better than every other game. If cheesy black-and-white mobster movies have taught me anything, it is that mobster love revenge and doing things for the hell of it. Louisville vs. Minnesota is the only game that fits the criteria.
Welcome back to the Morning Juice, Part 3. Just as a recap, I went 5-1 week 1, 3-3 last week, for an overall of 8-4. I’m telling you, bet these games. They’re easy money. Let’s get to it.
Let’s start in Ann Arbor. This game will be a huge bore. Both teams average around 71 points a game while giving up 57. The only interesting part about this game will be Ethan Happ who has come to be one of the most electric college basketball players in the country. Not only is he the cousin of Yankees pitcher JA Happ but also this past week he blew a kiss to the student section of Minnesota and said “thanks for coming out.” Electric. He leads the Badgers in points, rebounds, and assist. So essentially, they’ll live and die with him. Ignas Brazdeikis is who needs to stop Happ. If Brazdeikis can handle Happ, I don’t see an issue for Michigan. First and foremost….BET THE UNDER. These teams will produce a horrific product on the court, so make sure you at least win there. Wisconsin beat them 64-54 (the under hit) the last time they played, so I expect a little different outcome. I’ll take Michigan 61-53. So, take the under 124 and Michigan -6.
Kentucky brings their 9 game win streak into Starkville where they’ll be playing a team that has hit a major drop as of late. Having lost to LSU and Alabama, Mississippi St looks to rebound against a top 5 team. This game will be fun to watch, mainly because Kentucky won 76-55 in Rupp just 2 weeks ago. In that game, PJ and Herro went off for a combined 39 and everyone contributed. Since then, Kentucky has been flying high and hasn’t really shown any sign of stopping that trend. PJ is an absolute beast, EJ is coming off his first double double, Reid just played his best all around game of the year and fought for every single minute that he was in, Herro is consistent (right now), Richards is giving key breathers to PJ and Reid, and lastly, Keldon is finally turning his slump around. Mississippi St needs Weatherspoon and Holman to pick it up this time. If they let Kentucky win the rebounding battle again, they have no shot. I think Kentucky rolls 78-70. Right now, I’d say take Kentucky !!!! and go ahead and sprinkle the over in this game. Every game Kentucky plays, someone is bound to go off on the other team, especially at home. This could be a fast paced, high scoring game. Kentucky -3.5 and the over 144
Louisville is coming off a huge win at Virginia Tech on Monday. After a let down against UNC last Saturday, they bounced back and played probably their best game of the season at Virginia Tech. I’ve said it every week and I’ll say it again: Louisville is one of the most underrated teams in the country. Week in and week out, they improve. Chris Snaccc has this team playing their hearts out, but at some point it has to end. Louisville is full of scrubs that just seem to be clicking right now. Unfortunately, I think it ends either this weekend or next. Florida State was just 2 seconds from beating Duke a few weeks back, but since then, they have been finding their groove. Nwora has to carry Louisville otherwise they do not stand a chance against FSU. I think FSU wins this game 77-68 and it shines a spotlight on Louisville. If they do not win this game, Tuesday will be much harder against Duke. I’ll take FSU -2.5
Well, we had this game 3 weeks ago and it’s back. Duke won this game by 2 points the last time, but they were without Jones for it. I think people have finally found out that Duke has a weakness which is foul trouble. Duke’s frontcourt is atrocious without Zion in the game and I think if Virginia can attack him and get him out early, they stand a chance of winning this game. Another focal point for Virginia, is get Hunter, Jerome, and Guy involved early and often. If they knock down their shots, they’ll be fine. RJ leads Duke in scoring and Virginia could slow him down, but they need to keep him within the 3 point line. They do not need to get into a 3-point battle, because they’ll lose. I think this will be a back and forth like the first one. If Duke continues their streak of slow starts, it’ll be over quick. But, I think it’ll be a battle. Virginia wins 65-63 and I’ll take Virginia -1.5.
The Louisville Cardinals PUMMLED the North Carolina Tar Heels, 83-62. Not only was this the worst regular season loss the Tar Heels have suffered since 2012, this is Roy Williams’ worst loss at home ever. Louisville jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. Leading by as much as 21 points, the Cardinals dominated all. game. long.
This was the best I have seen Louisville play since Pitino left. Four players in double digits including two double-doubles. Dwayne Sutton and Jordan Nwora finally looked like they knew what basketball was and Steven Enoch, off the bench, dropped 17 points and 11 boards. These bigs were simply unstoppable. They completely bullied the bigs of UNC. The real genius behind this game, though, was Chris Mack.
This man is one hell of a coach. Mack showed us during his time at Xavier that he can take a ragtag group of guys deep into the tournament. I would be scared to play Louisville in the tournament. Mack straight out-coached Roy Williams today. He forced Roy to play a half-court game and rely on guys like Luke Maye (who I can beat one-on-one). When you rely on bums, you get bum results, like a 21 point defeat.
I would not say Louisville’s program is back yet, but they are definitely on my radar. And probably a lot of other ACC team’s as well. I am not saying that Mack will take Louisville to the Elite 8 like he did Xavier just yet, but I want to guarantee another upset in ACC play this year.