December 23, 2016 Louisville, KY (Analyzed Sports)
The Cards Win Battle of the Bluegrass
The Kentucky–Louisville rivalry runs deep in the blood of those in the bluegrass state. The rivalry has been ranked the 3rd best rivalry in all of college sports by Basketball Hall of Fame announcer Dick Vitale. Kentucky and Louisville first played against each other in 1913. The rivalry was generally dormant with occasional matchups until the teams met in the 1983 NCAA Tournament. Since then, the two teams have met each year in late December or early January. Both schools are also two of the most victorious programs in NCAA men’s basketball history. Kentucky is #1 on the list of all-time winningest programs in Division I Men’s Basketball and Louisville #11.
Last night was another classic in a long list of classics played between these two blue bloods of college basketball. The No. 10 Louisville Cardinals earned their first victory over the No. 6 Kentucky Wildcats since 2012 in a thriller inside the KFC Yum Center on Wednesday night. The Wildcats came into the game averaging 95.2 points and had only been held below 87 once, and that was a 21-point win over Michigan State in the first week of the season. But Louisville defensive pressure was too much for UK to handle scoring 20 points less than their season average.
The hero of the UNC game Malik Monk couldn’t buy a 3 pointer. Monk scored 16 points, but it came on 6-of-17 shooting, including 1-of-9 from the land of 3. As a team, Kentucky had an off night on the offensive end. The Wildcats shot 23-of-58 from the field and 19-of-29 from the charity stripe.
The stars for Louisville came out to stamp their legacy. Both sides took turns in the lead for the opening 30 minutes of the contest, as the stars on both sides delivered plenty of clutch baskets. But it was Louisville who mad more clutch plays as the game entered the latter minutes. Donovan Mitchell knocked down a pair of foul shots with eight seconds left, Kentucky had a chance to send the game to overtime, but Malik Monk missed an open three-pointer. Snider became the first Louisville player over 20 points this season, as he produced a game high total of 22. Snider was one of four Louisville players to reach double digits. Adel had 18 points, while Jaylen Johnson and Mitchell recorded 14 and 13, respectively. De’Aaron Fox led the Wildcats with 21 points, while Adebayo added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Snider was more vocal during the game, more than he ever has been sophomore Donovan Mitchell said. He was relentless in attacking the basket, Coach Rick Pitino said. The Louisville native had a few words after the win.
“Growing up as a kid, you just have Louisville in your heart,” Snider said. “When you go into games and you’re from here, you’re playing for the city and your friends and your family.”
The win allows Louisville fans to have bragging rights for the next 365 days and makes the rivalry so much better. With the way UK had dominated the series a win by Louisville was crucial.