By Adam McGill
Game: (1) Kentucky vs. (4) Louisville 3/31 6:09 PM ET
Game Analysis: The “Battle of Route 64” has already drawn an ungodly amount of attention since a dialysis patient who was a Louisville fan punched a Kentucky dialysis patient after the two had words. This matchup has completely divided the state in half and has certainly lived up to pre-game hype.
Kentucky is coming off a beat down over Baylor that was so severe that head coach John Calipari could have finished the game by his lonesome and still won. Freshmen trio, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Marquis Teague have carried the team. Their raw athleticism makes up for their inexperience, but still makes them the heavy favorite to win it all.
Louisville upset the one-seeded Michigan State Spartans earlier in the tournament, as the Cardinals were the first team to send a number one seed home. The Cardinals are a very efficient team and know how to take make-able shots. Louisville may not be the offensive team that Kentucky is, but they are much more experienced.
Matchup to Watch: PG Marquis Teague, Kentucky vs. PG Peyton Siva, Louisville – This game is the much better point guard battle of the Final Four matchups. Both point guards have lead their teams’ offense down the stretch and will be critical to the outcome of either side. Teague has been a much stronger shooter as of late, but he still struggles with bad shots and turnovers at times. Silva, on the other hand, is a very experienced place-setter. He has racked up 17 assists in his last two games and the junior will be very difficult for Kentucky’s freshman counterpart to contain. Advantage: Louisville
Matchup to Watch: F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist vs. anyone – The “Kidd” lead the Wildcats last round with 19 points in the 82-70 win over Baylor. He has become a matchup nightmare for opposing players and has quickly become the most important player on their roster. Kidd-Gilchrist is so hard to defend against because he is a very imposing forward, but combines it with the speed of a shooting guard. The Cardinals will have to double-team him anytime he gets in the low post, but the “Kidd” will likely score over 15 points again. Advantage: Kentucky
Matchup to Watch: F Anthony Davis, Kentucky vs. F Gorgui Dieng, Louisville –The “AD” has been the gold standard for interior players this year. He recorded 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 blocks as he terrorized the Bears last round. Davis’ raw athleticism and size makes him absolutely impossible in the paint, even for one of the best defenders in the Big East, Dieng. However, if anyone can match Davis in blocks, it is certainly Dieng. The Louisville forward has swatted 11 shots in the last three games alone and has averaged 38.7 minutes per game in that span, while Davis only played 32 minutes last game due to some youthful fouls. Advantage: Kentucky
Prediction: Kentucky 75 – Louisville 65