By Bryan Zarpentine @BZarp on March 24, 2014
The most compelling matchup of this year's Sweet 16 is obviously Kentucky vs. Louisville. This game means so much more than a trip to the Elite 8. There are subplots on top of subplots between the Wildcats and Cardinals leading up to this weekend's game. Here is a look at the top five storylines in the Kentucky vs. Louisville Sweet 16 matchup.
Not only are Kentucky and Louisville playing, but they'll be doing it in the home of the NCAA in Indianapolis within a few hours of each campus, which will make it easy for fans of both teams to flock to Indy and create a spectacular environment for the game.
The Wildcats took the regular season matchup in Lexington in December, so the Cardinals will be looking for some redemption. Both teams have changed so much since that game, so what happened during the first meeting doesn't indicate what will happen this weekend -- except that Louisville won't feel good about losing twice to Kentucky in the same season, giving this game a little more meaning.
It's quite a rare occurrence for the last two national champions to meet up in the NCAA tournament, but that's what we have here. Even more so, the winner will have a real shot at winning the title again, giving the state of Kentucky a chance to win three straight national championships in basketball. It's something the state of Alabama did in football not too long ago.
You can't talk about the Louisville-Kentucky rivalry without talking about the coaches. Rick Pitino has been on both sides of the rivalry, and he and John Calipari have quickly developed a rivalry of their own since Calipari came to Lexington. Neither coach wants to lose, but they especially don't want to lose to the other guy.
Somehow, this rivalry is even bigger than the Sweet 16. Fans care more about not losing to the other team than they do about the season ending with a loss or playing for a trip to the Elite Eight. These two teams met in the Final Four two years ago, and tension in the Bluegrass State should be just as high this week as it was then. This game and this rivalry is so much more meaningful than any other Sweet 16 game.
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