UK deflated and UofL rolls while we count down to New Year's Eve [Sports]

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The Indiana Hoosiers garlic burped in the face of Big Blue Nation Saturday with a gutsy 73-72 win over the undefeated and top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats in Bloomington. Christian Watford’s last second three-pointer preserved Indiana’s perfect record (now 9-0) while bringing the young bunch of Wildcats back to Earth…at least momentarily.

Your annual “basketball lambs to slaughter” resumes Saturday.  Chattanooga (2-7 and trying to pick up a win Tuesday against Division III Spalding) and then Samford (2-6 and winners over another Kentucky school from a lower division. The Bulldogs beat NAIA Lindsey Wilson 82-56 Saturday) come to Rupp Arena, where Cal has yet to lose in his career with the Cats. UK then welcomes the 8-1 Greyhounds of Loyola. Good record? Yes. Who have they beaten? Well, one of their victories was a 13-point win over Marist, the same team UK spanked by 50 in November. Finally, before the anticipated matchup with Louisville in Rupp Arena on New Year’s Eve, it’s Lamar (the basketball team, not the Revenge of the Nerds champion javelin thrower). UofL knocked out Lamar by 20 at the Yum! Center last month.

Speaking of Louisville, the Cardinals are 9-0 after a ho-hum 80-58 win over Fairleigh-Dickinson Saturday. The Cards have sandwiched a couple of stronger opponents around a couple of probable wins before the battle with Kentucky. Memphis comes to town Saturday. The Tigers are one of my Final Four picks (if you’re reading this in March and they suck, please disregard that statement). That’s followed by College of Charleston (7-1 but with a weak schedule), WKU (4-7 and lost to IUPUI, the team that Louisville beat by 30) but then the Big East opener against Georgetown the Wednesday before the UK game.

Chances are, many, if not every one of these opponents will leave the Bluegrass State with the same look you see in the eyes of Big Lots shoppers around Christmas time: utter defeat and questioning their station in life.

In further proof that karma is non-existent, IU’s upset of UK and #2 Ohio State falling to Kansas has Syracuse moonwalking into the #1 spot this week.  However, the shifting in the top 5 should move the Louisville Cardinals up, too.

Nothing will take the luster off UK vs. UofL… but Kentucky starting another run and Louisville keeping its perfect streak alive for another few weeks surely won’t hurt.

Photo: Courtesy Superstock

About John Lewis
John has covered sports all over Kentucky for nearly 20 years, from the mountains of his native eastern Kentucky to the flatlands of western Kentucky, and for the past dozen years, here in Louisville. Yes, he really likes both UK and UofL. He is a long-suffering Seattle Seahawks fan.
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