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By Matt Overing | Assistant sports editor
UK has won five of six games against the University of Louisville with head coach John Calipari at the helm.
The only loss was last season’s 80-77 defeat in Louisville. In Calipari’s tenure, UK has beaten Louisville in Lexington, in Louisville and in the NCAA Tournament.
Patrick Patterson, a rollover from the Billy Gillispie era at UK, played for Calipari during his junior season in 2009-10. He told the Kernel that he was more worried about the Wichita State University game than the Sweet 16 matchup.
“We beat (Louisville) earlier in the year so we should have no problem beating them again,” Patterson said. “I have no doubt in my mind that UK will win.”
Patterson won just one game against Louisville in his three seasons in Lexington, and it was with Calipari manning the sidelines. He said that the rivalry is different as a player.
“You see the fans, you see the students, the amount of passion and hatred for one another is there,” Patterson said.
“When you’re staring the Cardinals in the face, the history, the criticism, it all comes out on the court. You embrace it and you go out and play for UK.”
Patterson said he loves watching the current Cats play. He said that freshman forward Julius Randle is “hands down” his favorite player.
UK has improved recently, and Patterson credits Calipari with preparing the team well for March.
“Coach Cal is always focused on March. Every year his teams get better as the year progresses,” Patterson said. “He gets his team focused on the bigger picture.”
UK has won 15 of 17 NCAA Tournament games under Calipari, including eight straight. Expectations for this team were high at the start of the year, and Patterson still has high expectations for the players.
And against Louisville, Patterson said, the expectations are different.
“It gives the winner the right to say ‘We’re the best team in the state,’” he said. “There are more fans, more people behind you and against you. Overall, there’s more pressure. That environment can make you or break you.”
Patterson said that although he’s not a current player, he wants the Cardinals to be the team that breaks.
“I don’t really stress about it as much because I don’t play for UK,” Patterson said. “But I still want UK to beat Louisville in every sport.”