Scouting Report: UK vs. UL basketball


Freshman forward P.J. Washington shoots a jumper during the game against Louisville on Friday, December 29, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won the game 90-61. Photo by Hunter Mitchell.

Hailey Peters

The Kentucky men’s basketball team is set to face their biggest in-state rivals, the Louisville Cardinals, on Saturday, Dec. 29. 

The Kentucky-Louisville rivalry is not news to anybody who has any familiarity with either program, and it is almost as old as the programs themselves. After Kentucky’s football team crushed the Cards in the Governor’s Cup on Thanksgiving weekend, the basketball team has a challenge ahead to achieve the same results.

In last season’s matchup, the Cats knocked off a transitioning Louisville team, 90-61. Playing in enemy territory with new threats this time, Kentucky faces new challenges in the upcoming battle.

The Cards are entering the match on a 3-game win streak, and they have remained undefeated in their 8 previous home matches. Much of that success can be attributed to sophomore forward Jordan Nwora, who has averaged 17.8 points per game this season. Coupled with junior forward Dwayne Sutton, Nwora is the current face of a very balanced and skilled Cardinal basketball team. 

The Cards celebrated their most recent victory over Kent State on Saturday, Dec. 22. Louisville won the game 83-70 thanks to a refined consistency across the floor that the Cards have not yet exhibited this season. They shot 51 percent from the field, and they largely dominated the defensive end of the court as well with a healthy rebound margin. Aside from Nwora and Sutton, Malik Williams and Christen Cunningham each tallied double-digit points against Kent State.

Snagging the win over Kent State is not Louisville’s only boast for the current season. Claiming a record of 9-3 before their match against Kentucky and subsequently diving into conference play, the Cardinals have only lost to ranked teams (Tennessee, Marquette, and Indiana).

Being currently unranked themselves, the Cards even managed a victory over no. 8 Michigan State. Louisville also won their game over Seton Hall, one of the two teams that Kentucky has fallen to this season. This record has proven praiseworthy since it is orchestrated under brand new head coach Chris Mack.

Kentucky currently leads the all-time series between the two basketball teams 35-16, with the last win for Louisville occurring during the 2016 season in the KFC Yum! Center. The Cards won the most recent NCAA national championship between the two teams, claiming the title in 2013, a year after the Cats’ last championship. Louisville’s championship title that year has since been vacated amidst a recruiting scandal.

Kentucky and Louisville will tip off at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville at 2 p.m.