Stakes raised with Louisville in Final Four



The stakes just got higher.

Seems impossible, right? UK has been living all year with the burden of the highest expectations of any team in the country. It’s the No. 1 overall seed and, as coach John Calipari said, the only team “expected not to lose” in the tournament.

But Louisville just made the Final Four and awaits UK in the Final Four.

If the Cats can beat Baylor, of course. That’s the first order of business. No way that game should be overlooked, and no way that Calipari lets his team lose focus or look too far ahead.

The reality remains, however, that Louisville just made the Final Four. If UK doesn’t make it there, Cardinals have bragging rights. If UK makes it there and falls to Louisville, Cardinals have bragging rights — and, as Dan Wolken of The Daily put it, would probably be the “most devastating day” in Calipari’s career.

Can you imagine the buildup next week if UK wins Sunday? Can you imagine — not to get ahead of myself, but I can’t help it — the celebration on campus if UK beats its rival for a second time this year for a trip to the national title game?

Darius Miller can. Or at least he did Saturday, before Louisville had even played.

“It’s already crazy in our regular-season game, just the Kentucky fans and the Louisville fans going at it,” Miller said. “So I can’t imagine what it would be like in the Final Four.”

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