The Battle of the Bluegrass is in less than 24 hours now, and the tensions among the fan bases are high. Louisville is the favorite in this game, but Kentucky is a team with a whole lot to prove and a mysterious quality to how they play against a tough road opponent. I say mysterious because Kentucky has not played a tough team with Harrow at full health in the starting position. Even with Harrow back in the starting position, Kentucky needs a combination of good fortunes to pull the upset in the Yum! Center tomorrow. I personally don’t see the home court advantage being a factor for Louisville because Kentucky fans will be in full force in a city that is nearly split in half in regards to loyalty. With this in mind, Kentucky has several key aspects that must swing in their favor in order to beat Louisville.
1. Alex Poythress
There has been no greater enigma this season than Alex Poythress. Anyone that watches UK games can see he has the talent to tbe the best player on the court yet he shies away from the ball and seems timid as a whole. He disappeared in the worst way during the Notre Dame game, and he must be the complete opposite of that performance to ensure a win for Kentucky tomorrow. We know he is athletic and talented enough to attack the basket against any defender in the country. However, Poythress has to believe this himself and be the aggressive player that we saw in the Duke game, perhaps even more than that. He has a tough matchup against Behanan, but if Poythress is the top draft pick many scouts claim, tomorrow is the game to prove himself.
2. Controlling Russ Smith
Russ Smith is the biggest scoring threat for Louisville and a potential National Player of the Year. He will take plenty of shots, and it would be crazy to believe Kentucky would completely shut Smith down especially since Goodwin and Mays are far from lockdown defenders. However, Kentucky can’t allow Smith to get on a hot streak and torch Kentucky from behind the arc. The high volume shooter must be controlled with solid help defense and contested shots.