At 4pm on Saturday, Rupp Arena will be filled to the brim with some of the loudest fans in the entire nation for this rivalry of Kentucky verses Louisville. This year both teams are looking to make a statement on who is the best in the bluegrass and the players as well as the coaches know that this game is absolutely huge for both teams. A win for either team will bolster their resume in March as I don’t see either of these teams getting knocked out of the top 25 anytime in the near future unless something crazy happens. Today we will take a look at possibly the biggest positions that could make or break this game and that is the front court of the Cats and Cards.
Louisville- Wayne Blackshear
Kentucky- James Young
The small forward position this year will be one to watch closely as both of these players listed above have been averaging double digits in points and have been very active defensively as well. Blackshear has averaged 10.3 points per game and has had 17 steals and 7 blocks also this season, while Young has averaged 13.4 points, 9 steals and 2 blocks. While Young is more of a scoring threat than Blackshear, Wayne has been very steady and will look to get to the line a lot as he is an 88% shooter from the line with 35 attempts.
Louisville- Chane Behanan
Kentucky- Julius Randle
When Chane Behanan is on the floor for the Cards it is always a battle, and this year he will have met his match in the strength department as Julius Randle will be able to match Behanan’s lower body strength very well. Behanan is averaging 8.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and is having a much quieter year than what was anticipated from him but against Kentucky anyone is bound to have their career game as we’ve seen in the past from this rivalry. Randle who has been an absolute monster for the Cats this year averaging 18.2 points and 11.3 rebounds per game will look to use his unbelievable footwork and size advantage to take care of Behanan on Saturday.
Louisville- Montrezl Harrell
Kentucky- Willie Cauley-Stein
Looking at Harrell last year compared to this year you would seem to have to take a double take as I never saw Harrell as a real play maker until this season. He has been a high flyer this year and seems to be on the receiving end of alley oops every single game, Montrezl averages 12.5 points and 8.3 rebounds for the Cards and will try to keep the ball from getting swatted away by Cauley-Stein all day long. Willie on the other hand will look to show his defensive prowess against the Cards and whoever is put in the game opposing him. Cauley-Stein is averaging 9.3 points per game and 8 rebounds per game which is a solid center in the NCAA but the 50 blocks is what puts him over the top and makes him a potential lottery pick in the NBA draft this coming summer. Harrell And Cauley-Stein will battle it out to see which of the high flyers will be able to take home the title as the Battle of the Bluegrass takes place on Saturday, it should be a great game.