There is no love lost when it comes to bragging rights between Louisville and Kentucky, but Saturday’s showdown at Rupp Arena between the rivals sees the 19th-ranked Wildcats looking to avoid a three-game non-conference losing streak.
How to Watch:
Time: 3:45 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Kentucky (8–3), which tumbled 13 spots to 19th in the latest poll, lost to Utah and then-No. 5 Ohio State with a 71–65 defeat to the Buckeyes on Saturday in the CBS Sports Classic. Nate Sestina hit five three-pointers and scored 18 points off the bench for the Wildcats, compensating for an ineffective frontcourt, as starting forwards EJ Montgomery, Nick Richards and Khalil Whitney combined for eight points.
The Wildcats have not lost three straight outside SEC play in the same season since a four-game skid from Dec. 1-18, 2007. One silver lining for Kentucky is that it has won the last two meetings vs. Louisville and claimed bragging rights 10 of the last 12 years.
Sestina will likely prove a vital contributor to Kentucky’s chances. After showing some rust in the loss to Utah, his first game back after missing three due to a broken left wrist, the grad transfer from Bucknell had his best game of the season, reaching double figures for the second time in eight games.
Wildcats coach John Calipari has yet to see his team dial in from three-point range. Even with Sestina’s effort, Kentucky is shooting just 27.8% from beyond the arc this season. Tyrese Maxey and Immanuel Quickley share the team lead with 12 threes apiece, but are shooting a combined 27.6% (24-for-87) from deep.
Third-ranked Louisville (11–1), which, like Kentucky, was knocked off as the No. 1 team in the nation earlier this season, has reeled off back-to-back wins since its loss to Texas Tech on Dec. 10.
Jordan Nwora had 20 points and eight rebounds, while Malik Williams contributed nine and 11, respectively, off the bench. The Cardinals shot under 40%, but clamped down against the Miami RedHawks, limiting them to 6-for-33 shooting from 3-point range and 27.3% shooting.
Louisville ranks among the nation’s leaders in defensive field goal percentage (35.0) and scoring defense (58.4 ppg). This will be the Cardinals’ second true road game of the season, having kicked off the campaign with an 87–74 victory at ACC rival Miami on Nov. 5.
Nwora is averaging a team-high 21.2 points and has formed a lethal perimeter tandem with Ryan McMahon, who has hit 46.3% (31-for-67) of his three-point shots. The duo have made 60 from beyond the arc, 11 more than Kentucky has in one fewer game.
Kentucky has won five straight over Louisville at Rupp Arena since an 89–75 loss in 2008. Calipari is 10–2 against the Cardinals since arriving in Lexington in 2009, highlighted by a pair of NCAA tournament victories and a 5–0 mark at Rupp.