After blowing out Baylor en route to a spot in the Final Four, the No. 1-seeded Kentucky Wildcats (36-2) will take on the No. 4-seeded Louisville Cardinals in a matchup that has the makings to be one of the more promising ones this 2012 tournament has seen.
The Cardinals (30-9) come into this game on an eight-game winning streak that began at the start of the 2012 Big East tournament. The conference champs have been building momentum when they needed it most, as head coach Rick Pitino has the troops playing arguably the best basketball in the nation.
It is the hottest team in the country against the nation's No. 1 team, and this game will do anything but fail to keep fans out of their seats for all 40 minutes.
This is everything you need to know about this 2012 Final Four matchup between the Wildcats and Cardinals.
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome; New Orleans
When: Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. EDT
Listen: WKYM 101.7 FM (Kentucky Wildcats); WHAS Radio 840 AM (Louisville Cardinals)
According to Darren Rovell of Betonline.com, Kentucky opens up as 9.5-point favorites against Louisville.
Key Injuries for Kentucky:
Anthony Davis, the anchor for the Wildcats defensively, suffered an injury to his knee during the victory over the Baylor Bears.
Although returning several minutes later and finishing the game strong for the team, it was clear he was not 100 percent. Expect more updates on the knee injury throughout the week.
Key Injuries for Louisville:
No significant injuries have been noted for the Cardinals heading into this Final Four contest. PG Peyton Siva did not play in the last few minutes of the previous contest as he was fouled out.
What They're Saying:
Who wins this Final Four matchup?
As for Louisville, according to Courier-Journal sports writer C.L. Brown, Siva and the team have continued to surprise people and make runs when needed.
"'Everybody kept calling us cardiac kids,' Siva said. 'Nobody knows what we're going to do. We came out we played hard in the second half.'"
The TusconCitizen.com is reporting that, according to ESPN’s Andy Katz, Davis officially has a left knee contusion.
Most Important Players to Watch:
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky)
All season long, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has come to play for his Wildcats when the team needed it most. Yet throughout this 2012 NCAA tournament, there is no question he has been the team's best player.
After playing tough defense and taking few chances offensively in the first two games, Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 21.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game while shooting 14-of-25 from the field in his last two outings.
Peyton Siva (Louisville)
Easily the team's best player throughout the 2012 season as well as the tournament, Peyton Siva has established himself as a top point guard in the country.
Siva's ability to penetrate and find open teammates in the half-court set has been vital for this team's late-season run. This Cardinals team looks as promising as they have all season offensively, despite being a team known for toughness on the defensive end.
Key Matchup: Anthony Davis vs. Louisville's Big Men
Anthony Davis is arguably the best center in college basketball, as he holds down the paint on both ends of the floor as well as any big in the nation. The Cardinals will have to try containing Davis in order for the team to stand a chance.
Davis is best when he can block shots and send his teammates out on the break. It will be vital for the Cardinals to make smart passes, move the ball well and get the best looks each and every time down the court.
Prediction: Kentucky 71, Louisville 65