The battle for the Bluegrass state has made its way onto college basketball’s biggest stage, as Louisville and Kentucky will face off Saturday night in New Orleans with a national championship game berth on the line.
This is college basketball’s most heated rivalry—sorry Duke-Carolina—and the angst between these two fan bases will only be magnified as the Cardinals and the Wildcats meet in what figures to be a Final Four matchup for the ages.
This rivalry is bigger than basketball, big enough that this fan thought it necessary to offer his wife in exchange for tickets to Saturday night’s game and these fans believed it proper to engage in fisticuffs at a Georgetown, Ky., dialysis clinic.
One of the main storylines heading into this national semifinal matchup is the Pitino-Calipari dynamic—the better coach vs. the better recruiter; the man who led UK to a national championship more than a decade ago vs. the man who has accumulated so much talent but continually failed when it matters most.
For better or for worse, the coaches are grabbing all the headlines as we approach Saturday’s showdown, relegating the players—you know, the guys who will actually determine the outcome of the game—to secondary status.
With that in mind, I think it's necessary that we ignore the coaches, the history and the fan hostility, and delve deeper into the matchups on the floor.