Friday's game will no doubt be a grind. The term "survive and advance" most clearly applies in this year's NCAA tournament. But let's take a moment to look at some up to date statistics for both Louisville and Kentucky. Other than the rebounding and blocks categories, the Cards dominate the other 5 categories.
Points per game: Louisville 8th, Kentucky 46th
Rebounds per game: Louisville 41st, Kentucky 5th
Assists per game: Louisville 9th, Kentucky 260th
FG %: Louisville 33rd, Kentucky 115th
Steals: Louisville 2nd, Kentucky 312th
Blocks: Louisville 65th, Kentucky 9th
Points Allowed: Louisville 14th, Kentucky 78th
Surely you also realize that the Cardinals just dealt St. Louis its worse loss of the year, by 15 points. Wisconsin only beat St. Louis by 6. VCU beat St. Louis by 11. UMass beat St. Louis by 2. Wichita State only beat St. Louis by 5....And Kentucky only managed to beat Wichita State by 2.
Now what about win streaks on the road or on neutral sites? Kentucky's best road/neutral win streak this year, prior to a loss, is a mere 3 games. The Cards' longest streak for road/neutral games is 6.
The above statistics may not mean much, as Friday's game is a winner-take-all event. Many say throw the stats out the window for such games. But the stats are useful, particularly in determining how the matchup will play out, and what the teams need to do to do better than their prior meeting. I look for the Cards to focus on a ferocious defense and to work on precision with their offense. They need to hit the boards hard, take quality shots, make their foul shots, and run, run, run up and down the court on offense. That's my two cents, and I welcome yours.