I believe the saying is "it's on."
Many members of the media took the Padgett V Hibbert angle for their pregame write-up, including the Associated Press.
"I think we're the last of a dying breed,'' said Hibbert, who is averaging 13.1 points and 7.0 rebounds for the Hoyas.
"We're probably two of the only true post players there are in college basketball still,'' Padgett added.
Sure, Hibbert has added a soft 16-foot jumper to his repertoire, while Padgett has evolved into one of the best passing centers in the country, setting up at the high post while finding teammates darting to the basket. Yet their true talent lies in the block, where a good head fake and seal can neutralize even the most ill-intentioned of defenders.
Their pet moves are straight out of ESPN Classic. The 7-foot-2 Hibbert's baby skyhook is nearly impossible to block, while the 6-11 Padgett has become a master at getting opponents off their feet with a shot fake leaving them watching helplessly while he slides by for a layup.
Call it old school. Call it fundamentally sound. Just don't call it boring.
Russ Brown of the Lexington Herald-Leader has an excellent preview in which he analyzes just how much a win this evening would do for the Cards.
In addition to the conference and national implications -- UofL would probably rejoin the Top 25 for the first time since December with a victory -- ESPN's Game Day crew will be on hand and fans are being encouraged to wear white to the game as part of a "White Out" promotion.
"I don't think you can help but get more excited for a game like this," Padgett said. "They're the No. 1 team in the league, one of the top five or six teams in the country. If you're a competitive athlete, you look forward to games like this. We've been playing pretty well, but this is going to be our toughest test so far this season. It's going to be an exciting game and fun. I think we're ready."
The Washington Post hits us with the shot selection bit.
"I chart it both at the NBA and collegiate level, and if you take challenged shots over the course of the season, you're going to shoot at the collegiate level, 28 percent or less, and at the pro level, 38 percent or less," Pitino said. "That's held true for a long time. Certain teams can make challenged shots; we're not one of those teams. We've got to take open shots and move the basketball around."
The Cardinals didn't take smart shots in their most recent loss, a 69-67 defeat at Connecticut on Jan. 28. They shot 40 percent , but more than half of their 60 shots were three-point attempts.
To make matters worse, they didn't have the right players taking those shots; 20 of the 33 attempts came from Williams, senior Juan Palacios and sophomore Earl Clark -- none of whom are shooting better than 30 percent from beyond the arc.
On the flight home, Pitino harped on the importance of taking good shots; he even pulled aside players and showed them the rushed and contested shots they took against the Huskies. The message seemed to get through. In the two games since -- blowout wins over Rutgers and No. 16 Marquette -- the Cardinals shot 49.5 percent.
Is John McCain riding Roy Hibbert's coattails all the way to the White House? The Van Buren Boys say maybe.