Well, we've kind of danced around this topic ever since the brackets came out (and really ever since the game on Dec. 28 ended), but now it's time to stare the beast square in the eyes: Louisville will play Kentucky on Friday for a spot in the Midwest Regional final.
Each one of us already knows every story we're going to read this week. Kentucky beat Louisville in the Final Four two years ago, John Calipari is 5-1 against the Cards since coming to Lexington, U of L doesn't seem to match up particularly well with UK, a fact Russ Smith admitted after the two teams played in December, the two fan bases don't like each other, and on and on (and on and on and on).
There will be talk this week about how both teams were under-seeded, about how the committee messed up by making this a possibility and about how this is all the worst case scenario for Louisville. The second Fred VanVleet's shot went wanting, all of that stuff stopped mattering. It doesn't matter now, it's not going to matter during the week and it's not gong to matter on Friday. The game is going to happen.
For the team, this is the ultimate fight or flight moment: either you do whatever you need to do in order to win on Friday, or you're going to see your season and your national championship reign end via the second loss in one season to your arch-rivals. No excuses, no complaints and no fear; this is the proverbial "go time" moment.
Go Louisville, beat Kentucky.