Two of the eight scheduled Sweet 16 games are rematches from the regular season. No.8 Kentucky and No.4 Louisville will meet for the second time this year, as they look to advance to the Elite Eight in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
In their Dec. 28 contest, then-No.18 Kentucky got the home victory over then-No.6 Louisville, 73-66. On Friday night, the two Bluegrass teams will meet in Indianapolis.
The Cardinals are ranked No.4 in the Midwest Region, but some might argue that they are the best team in college basketball. Since Jan. 30, Rick Pitino's squad has just one loss, picking up five wins against ranked opponents, on their way to a Big East title. Their wins have come in dominant fashion, with only four of their last 14 victories coming by less than 15 points. On Saturday, they easily defeated Saint Louis, 66-51.
"We've got a great team. We're undersized, but that doesn't matter,” said former player and special assistant Darrell Griffith, according to the Associated Press.
“You see a lot of teams on the sidelines now. You play to your strengths and which team's strengths prevail is the one that's going to win. Everybody's got to have their 'A' game from here on out."
The Wildcats appear to be peaking at the right time. They’ve played inconsistently at times, losing three out of four in a stretch from late February to early March. Two games into the tournament, the team that relies heavily on freshmen seems to be maturing and finally reaching their potential. On Sunday, they upended No.1 Wichita State, who hadn’t lost all year. It was a significant win for the club, offering further proof that they are better than an average No.8 seed.
"To see us coming together as a team and getting better each game, and finally get a big win like that, I just enjoyed it," said freshman Julius Randle, after scoring 13 points in the win against Wichita State. "Everybody is happy. We just have to keep building on it."
Louisville continues to be favored during March Madness. They are giving the Wildcats 4.5 points, and the over/under has been set at 138.5. Kentucky has covered the point spread in their last five games.
The betting line has moved a half-point, since the Cardinals opened as five-point favorites. Louisville is 20-14 against the spread this season.
TV and Online Info
The Kentucky-Louisville contest is scheduled to begin at 9:45 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on CBS. March Madness Live will carry a free live stream.