Story lines abound for the Louisville-Kentucky basketball game in Rupp Arena Saturday.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – I'm not ready to predict the winner of the Louisville-Kentucky basketball game in Rupp Arena Saturday. That's a gift I'll unwrap after Christmas.
One computer ranking – Pomeroy – favors the Cardinals. Another – Sagarin – favors the Wildcats. If they played this thing like the NBA Finals, I'd book seven games.
I am prepared to predict this: The Saturday storylines. Here goes:
If Kentucky wins, somebody will write that John Calipari owns every thread of Rick Pitino's Brioni wardrobe – beating him five times in six tries since taking over in Lexington in 2009.
Jim Boeheim hasn't done that. Jay Wright hasn't done that. Jim Calhoun didn't do that. Cal will enjoy tweaking Rick more than he enjoys tweaking the NCAA, Doug Shows or the New Jersey Nets.
If Louisville wins, somebody will write that Pitino has solved the Calipari riddle, joining Scott Drew of Baylor and Calhoun, now retired at Connecticut, as the only guys to beat Cal in back-to-back games during his run at UK.
If UK loses, the first caller on line one will howl that Calipari needs to recruit more three- and four-year players.
If U of L loses, the first caller on line two will bark that Pitino needs to recruit more McDonald's all-Americans and first-round NBA Draft picks.
If Kentucky wins, somebody will howl that Pitino should have tested his team with more than one road game in Miami before walking into Rupp Arena.
If Louisville wins, somebody will wonder if Kentucky is ever going to beat a Top 50 opponent this season. There won't be many chances in the meh Southeastern Conference.
If Louisville wins and UK frontcourt dynamo Julius Randle struggles, nobody who watched Pitino marginalize Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, Adreian Payne or 1,000 other big guys will be surprised. No coach cooks up double teams like Pitino cooks up double teams.
If Kentucky wins and UK frontcourt dynamo Julius Randle sizzles, everybody will wonder if Louisville has enough muscle around the rim to beat the best teams this season. Gorgui Dieng will be mentioned early in the post-game news conference.
If Louisville wins and Russ Smith goes for at least 20 points, the wise guys will say the unguardable Smith took over the game.
If Louisville loses and Smith goes for at least 20 points, the wise guys will chirp that Smith has reverted to his Russ-diculous ways.
If U of L loses and Smith scores less than 20 somebody will start a message board post titled: "Bring Back The Old Russ."
If U of L wins and Smith scores less than 20 while sharing the ball efficiently, somebody will start a message board post titled: "Russ Smith: Nation's Best All-Around Player."
If UK wins and Julius Randle delivers his typical trunkful of points and rebounds, somebody write that Randle has taken the lead over Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins in the race for Best Freshman in College Basketball.
If UK loses and Randle kicks the ball here, there and everywhere, somebody will mention that Randle has committed more turnovers (40 and counting) than all but four other freshmen in college hoops – and that the other four are all guards.
If Kentucky wins, Andrew Harrison will put his name in the same column with John Wall, Brandon Knight and Marquis Teague, UK point guards who navigated Louisville's pressure with success.
If Kentucky loses, Andrew Harrison will put his name in the same column with Ryan Harrow. That's not only a short column, it's one best to avoid.
If Louisville wins and Chris Jones continues his dazzling 40 percent three-point shooting and 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, it will be safe to say the Cardinals' backcourt can hurt teams in more ways than they could last season.
If Louisville loses and Jones doesn't have a great game, somebody will write that road games like this are when the Cards really miss Peyton Siva.
If Kentucky wins, somebody will write that Alex Poythress is the X-factor for the Wildcats.
If Kentucky loses, somebody will write that Alex Poythress is the X-factor for the Wildcats.
If Louisville wins and Montrezl Harrell plays large against Kentucky's towering frontcourt, you'll be reminded that full-sized centers are overrated in college hoops.
If Louisville loses and Harrell looks overwhelmed by Kentucky's towering frontcourt, you'll hear warnings that the Cards are one player short of making another national championship run.