When the Louisville Cardinals met the Kentucky Wildcats in December, the Cards played a spectacular defensive game. Kentucky shot just 30 percent from the floor and the only way that they could score points was by powering their way to the free throw line. The game was ugly, but Kentucky were able to grind out a win due to Louisville's offensive ineffectiveness and the Wildcats' ability to get to the free-throw line. Kentucky Wildcats blog A Sea Of Blue took a look at that game and the Louisville defense ahead of Saturday's rematch in the 2012 Final Four.
When the Cats and Cardinals got together 3 months ago it was an ugly game from an offensive perspective. Kentucky was held to its worst Offensive Efficiency of the season, their worst shooting game, and one of their worst games in terms of committing turnovers. In short, Louisville's defense was able to impose its strengths on Kentucky's offense and keep the game close despite the Cardinals having a pretty awful game themselves on the offensive end.
Obviously much has changed since then. In particular the Cats have become a much, much better ball handling team. Prior to the UL game Kentucky had turned the ball over on 20% or more its possessions in 5 out of 13 games. After the Louisville game that happened 4 times out of 24 games, and 2 of those were the very next two games against Arkansas Little Rock and South Carolina.
Louisville lost that game in December 69-62, even though they played stellar defense and Kentucky put in their worst offensive game of the season. To beat the Wildcats on Saturday, Louisville will need to match that defensive performance while making quite a few more shots of their own.
For coverage of the Louisville Cardinals, stop by Card Chronicle. For more on the Kentucky Wildcats, check out A Sea of Blue. For all your 2012 March Madness needs, stay tuned to SB Nation's dedicated NCAA Tournament hub.