Kentucky-Louisville, not just another game

Anyone who thinks that Kentucky-Louisville is just another game on the schedule needs to keep in mind the immortal words of former Kentucky Equipment Manager, Bill Keightley. If Keightley were here in body, as he surely is here in spirit, he would tell the young green freshman, "Son, you don't understand, this is Louisville."

Kentucky coach John Calipari has a great desire for his team to concentrate on playing the next play, and extending that to concentrating on the game at hand.

As soon as the Hartford game concluded the focus of Calipari, the Kentucky staff and players turned to their next target. The Louisville Cardinals.

There are fans who consider the '98 season, the season in which Tubby Smith's first squad won the seventh national championship for the Kentucky Wildcats, to be a failure. Why? Because that squad lost to Louisville in the closing moments in Rupp Arena.

One might think that Kentucky's John Wall would not be well versed in the rivalry that exists between the Commonwealth's flagship universities. Wrong.

Wall said of the Louisville game, "It's a big game. We try not to focus on it too much, but it's a rivalry game. It's like Carolina and Duke. We just got to go out there and take it like another game and not try to get over hyped and over excited because it's Louisville."

Wall appears to have already picked up on the intensity of the rivalry, coming from Tobacco Road he is very familiar with Duke and North Carolina;s more hyped rivalry. Comparing Kentucky-Louisville to UNC-Duke shows Wall knows that Kentucky-Louisville is serious business.

Bill Keightley would love John Wall, as Mr. Wildcat took Kentucky-Louisville very seriously. I believe it was ESPN's Jimmy Dykes who tells the story of taking the bus ride to the river city with tears in his eyes. When asked about the tears Keightly is said to have replied, "Son, you don't understand, this is Louisville."

John Wall understands.

Darius Miller has a unique perspective on Kentucky-Louisville rivalry, having been recruited highly by both programs. Miller has also spent a lifetime being exposed to the annual ritual of Kentucky-Louisville.

Miller said, "I really understand how big the rivalry is and how important it is to the people throughout the state. We're just going to try to come out and play the best we can. I really don't know too much about Louisville because we've just been trying to keep up with our own season and prepare for our next game."

One thing is certain, by the time Saturday rolls around every Kentucky player will know everything there is to know about the Louisville Cardinals; just as every Cardinal will be well versed in all things regarding Kentucky basketeball.


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