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Pregame Shootaround: Top-ranked Kentucky at No. 4 Louisville is the one game you need to watch

NCAA Tournament: Final Four semifinals

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GAME OF THE DAY: No. 1 Kentucky at No. 4 Louisville, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)

This one doesn’t need much explaining. This is currently the best rivalry in college basketball. The Wildcats and Cardinals have accounted for two of the last three national championships and have each appeared in two Final Fours since 2012.

This game takes on new meanings on Saturday.

Louisville, ranked No. 4 in the nation, hosts top-ranked Kentucky, serving as the last obstacle the Wildcats need to overcome to complete a perfect non-conference schedule before entering a mediocre SEC. For more on this showdown, read Scott Phillips’ piece on this matchup.

In order to beat Kentucky, you’ll have to be hot from beyond the arc, which the Cards have not been so far this season, shooting at a 29 percent clip. You’ll also have to have inside presence, which Louisville has in Montrezl Harrell, returning from his one-game suspension.

Kentucky has been blowing out opponents: Kansas in the Champions Classic and more recently, a 24-0 start against UCLA. It’ll be interesting to see how the Wildcats handle a close game, which you’d expect the Cards to give them, especially at home.

According to kenpom, these are the top two defenses. Rob Dauster broke down the two sides earlier this week.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Indiana vs. Georgetown, 12 p.m. (ESPN2)

Madison Square Garden will host a non-conference showdown between Georgetown and Indiana on Saturday afternoon with a win bolstering either team’s resume. The Hoyas will have the size inside with Josh Smith, but the Hoosiers are equipped with shooters.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Georgia State at Green Bay, 1 p.m. (ESPN3)

The mid-major game so nice, they played it twice. Georgia State took the first contest with a 72-48 blowout win over Green Bay. The Phoenix looks to even the score at home.


1) What a way to kick off West Coast Conference play. No. 8 Gonzaga travels to BYU for a 6 p.m. tip. Read the WCC conference midseason catchup here.

2) After missing the last seven games with a broken bone in his right wrist, Dez Wells will return to the lineup for the Terrapins against Oakland. Wells, the team’s leading scorer, will come off the bench.

3) Last season, former North Carolina assistant and current UAB head coach Jerod Haase took down his former team. The Blazers look to upset the Tar Heels again this season, but this time it’ll be inside the Dean Dome.

4) Seton Hall begins a stretch that will not include freshman scoring guard Isaiah Whitehead, who is out with a stress fracture in his foot. The Pirates are at home against Maine before they begin Big East play on New Year’s Day.

5) San Diego State is back on the court for the first since Dwayne Polee collapsed, as the Aztecs host San Diego Christian.

TOP 25

  • No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 4 Louisville, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • No. 8 Gonzaga vs. BYU, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • No. 15 Maryland vs. Oakland, 5 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
  • No. 20 North Carolina vs. UAB, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
  • No. 21 Ohio State vs. Wright State, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
  • No. 24 Colorado State vs. New Mexico State, 9 p.m.

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