Louisville against Kentucky. Pitino against Calipari. Rival against rival.
State bragging rights on the line and both teams desperate for a signature win this season.
Neither team entered Saturday's game where it began the season (in the top five), but there was still plenty of excitement surrounding the battle for the Commonwealth.
Absolutely Louisville - Kentucky the best rivalry in college hoops.. The hate is real..the insanity is au natural..most passion..not close— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) December 28, 2013
The intensity between UK- Louisville so unique & Pitino & Calipari add to the electricity.— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) December 28, 2013
The Cardinals jumped out to an 8-0 lead at Rupp Arena, but the host Wildcats clawed back and led by as many as nine. But then Russdiculous happened -- as in a Russ Smith dunk that became an instant lock for #SCtop10.December 29, 2013
The victims of Russ Smith's dunk will be remembered after this game. Send flowers.— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) December 28, 2013
I can't remember the last time I saw Russ Smith dunk even casually. And I'm pretty sure he's never done anything like that.— Eamonn Brennan (@eamonnbrennan) December 28, 2013
Despite a monster first half by Julius Randle and UK thoroughly dominating most of the first 20 minutes, Big Blue's lead was just five at the break.
Rick Pitino has to be disgusted heading into halftime with the way his team has played, yet ecstatic Louisville only down 41-36.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) December 28, 2013
What Randle is doing in this game is phenomenal ..wow..17 at half— Dan Dakich (@dandakich) December 28, 2013
Give me Randle and Cauley-Stein and then we'll go from there.— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) December 28, 2013
But after a sensational first half, Randle was injured early in the second and played sparingly for the Cats.
Randle came in and back out. Really looks like he's in pain.— Dana O'Neil (@ESPNDanaOneil) December 28, 2013
Did it matter? It did not. Kentucky actually extended its lead without its best pro prospect.
UK answering the call without Randle in the lineup; offense has been very balanced— C.L. Brown (@clbrownespn) December 28, 2013
Julius Randle comes back onto the bench with warmups on. I think UK did just fine without him this afternoon.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) December 28, 2013
Well, this looks like the Kentucky team that could end up in Dallas.— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) December 28, 2013
Kentucky size length and depth too much for Cards. If Cats closeout will people talk about Cards non conference schedule— Seth Greenberg (@SethOnHoops) December 28, 2013
The Louisville big men were ineffective all day long, but the Harrison twins certainly awoke in the second half (as Smith did the opposite).
Chane Behanan, Montrezl Harrell on a milk carton somewhere.