Kentucky easily clobbers Louisville to show it's the best team in Bluegrass
Led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's 24 points, the Wildcats defeated the Cardinals 90-61 Friday.
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- David Padgett inherited a less-than-ideal situation under less-than-ideal circumstances this preseason and has mostly done a nice job with it. He won 10 of his first 12 games, avoided losses to bad teams and kept things competitive with Purdue and Seton Hall. But on Friday afternoon, on the biggest of non-league stages, his Louisville Cardinals finally looked like a team missing whatever advantages a 65-year-old Hall of Famer and all-time great like Rick Pitino provides.
The result was total humiliation here inside Rupp Arena.
Final score: Kentucky 90, Louisville 61.
"The final score speaks for itself," Padgett said.
It was lopsided and boring for everybody but the sold-out UK crowd that gets a kick out of kicking the mess out of its rival, details be damned. And now it's fair to wonder if Louisville, which started the season ranked 16th in the AP poll, will return to the rankings at all.
I'd bet against it.
Because in January alone the Cardinals will play road games at Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame, Miami and Virginia. And if you can't stay within 25 points of a Kentucky team that struggled in this same arena with Vermont and Virginia Tech, how can you reasonably be expected to win road games in the ACC?
Answer: You can't.
So now Padgett -- a 32-year-old first-year head coach who was promoted on an interim basis when an ongoing FBI investigation led to Pitino's firing -- obviously has a tough task in front of him. Meantime, all is good with the Wildcats again. They scored more points against Louisville than they had in any game since 1992 and beat the Cardinals by more than 20 points for the first time since 2001. And that they did it while getting almost nothing from their leading scorer, Kevin Knox, was encouraging in a silver-lining kind of way.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led all scorers with 24 points.
He's among the reasons the 16th-ranked Wildcats avoided back-to-back losses to unranked opponents for the first time since 2014. Another reason is the fact that Louisville missed 22 of 25 3-point attempts.
Simply put, you can't win doing that.
Turns out, you can't even keep things close doing that.
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