I’ve collected more than 80 media predictions for Saturday’s Kentucky-Louisville game at the KFC Yum Center in Louisville.
As you would expect, just a handful of experts have picked Louisville. Most have picked Kentucky, but most have picked Kentucky to win a fairly tight game. Most believe that Louisville will give Kentucky trouble, but in the end the nation’s top-ranked team will have too much for the Cards to overcome.
Here is each media member’s predicted score plus a short reason for the pick:
Jason Anderson (ESPN680) says Kentucky 76, Louisville 68. Louisville will have the home court and Ulis, Booker, Lyles and Towns will play their first true road game at the Yum Center. But Calipari’s 6-1 record (against Pitino) can’t be ignored. Neither can the dominance of this UK team in the first part of the season. I think it will be the closest game UK will play to date but the Cats will leave Louisville undefeated.
Scott Anderson (Nation of Blue) says Kentucky 74, Louisville 62. Kentucky’s depth is too much for the Cardinals.
Nicole Auerbach (USA Today) says Kentucky 67, Louisville 63. This is the Wildcats’ toughest game left on the schedule — on paper — and while I think Louisville will put up quite a fight, it just would take too much for Kentucky to lose this game or any game. Too many guys would need to have off nights.
Dave Baker (WKYT) says Kentucky 85, Louisville 65. Louisville has always made its press a factor — but too many multi-skilled players for UK to get hurt by the press. The one way the Cards could keep it close — play that "23" zone defense and hope the Cats have an awful shooting night — don’t see that happening.
Thomas Beisner (KSTV) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 50. The things U of L does when they’re at their best are the exact same things UK has throttled all season long. Cats run away in second half.
Darrell Bird (Cats Pause) says Kentucky 77, Louisville 64. Harrell a stud, but UK has a stable of studs in the paint plus better shooters.
Rick Bozich (WDRB) says Kentucky 71, Louisville 64. Scoring is more than difficult against the Wildcats as the Cards will discover.
Rob Bromley (WKYT) says Kentucky 73, Louisville 66. Montrezl Harrell is a great player but the Cards won’t be able to get to the rim against Kentucky. A hard fought physical game but Kentucky wins.
Mark Buerger (WLAP) says Kentucky 76, Louisville 65. So hard to decide, does Kentucky hit shots and win a high-scoring game, or struggle on offense and win a low-scoring game? Either way, they win.
Mike Cameron (WLXG) says Kentucky 72 Louisville 67. Cats' depth will overcome Pitino's tricks and a raucous Yum Center!
John Clay (Lexington Herald-Leader) says Kentucky 44, Louisville 40. The football game, only in reverse. Buckets will be hard to come by at both ends of the floor.
Oscar Combs (Big Blue Network) says Kentucky 81, Louisville 79. As big as this UK-UL game is, there’ll be a bigger one in NCAA tourney. Today, it’ll be overtime.
Mark Coomes (Insider Louisville) says Kentucky 63, Louisville 49. This rock fight will be won by Goliath.
Fred Cowgill (WLKY) says Kentucky 80, Louisville 76. Cards give Cats their best, Kentucky’s biggest test, but a near-miss loss. Kentucky unbeaten season talk gains crazy steam.
Eric Crawford (WDRB) says Kentucky 62, Louisville 54. Hard-fought. Ugly. But in the end, too many weapons for the Wildcats.
Chuck Culpepper (Washington Post) says Kentucky 67, Louisville 57. Kentucky has made defense so fascinating that even a "57" would shine next to first 12 opponents’ average of 47.7.
Alan Cutler (WLEX) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 68. Going to be the most physical game UK plays this season.
Rob Dauster (College Basketball Talk) says Kentucky 68, Louisville 63. Louisville forces enough turnovers to keep things interesting, but Kentucky’s size and depth — especially up front — will end up being too much.
Seth Davis (Sports Illustrated) says Kentucky 80, Louisville 70. I’ve long said that if Kentucky is going to lose a game, it will probably come in an unimportant game against a team it overlooks. That won’t be the case here.
Brett Dawson (Cats Illustrated) says Kentucky 69, Louisville 60. Barring uncharacteristic three-point shooting, hard to see Cards scoring enough points to spring an upset.
Mike Decourcy (Sporting News) says Kentucky 68, Louisville 60. I expect Coach Pitino to devise a defensive scheme that impacts the Wildcats, but UL needs opponent turnovers to generate enough offense at this point to beat high-level opponents. I think the Cards’ offense will develop, but it’s not there quite yet.
Drew Deener (ESPN680) says Louisville 65, Kentucky 63. It’s not David vs Goliath. It’s '91 Duke vs. UNLV. Good teams can beat great teams. And it’s OK to say it out loud.
Lonny Demaree (Kentucky Sports Report) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 62. Can U of L consistently bury three-point shots, and UK will send Montrezl Harrell to the free throw line.
Jody Demling (Cardinal Authority) says Louisville 57, Kentucky 55. Cards defense is better than most believe it is.
Jeff Drummond (All Wildcats) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 53. The Cards keep this one close for a half due to the nature of the rivalry game, but without a deluge of 3s they watch the Cats methodically pull away.
Mark Ennis (ESPN680) says Kentucky 70, Louisville 61. Louisville is a great defensive team but right now doesn’t consistently shoot well enough to put Kentucky away.
Kevin Faris (Ace Weekly) says Kentucky 64, Louisville 62. I’m going with the KenPom numbers; UK with WCS proving he’s the best player on the floor with a late basket and defensive stop.
Keith Farmer (WLEX) says Kentucky 65, Louisville 49. U of L will likely try to speed this game up, trying to score in transition so it doesn’t have to face the size. It will press hoping to create turnovers. UK has shown it can handle any style. Someone always steps up you don’t expect – I’m going with Dakari Johnson.
Pat Forde (Yahoo) says Kentucky 49, Louisville 42. This is the Strangulation State when it comes to defense, and this game will live down to that. Rock fight.
Alex Forkner (Cats Illustrated) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 64. Louisville’s pressure defense could frustrate Kentucky enough for the Cards to keep it close, but the Cats’ offensive balance, guided by steady performances from point guard duo Andrew Harrison and Tyler Ulis, will ensure UK notches another rivalry win.
Dick Gabriel (WKYT/Big Blue Insider) says Kentucky 78, Louisville 69. Pitino will have a game plan that tests Kentucky to its fullest, but in the end – just too many Wildcats for the Cardinals to handle.
John Gasaway (ESPN) says Kentucky 66, Louisville 52. Kentucky’s first true road game’s a test, but the better the opponent the better UK plays.
Larry Glover (Larry Glover Live) says Kentucky 71, Louisville 58. UK has proven themselves to be dialed in for the big games; Saturday will be no different. UK grinds out a win.
Jeff Goodman (ESPN) says Kentucky 63, Louisville 61. I think the Cats length, athleticism and abundance of big men will cause problems for Louisville.
Gary Graves (Associated Press) says Kentucky 74, Louisville 59. The Cardinals don’t shoot well and will be worn down by the Wildcats’ depth.
Nick Gray (Kentucky Kernel) says Kentucky, 82, Louisville 68. The Cats look more focused with each passing day. Let the environment and opponent sway others; UK is just better.
Jeff Greer (Courier-Journal) says Kentucky 74, Louisville 64. Louisville may have the best big man in Montrezl Harrell and the best guard in Terry Rozier, but Kentucky’s too well-rounded.
Bryan Hash (Kentucky Sports Radio) says Kentucky 73, Louisville 59. Racked my brain but just can’t envision a scenario where UK plays bad enough to lose this game, even on the road.
Adam Himmelsbach (Courier-Journal) says Kentucky 67, Louisville 61. Cards keep it close, but you just can’t wear down these Cats.
Lee K. Howard (WKYT) says Kentucky 68, Louisville 61. A lot of the game will depend on how well Harrell plays and can UK shoot well in a true road environment.
Matt Jones (Kentucky Sports Radio) says Kentucky 68, Louisville 59. UL comes out hitting threes early but can’t sustain and UK does too much damage down low in the second half to win.
Paul Jordan (Wildcat Blue Nation) says Kentucky 76, Louisville 64. The depth of the Kentucky Wildcats will disrupt the Louisville Cardinals offense and physically exhaust them.
Jon Hale (Cats Pause) says Kentucky 65, Louisville 57. Pitino makes Cats work for it, but Kentucky too good in the end.
Josh Hopkins (Celebrity Actor) says Kentucky 68, Louisville 64. Honored to be a media type. A shell shocked Cats creep back to grind out a four-point win.
Steve Jones (Courier-Journal) says Kentucky 61, Louisville 55. UK better equipped to overcome Cards’ great press, than U of L is to overcome Cats’ immense size
Matt King (Bleacher Report) says Louisville 65, Kentucky 64. Kentucky has lost its first true road test of the year for the previous four seasons. After a Christmas break and due for a letdown after the UCLA game, I expect a slow start that Louisville’s pressure will take advantage of and ride to an upset.
Matthew Laurance (WLXG) says Kentucky 76, UCLA 65. Too big, too deep, too good.
Tom Leach (Big Blue Network) says Kentucky 66, Louisville 52. Key for UK is minimizing turnovers, because Louisville will struggle to score vs. halfcourt D.
Ryan Lemond (WLAP) says Kentucky wins 74-68. I think it’ll be close the whole way, but UL just doesn’t have the offensive game to have success against UK’s incredible D.
John Lewis (WDRB) says Kentucky 75, Louisville 65. Kentucky’s size at every position will neutralize U of L’s ability to score inside or get clean looks from behind the arc.
Howie Lindsey (Louisville Sports Report) says Louisville 51, Kentucky 48. Louisville slows it down and grinds out a win in an ugly game.
Glenn Logan (Sea of Blue) says Kentucky 70, Louisville 62. The fact that Louisville doesn’t score well from the perimeter and the length of Kentucky inside makes it unlikely that the Cardinals can put up enough points to prevail.
Mike Lopresti (NCAA.com) says Kentucky 68, Louisville 62. It’s not exactly North Korea vs. Sony, but it’s close. End of the day, Kentucky is just too hard to score against.
Mark Maloney (Lexington Herald-Leader) says Kentucky 86, Louisville 70. Cards keep it close, but UK depth pays off down the stretch.
Mark Mathis (Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 69. Tough to find a scenario where U of L wins and could turn into blowout for the Cats.
Myron Medcalf (ESPN) says Kentucky 80, Louisville 77 (OT). But this is Louisville-Kentucky. And Rick Pitino ain’t lettin' Calipari just walk into the Yum! Center and whip his squad. This will be a fight. That’s the only way with these two teams.
Jason McIntyre (The Big Lead) says Kentucky 69, Louisville 59. Louisville has the advantage in guard play, and this is Kentucky’s first true road test, but ultimately the UK size/depth are too much.
Lachlan McLean (WHAS radio) says Kentucky 74, Louisville 63. Louisville has only two reliable scorers and that’s not enough against an epic Kentucky defense.
Steve Moss (WKYT) says Kentucky 63, Louisville 57. I think this game will see-saw back and forth, but in the end, the Cats will rise to the occasion when the game is in the balance.
Dana O’Neil (ESPN) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 66. Defense keeps it close but ultimately Cats' size is too much.
Gary Parrish (CBS Sports) says Kentucky 68, Louisville 67. Simply put, it just seems silly to pick against the Wildcats right now. They might lose, sure. But it’s just really hard to pick against them.
Eric Prisbell (USA Today) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 66. A valiant effort by a very good Louisville team, but this historically good Kentucky team will clear its toughest hurdle en route to what should be an unbeaten regular season.
Brian Rickerd (Frankfort State Journal) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 55. Louisville does not have the one attribute that could take down UK – dead-eye perimeter shooting. If the officials call this game tight, Kentucky’s margin could be much greater.
Dan Rieffer (WDKY/WLXG) says Kentucky 67, Louisville 55. Defensive pressure might force some turnovers and help Louisville hang around, but UK’s size and depth will be too much for the Cards to overcome.
Alex Risen (WTVQ) says Kentucky 78, Louisville 65. UK too talented, deep even if Cats struggle on boards, shooting in first true road game of season.
Ben Roberts (Lexington Herald-Leader) says Kentucky 71, Louisville 56. The Cats’ length, depth and overall talent will be too much for the Cards in the end.
Mike Rutherford (Card Chronicle) says Kentucky 70, Louisville 64. The best route toward beating Kentucky is to have them overlook you, and that’s not happening.
David Schuh (WDRB) says Kentucky 71, Louisville 58. This game will be ugly with two great defensive teams, but UK’s depth will wear the Cards out down the stretch. Note: David was the only media member to correctly pick the final score last year.
Keenan Singleton (WTVQ) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 61. Cats continue double-digit domination.
Ashley Scoby (KyForward) says Kentucky 65, Louisville 54. Unless Louisville just has a barrage of three-pointers go in (unlikely, given the Cards' 330th national ranking in three-point percentage), Louisville just isn’t going to be able to score enough to beat this Kentucky team.
Kyle Scott (WLEX) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 64. The only thing that concerns me for UK is that this will be their first TRUE road game. How will they handle a hostile environment if they fall behind?
Jennifer Smith (Lexington Herald-Leader) says Kentucky 67, Louisville 55. Defense and depth still win games, even rivalry games against really good opponents.
Kent Spencer (WHAS) says Kentucky 68, Louisville 60. This will be a tight game throughout ... but Kentucky’s size on both ends will be deciding factor.
Mark Story (Lexington Herald-Leader) says Kentucky 71, Louisville 63. If the Cats can survive The Ville, talk of an unbeaten regular season becomes highly realistic.
Tim Sullivan (Courier-Journal) says Kentucky 71, Louisville 59. Big Blue Steamroller handles biggest speed bump on road to an undefeated regular season.
Keith Taylor (Winchester Sun) says Kentucky 65, Louisville 57. Louisville will have a hard time against Kentucky’s front line. Cats will dominate the paint.
Kent Taylor (WAVE) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 65. Cards have trouble scoring in half court against Cats' length. Not a blowout, but a UK win.
Tyler Thompson (Kentucky Sports Radio) says Kentucky 77, Louisville 66. Montrezl Harrell can’t escape foul trouble and the Cats’ length and athleticism is just too much for the Cards.
Mark Titus (Grantland) says Kentucky 71, Louisville 63. Louisville will keep it semi-close because it’s a rivalry game at home, but Kentucky ultimately handles the press after a week to prepare and Louisville doesn’t make enough threes.
Kyle Tucker (Courier-Journal) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 57. The Cards have one player (Harrell), maybe two (Rozier) who would contend for a starting job with the Cats. Just too much talent.
Jamie Vaught (KyForward) says Kentucky 66, Louisville 54. It’s going to be a tough defensive battle between two of the nation’s top four teams. Kentucky’s depth will be a factor but not as much as the Cardinals have 10 players averaging around 10 minutes or more. If the Cats prevail, a historic 40-0 campaign is a very good possibility.
Larry Vaught (Danville Advocate-Messenger) says Kentucky 69, Louisville 62. I think the game will be closer than some anticipate because Rick Pitino can still coach and Yum Center is not an easy place to win, but UK is just too strong and deep inside.
T.J. Walker (Rivals) says Kentucky 66, Louisville 59. Cards will have a great season but Cats are a nightmare matchup. Too big and too talented.
Luke Winn (Sports Illustrated) says Kentucky 72, Louisville 61. I think this is the game where the one big flaw in the Cardinals’ offense — that they haven’t been able to make threes — will be an issue, because it’s almost impossible to score on Kentucky in the paint.
Anthony Wireman (All KY Hoops) says Kentucky 73, Louisville 61. I believe anything is possible in a rivalry game, especially on the road, but I think UK has too much this season. Cats roll.
Dan Wolken (USA Today) says Kentucky 65, Louisville 54. Kentucky is too hard to score on.