Yesterday, Louisville beat Florida to secure the West Region title. Today, UK topped Baylor to win the South Region. The Cardinals and Wildcats will face each other Saturday in New Orleans for a shot at the championship.
The two teams last met in tournament play in 1984. U of L coach Rick Pitino said Saturday that while he knows the next game will mean a lot for many fans, he doesn’t put much stock in the rivalry.
“The way I look at Kentucky and the way I look at their coaching staff…I marvel at excellence. I respect excellence. But I don’t get into these petty things, Kentucky, Louisville. For me it’s nonsense. I never got into the Yankees-Red Sox or that sort of stuff. I just appreciated being a Yankees fan,” he said. “There’ll be people in Kentucky that will have a nervous breakdown if they lose to us. You gotta watch, they gotta put the fences up on bridges. And there’ll be people consumed by it in Louisville. I think it’s a great honor to play a great team.”
“They have a great program, they’re well-coached and they’re talented,” said UK coach John Calipari Sunday about the Cardinals. “I’m not worried about who we’re playing.”
On the other side of the bracket, Ohio State and the winner of today’s Kansas-North Carolina will compete to play in the championship game.