LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Louisville and former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino waited until just 1:41 was left on the pregame clock to make his Rupp Arena entrance, forcing Kentucky’s John Calipari to make a second walk down for a handshake.
Calipari had already made one trip down to shake the hands of assistant coaches from Louisville. Calipari and Pitino, the two bitter rivals, exchanged pleasantries at midcourt.
But that was it for drama. Pitino heard boos when he walked in and then when he was introduced. But so far there was no signage or costumes taking a personal hit toward Pitino.
Instead, at least prior to the game, all of the intensity was about rooting for Kentucky. The anticipation for this game was about the rivalry with Louisville and Pitino’s return, but it's pretty clear the focus of Big Blue Nation is for Kentucky to win.
Meanwhile, official John Cahill is working his fourth straight game. He started his week officiating Connecticut at Cincinnati, traveled to Michigan at Indiana in Bloomington on New Year’s Eve day and then West Virginia at Purdue on New Year’s Day, before concluding his four-game swing Saturday in Lexington.