Former rival coaches talk Sweet 16 Battle of the Bluegrass - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Former rival coaches weigh in on Sweet 16 Battle of the Bluegrass

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A poster with coaches Denny Crum and Joe B. Hall. A poster with coaches Denny Crum and Joe B. Hall.
Denny Crum Denny Crum

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The countdown is on to Friday's Battle of the Bluegrass when the University of Louisville Cardinals will face off against the University of Kentucky Wildcats on the court for a spot in the NCAA Elite Eight. Tuesday, a pair of Commonwealth rivals turned co-hosts weighed in on the Sweet Sixteen match up between the Cards and Cats.

During their joint radio broadcast of 790 WKRD AM, former UofL basketball coach Denny Crum and former UK basketball coach Joe B. Hall shared their thoughts about tournament time.

"It's a rival game for the right to move on," said Crum. "Those are the most important things."

While one coach bleeds red and the other, blue, the two seemed to agree on more than many would think.

"This game coming up Friday is going to be a classic," said Hall from a remote studio.

"Can Louisville win? Yes. Can Kentucky win? Yes," said Crum. 'They're both capable."

While Coach Crum acknowledged he loved his Cards, he said when it came to Friday's Battle of the Bluegrass, he'd be going with his head instead of his heart.

"Louisville's a four or five point favorite," said Crum, "but if I were making the spread because of their size and their ability to block shots and control the board I'd make Kentucky the favorite."

Not so surprisingly, Coach Joe B. agreed, but urged the Wildcats would need "to guard the three."

The coaches' listeners, however, seemed to be on the fence Tuesday.

"The match up favors Kentucky," said Bruce Pearl, the newly hired Auburn University basketball coach. while calling into the show. "It's hard to bet against Coach Pitino because he always seems to find a way."

"Kentucky's been able to overcome those great performances so far and I think Russ Smith would almost have to go off for 40," began a caller named Jason, "but he's capable of that obviously."

While the Sweet Sixteen showdown will be a rematch from the Cards' regular season defeat last December and Final Four loss in 2012, both Commonwealth coaches and their fans agreed it would be a game to remember.

"It means so much to both teams," said Hall.

"I agree," said Crum.

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