Deep down, we all sensed this was coming, didn't we? Once the NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed last Sunday and Kentucky and Louisville were aligned so conveniently in the Midwest Region, this all seemed inevitable, if not predestined.

On that day, both teams and their fans were mostly glum about receiving low seeds. But now none of that matters. All that matters is that U of L and UK are in the Sweet 16, and college basketball's last two national champions are ready to clash once more.

Yes, this is really happening. Yes, this is going to be intense. No, I don't have tickets for you.

Forget Duke and North Carolina, this is college basketball's greatest rivalry right now. And for the next week, this will be a Commonwealth divided. Friends and co-workers — and even some spouses — will choose sides. Red or Blue. Cats or Cards. Pitino or Calipari. Fans would probably add good vs. evil to the list, but be nice, you guys.

Although we saw this matchup in the Final Four two seasons ago, I think this iteration could be even more frenzied.

For all its pomp, the Final Four caters to the corporates. This, on the other hand, will be more of a party for the people. And perhaps most importantly, it will be held just two hours away in Indianapolis, literally turning I-65 North into a road to the Final Four.

The winner could essentially have an Elite Eight home game, and with apologies to Michigan, the winner must also be considered the favorite to get to Dallas. And at that point, anything would be possible.

U of L and UK reached this point in different ways. The Cardinals were nearly flattened in their NCAA tourney opener against No. 13-seeded Manhattan, but they survived that late-night scare and then stomped on No. 4 Saint Louis. It was mostly business-as-usual, and the celebration was muted.

The No. 8 Wildcats blitzed past No. 9 Kansas State before facing No. 1 and undefeated Wichita State on Sunday. That started as the tournament's most intriguing game and ended as an instant classic. When Fred VanVleet's potentially game-winning 3-pointer clanged off the rim at the buzzer giving UK a 78-76 win, there was unfiltered joy on the Wildcats' bench.