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By LARRY VAUGHT
The two teams were called for 52 fouls (29 Louisville, 23 Kentucky) and combined to shot 70 free throws (43 by Kentucky, 27 by Louisville) in a game that took 2 hours, 20 minutes to complete.
â€œWell, we fouled because they were dumb fouls. Doron (Lamb) grabbed a guy’s arm for a fourth foul. You know why? Because he didn’t aggressively come back to meet the pass. He’s in the slow motor moving, moves away from the ball. He grabbed him,â€ Kentucky coach John Calipari said. â€œMarquis Teague, we’re forcing him to the right. The kid went left, he fouled on him (for his fourth foul). Why would you do that?
That’s not how we’re playing. We just did a lot of that kind of stuff.â€
Louisville coach Rick Pitino would not complain about the officiating.
â€œIâ€™m sure they had some fouls called on them that werenâ€™t warranted, too. Itâ€™s just that the two teams play really hard and physical and they call it,â€ Pitino said.
Calipari was hit with a technical foul in the second half and only said that he â€œthought we could have have moreâ€ free throw attempts. However, at least his team did make free throws and and is 87-for-113 from the foul line in the last three games.
â€œYou wonder why we’re shooting free throws better. For every free throw we miss, we have to have a 33â€‘second run. So that’s nine 33â€‘second runs they’re going to have to get in before our next game. So I’m just challenging them that way. So they’ll come in and practice because they don’t want to run,â€ Calipari said.
â€œBut Anthony Davis, it was great to see him. If you were him, wouldn’t you ball fake, step through, ball fake, just get fouled?Â Why even shoot the ball? Get fouled. It was good to see him make his.â€
Davis, a 58.7 percent free throw shooter, went 12-for-13 from the foul line, all in the second half.
â€œWe didnâ€™t mind fouling Davis. It looked like he was a shaky free throw shooter and suddenly looked like (former NBA great) Jerry West out there. I donâ€™t know what happened there,â€ Pitino said.
Here’s a few quotable quotes from after Kentucky’s win over Louisville Saturday.
Kentucky coach John Calipari on starting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist out guarding Chris Smith: â€œI was going to put him on (Peyton) Siva, but I imagine they prepared all week for that. Kind of like the Indiana game, 5.6 seconds, two fouls to give, I was going to trick them again. So we said, â€˜You know what, let him guard the other (Russ) Smith.Â The other (Russ) Smith is the one that really has stepped up his game.â€™ Siva is still very good, but I thought Marquis (Teague) could play Siva and bother him a little bit. I thought with Anthony Davis in there, you know, he’s not going to get as many layups. I did it right before game time. But we were going to put him on Siva to say, Let’s take him out of the game like we did a year ago.Â But something in me said, â€˜We’re not doing that.â€™â€
Kentucky senior Darius Miller on UKâ€™s 32-for-43 free throw shooting: â€œWeâ€™ve been doing pretty good in practice working on it. Coach makes us run depending on how many (free throws) we miss. I think weâ€™ve done a better job of making free throws and getting to the free throw line. I know we shot a lot of free throws last game, too. Hopefully, we continue to do this and continue to knock them down.â€
Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis on how game compared to Indiana or North Carolina: â€œIt was about the same. They really competed and we were up by 10, eleven and we fell back. (The atmosphere) was more crazy. The crowd was crazy because of the rivalry. So it was fun. We just go out there and play.â€
Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on being a team leader: â€œI saw an article where somebody said I was maturing, and I think Iâ€ˆam. I try to outwork everybody. Thatâ€™s how you lead. I can lead by example of being vocal, but Iâ€ˆprefer to lead by just letting everybody see what I do to win.â€
Sophomore Terrence Jones on his first-half dunk to end a 13-0 Louisville run: â€œThatâ€™s what Iâ€ˆhave been trying to work on â€” finishing strong even with my handing hurting. I got a great pass from Marquis (Teague). I was just in the right spot. His pass is what made the play, not my dunk.â€
Calipari on Louisvilleâ€™s effort, especially to close the game: â€œNo, they were good. But we expected it. I mean, I knew they’d come in here and play. They did. I mean, they battled. That’s how they play. They don’t stop till the whistle goes. Instead of us being up 12 or 13, whatever it was, if it was a 6â€‘point game, we may have lost that game. That’s what I tried to explain to my team after.Â And there was no reason for it.Â It was us.Â Now you gave them a chance to do this, and they did what a good team does: they made their shots. If it was a 6â€‘point game, we just went overtime.â€
Louisville coach Rick Pitino on Kentucky: â€œWe did a good job but they are a really good basketball team. We didnâ€™t mind fouling (Anthony) Davis, it looked like he was a shaky free throw shooter and suddenly looked like Jerry West out there, I donâ€™t know what happened there. They have a really nice basketball team, they play together and are really tough to guard, they will go a long way this year.â€
By LARRY VAUGHT
Maybe Michael Kidd-Gilchrist wonâ€™t be the best NBA player on this Kentucky team, but heâ€™s certainly going to be the best player on John Calipariâ€™s team this year.
The energetic freshman had 24 points, 19 rebounds and one assist to help lift No. 3 Kentucky to a 69-62 win over Louisville that turned out to be a lot harder than it looked like it might be when the Cats built a 15-point lead in the first half.
In a game that featured 52 fouls and 70 free throws, Kidd-Gilchrist was the one constant. He almost willed Kentucky to victory with his physical effort and relentless play. If he ever takes a play off, it will be his first on either end of the court.
â€œThis is me right here. This is what I live for right here. Iâ€™ve always been that way. I got a lot of heart,â€ Kidd-Gilchrist, who has quickly become a Kentucky fan favorite, said.
Itâ€™s not any one thing that Kidd-Gilchrist does that overwhelms you. Itâ€™s just that he does a little bit of everything well.
Center Anthony Davis, the potential No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, can be dominating and had 18 points, 10 rebounds, six blocked shots and three steals in only 27 minutes (he sat out 12 minutes in the first half with two fouls). But Davis says Kidd-Gilchristâ€™s numbers were no surprise to him.
â€œHe could do that any game. He goes so hard and plays so hard. I donâ€™t think anything he does would surprise me,â€ Davis said.
Put sophomore teammate Terrence Jones in the same category after seeing Kidd-Gilchrist set a career-high for points and grab more rebounds against the Cardinals than any other Kentucky player ever has.
â€œHe is an energy player and a game like this really gets him excited,â€ Kidd-Gilchrist said. â€œHe makes all the loose ball and hustle plays. He gets the majority of those plays no matter who we are playing.â€
There was one time in the first half when Kidd-Gilchrist seemed to go airborne for five feet and land on his belly trying to save a loose ball. He must have hit the deck at least 10 other times in the game. He went to the foul line 13 times, and may have deserved to have been there even more even though you wonâ€™t ever catch him complaining because the rougher and tougher the game is, the more he likes it.
â€œI was just feeling it today. I just played good, or think I did,â€ Kidd-Gilchrist said.
Calipari certainly thought he did. He said his star freshman was once again â€œviciousâ€ on the court and really â€œstepped on the gasâ€ when Kentucky needed it most.
â€œHe wasnâ€™t bothered as much as some of other players by the physical play. He almost relished it,â€ Calipari said.
Forget almost. He loved it.
â€œThis is what Iâ€ˆlive for,â€ Kidd-Gilchrist, who has scored in double figures seven straight games, said. â€œIâ€™ve always been that way.â€ˆIâ€™ve got a lot of heart.â€
Yet that big heart was breaking just a few days ago when his mother was hospitalized back in New Jersey. He almost went home before UKâ€™s win over Lamar Dec. 22 to be with his mother a day early. He only stayed and played because teammates asked him to wait.
She was at Saturdayâ€™s game along with family members and friends. Kidd-Gilchrist had to check his emotion when asked about her after the game and even admitted she had helped teach him â€œeverythingâ€ about basketball as well as life.
â€œIt meant a lot (to have her here). I stayed at the hospital with her. Itâ€™s very hard to see your mother lying there in a hospital bed and you canâ€™t help her,â€ he said. â€œI was crying my eyes out, but she was able to fight through it.â€
Maybe thatâ€™s where he gets the tenacity that helps him fight through anything opponents throw his way â€” and Louisville did plenty to try and slow him down with little success. He carried the Cats offensively in the first half when he had 16 points and his four field goals were as many as the rest of the team had.
But donâ€™t think playing basketball gives him an escape from worrying about his mother.
â€œThe game is not an escape,â€ he said. â€œThatâ€™s my mother. Thereâ€™s no escape from that. Thatâ€™s real life, not a game.â€
For Kentucky fans, this game meant almost as much and Kidd-Gilchrist delivered. Maybe itâ€™s no coincidence that in UKâ€™s other marquee game against North Carolina, he had his only other double-double. Great players tend to play their best on the big stage and there was a reason Kidd-Gilchrist was considered the No. 1 player in his recruiting class for two years before Davis and a few others moved ahead of him in the final recruiting rankings.
But if there is a better all-around freshman in the country, I want to see him.
The Bluegrass Sports Commission named the most valuable player in what had to be the easiest call of the day. â€œWe are proud to present this award to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist,” BSC executive director Terry Johnson. â€œIn a very intense rivalry game, Michael stood out with an incredible all-around effort.â€
But for him, it was just routine.
â€œThis is what I do,â€ he said. â€œI just play and love playing. The bigger the game, the more I love it because I want to win so bad.â€
FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 69, Louisville 62
Team Records and Series Notes
- Kentucky is 13-1 and Louisville is 12-2.
- Kentucky leads the series 29-14 and has won three in a row.
- UK is 170-73 all-time against teams currently comprising the Big East Conference, including 2-0 this season.
- Coach John Calipari is 9-5 in games against Louisville, including 3-0 as head coach of the Wildcats.
- UK is 13-4 all-time when playing on New Yearâ€™s Eve.
- Kentucky returns to action Tuesday against Arkansas-Little Rock. The game will be played in Freedom Hall in Louisville at 7 p.m.
- Kentucky started with the lineup of Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Darius Miller and Anthony Davis for the fifth time this season, including the fourth-straight game. UK is 5-0 when starting this lineup.
- Louisville got the gameâ€™s first basket. UK took the lead on a 3-pointer by Miller with 19:10 on the clock and the Wildcats never trailed again.
- Kentucky entered the 1-and-1 with 14:28 remaining in the first half as Lamb sank both ends for a 12-8 UK lead. UK reached the double bonus with 10:09 left.
- Louisville entered the bonus with 11:32 remaining on a UK offensive foul.
- UK had only one two-point basket, a tip-in by Kidd-Gilchrist, in the first 14:30 of the game. Lamb broke the spell with a basket and foul shot at the 5:30 mark.
- UKâ€™s biggest lead of the half was 15 points at 31-16 at 5:09 on the clock. Louisville rallied with a 13-0 run during a span of 2:18 to cut the lead to 31-29.
- UK hung on to lead at halftime 36-33 as Kidd-Gilchrist led all players with 16 points and nine rebounds.
- The teams combined for 28 fouls in the first half â€“ U of L 15, UK 13.
- Lamb and Teague had three fouls for UK while Chane Behanan and Rakeem Buckles had three for Louisville.
- UK shot 23 foul shots in the first half, most in a first half this season. UK made 17.
- U of L made 10 of 14 from the foul line in the first half.
- Louisville tied the game at 40 with 15:23 on the clock on a four-point play by Russ Smith.
- Kentucky entered the 1-and-1 with 14:56 to play. UK reclaimed the lead when Kidd-Gilchrist made the second of two free throws.
- The foul shot started a 7-0 run, followed by a Kidd-Gilchrist layup and four foul shots by Davis, giving UK a 47-40 lead.
- UK stretched the lead to as many as 13 points on two occasions late in the game.
- The teams combined for 52 fouls (U of L 29, UK 23) and 70 total foul shots.
- UK made 32 of 43 at the foul line, season highs in both categories.
- UK has had its three most prolific free-throw performances in the last three games, totaling 87 of 113 from the foul line vs. Loyola, Lamar and Louisville.
- Kentucky grabbed 20 offensive rebounds, leading to a 20-6 advantage in second-chance points.
- UK limited Louisville to 32.3 percent field-goal shooting, 20 of 62. The Wildcats came into the game leading the nation in field goal percentage defense (35.2).
- UK forced its 10th shot-clock violation of the season, matching the total for all of the 2010-11 season.
- UK is 59-1 under Calipari when the opponent scores 67 or fewer points.
- The Wildcats extended their home winning streak to 44 games, the longest active streak in the nation. The run includes the 2009 NIT game at Memorial Coliseum and the last 43 games at Rupp Arena.
- UK is a perfect 43-0 under Calipari at Rupp Arena, the longest win streak in venue history.
- UK owns a 469-60 all-time record in Rupp Arena.
- Since the 2000 season, Calipari-coached teams have posted a 197-19 record at home.
- In its 109th season of basketball, Kentucky is the NCAAâ€™s all-time wins leader with 2,065 wins.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist set career highs with 24 points and 19 rebounds.
- His second double-double of the season, also vs. North Carolina.
- Has scored double figures in seven-straight games.
- Also had career bests with 8 of 13 at the foul line.
- Named the gameâ€™s Most Valuable Player by the Bluegrass Sports Commission.
- Kidd-Gilchristâ€™s 19 rebounds is a UK-U of L series record.
- Anthony Davis totaled 18 points and 10 rebounds.
- Davis has seven double-doubles this season, and three consecutively. The last Wildcat with three straight double-doubles was DeMarcus Cousins when he had seven in a row in 2010.
- Davis blocked six shots. He has blocked at least three shots in five-straight games and leads the SEC with 4.5 per blocks game.
- Set career highs with 12 of 13 free throws.
- Terrence Jones continues to recover from his dislocated left pinkie finger but still managed to claim a season-high 11 rebounds.
- First double-digit rebounding game since the Final Four vs. UConn.
AP Sports Writer
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had season-highs with 24 points and 19 rebounds to lead No. 3 Kentucky in a rough-and-tumble 69-62 victory over No. 4 Louisville on Saturday to extend the nation’s longest home winning streak.
Fellow freshman Anthony Davis added 18 points, all in the second half, for the Wildcats (13-1) in their annual in-state rivalry game that at times looked more like a free throw shooting contest with 52 fouls.
The Cardinals (12-2) only led at 2-0, but gave Kentucky all it could handle after rallying from an early 15-point deficit before tying it in the second half thanks to Russ Smith, who had a career-high 30 points.
But Kidd-Gilchrist’s hustle and Davis’ emergence proved to be the difference with rapper Jay-Z, actress Ashley Judd and nearly a dozen NBA scouts on hand.
Kentucky has won 44 straight at home, including 43 in a row at Rupp Arena, for the nation’s longest streak ahead of Duke’s 43. This one will be remembered after the teams came in with the highest combined ranking in history.
With the game tied at 40 early in the second half, Louisville had a chance to take its second lead but Peyton Siva never hit the rim on an 18-foot jumper.
Kentucky went on a 7-0 run from there, with Kidd-Gilchrist hitting one of two free throws and making a layup on another trip before Davis got to the line and made four free throws over two possessions to make it 47-40.
Davis blocked Chris Smith on one end, then cleaned up Kentucky’s fast break on the other to give the Wildcats a 49-42 lead. His alley-oop slam from Doron Lamb made it 56-48 with 6:40 left.
The battles kept going after the whistle with Davis and Rakeem Buckles tangled up on an out-of-bounds play and Davis pleading for a foul.
On another one, Davis went flying into the crowd trying to make a save and landed on an older woman in the front row. Kidd-Gilchrist came over, screaming, “A.D.! A.D.!” with a smile on his face as he pulled his teammate back toward the court.
Kidd-Gilchrist’s three-point play with 3:41 left gave the Wildcats a 61-50 lead, its first beyond double digits since the first half, and Kentucky was never seriously threatened for its third straight win in the series.
Gorgui Dieng, who entered the second half with one foul, picked up three in a span of 2:20 to head to the bench with 16:08 left, but seconds later, Kentucky coach John Calipari picked up a technical foul for his displeasure with the officiating.
Trailing 40-36, Smith hit a 3-pointer and was fouled by Kidd-Gilchrist. He converted it to tie the game with 15:21 left, but Louisville never got over the hump after also rallying from an 11-point deficit before losing against No. 12 Georgetown for its first loss on Wednesday.
Louisville freshman Chane Behanan was the first player to lose his cool in this emotionally-charged matchup of schools separated by 78 miles.
Behanan, recruited by both schools, had already picked up an early foul when he was called for a charge and assessed a technical for his reaction with 16:16 left in the first half.
Louisville opened with a 2-0 lead, but Darius Miller answered with a 3-pointer and Kidd-Gilchrist was the only Wildcat to make a field goal over the next 13:45 as Kentucky feasted at the foul line to build a 31-16 lead.
The only adversity early came when Davis crashed into Russ Smith to draw his second foul and then bowled into associate head coach Richard Pitino, son of coach Rick Pitino, on the Louisville bench midway through the first half.
Trailing by 15 points, Louisville’s two Smiths mounted a 13-0 run.
Chris and Russ Smith, who aren’t related, scored five points apiece in the spurt that cut it to 31-29 with 2:51 left. Louisville cut it to 34-33 exactly a minute later after a basket by Russ Smith, but Kyle Wiltjer’s layup gave Kentucky a 36-33 lead at the half.
Louisville would tie it before 5 minutes passed in the second half, but never could mount a push to take control in one of the most hyped games since the 1983-84 season opener.
In that game, No. 2 Kentucky won over No. 6 Louisville, which marked the start of the annual matchup between the schools following the Cardinals’ 1983 NCAA tournament win in overtime over the Wildcats in the regional finals.
No. 3 KENTUCKY 69, No. 4 LOUISVILLE 62
LOUISVILLE (12-2): Kuric 1-4 0-0 2, Behanan 1-3 2-2 4, Dieng 2-5 1-2 5, Siva 2-13 4-6 8, C. Smith 2-10 2-2 7, R. Smith 10-20 7-10 30, Buckles 1-4 0-0 2, Swopshire 1-2 2-3 4, Justice 0-0 0-0 0, Ware 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 20-62 18-27 62.
KENTUCKY (13-1): Kidd-Gilchrist 7-16 8-13 24, Davis 3-4 12-13 18, Miller 2-8 2-2 7, Lamb 1-7 8-9 10, Teague 1-8 2-2 4, Jones 1-9 0-4 2, Beckham 0-0 0-0 0, Vargas 0-0 0-0 0, Wiltjer 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 17-57 32-43 69.
Halftime_Kentucky 36-33. 3-Point Goals_Louisville 4-18 (R. Smith 3-8, C. Smith 1-3, Swopshire 0-1, Kuric 0-2, Siva 0-4), Kentucky 3-16 (Kidd-Gilchrist 2-4, Miller 1-3, Jones 0-1, Wiltjer 0-2, Teague 0-3, Lamb 0-3). Fouled Out_Behanan, Teague. Rebounds_Louisville 31 (Behanan, Dieng, R. Smith 5), Kentucky 57 (Kidd-Gilchrist 19). Assists_Louisville 6 (Siva 4), Kentucky 10 (Teague 5). Total Fouls_Louisville 29, Kentucky 22. Technicals_Behanan, Kentucky Bench. A_24,387.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
By LARRY VAUGHT
Let’s add WLEX-TV’s Mary Jo Perino, who somehow kept her sanity despite agreeing to do Lexington’s Dancing with the Stars with Alan Cutler, and UK radio play-by-play announcer Tom Leach to the Kentucky-Louisville insights.
Question: Who do you think wins today’s Kentucky-Louisville game?
Leach: “I like Kentucky to win.Â First, because of the venue and second, because I think Kentucky is the better team.Â That was also true at Indiana but this time, it’s the opponent and not the Cats who will have to deal with a rowdy atmosphere.”
Perino: “Kentucky.Â I think they have just too much talent and the crowd at Rupp Arena wonâ€™t let them lose.”
Question: Who has more to lose/gain in the game?
Leach:Â “There’s plenty of time to recover from a loss, so the loser is not hit nearly as hard by the outcome as is the case in the football series.Â I would be a tough blow for UK because it would end the homecourt winning streak but you know this team has a ton of upside to tap into by March so losing now is that big of a deal.Â For Louisville, you can write off a loss to the fact that the game is in Rupp so it’s really not devastating to either team to lose–to the fans, yes, but not the teams.”
Perino: “I think Kentucky has more to lose.Â They are undefeated at home under Cal.Â Losing their first game to Pitino would be awful.Â Louisville has been talked about everywhere as being a little overrated.Â If they lose, theyâ€™re supposed to.Â Kentucky is supposed to compete for a national title.Â They are not supposed to lose at home, especially to Louisville.“
Here is the final edition of the weekly feud with my co-workers David Brock and Mandy Simpson debating everything about the Kentucky-Louisville game today. Hope youÂ have enjoyed their conversations, which I found to be pretty typical of what I heard about everywhere I went this week.
Question: If your team lost this game, would it ruin your 2012?
Brock: â€œIt might not ruin it, but I cannot tell a lie. It would be a bit of a stain on the season if they lost. They could redeem themselves, though, if they went on to win the national championship like they did after slipping up against a nondescript UofL team in 1997-1998. It would have been sweeter if UofL had made it to the tournament that year so we could have had a rematch. Oh well.â€
Simpson: â€œNo â€” maybe just a few hours afterwords. But, as I’ve said, I stand by my Cardinal Birds in a all weather, and they’ll have a long season with a lot of big games to prove their talent. As long as the Cards continue to play with class and heart, I’ll have a great year.â€
Question: Which team has the best chance to be national champion in April?
Brock: â€œThis is probably the easiest question. Kentucky. Louisville, on the other hand, has great chance at falling out of the top 50 before losing the first game of the NIT. Alas, I have full confidence they will eek their way into a decent NCAA Tournament seed before running into another OVC buzzsaw in the first round.â€
Simpson: â€œLouisville, for two reasons â€” depth and leadership. By April, Buckles and Ware should be even stronger and more comfortable than they will be against Kentucky. Additionally, Wayne Blackshear â€” a McDonald’s All-American and our number one recruit this season – will return, hungry to help his team and ready to show the nation his skills. Another of our young recruits, Angle Nunez, is finally starting to play with some confidence and could help our shooting game (which has been an early area of need improvement for the Cards) and give our starters some stress-free rest.
â€œBut we won’t rely on our freshmen in the tournament. We’ll look to players who have been there before (yes, UK fans, when we suffered a heart-breaking loss to Morehead State University in the first round, despite proving our talent all season and beating both teams that competed for the national championship). Siva and Kyle Kuric will provide the most leadership on the floor because both have proven they can make major plays under serious pressure. Take note Big Blue fans, that’s what three or four years of NCAA experience can do for a player. Additionally, Dieng, Russ Smith, Swopshire, Chris Smith and (again, hopefully) Elisha Justice will play with maturity and desire to redeem our early exit last season.
â€œIn the end, Louisville’s tournament game plan will rely on the same thing the program depends on, athletes who’ve truly developed under Pitino and play for their team rather than themselves. As always, our boys will wear their jerseys respectfully and make their city proud.â€
By RICHARD CHEEKS
Over the course of a 31 game college basketball season, there are only a handful of games each year the really matter, and when the Cats and Cards square off, that game must be included in the count regardless of the scheduled date, hour, or venue. This is it, the main event, and for the second consecutive season the Cats and the Cards will toss it up on New Yearsâ€™ Eve. How can any amount of preparation be enough? How can any amount of hype be too much? Two of the marquee programs of the sport, located 90 miles apart, sporting two of the bigger than life head coaches, representing two of the most rabid fan bases known to exist within a single state.
At stake for both â€“ BRAGGING RIGHTS FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS.
#19 Louisville enters THE GAME with a 12-1 record, fresh off its first loss of the season on Wednesday to #14 Georgetown on its home floor by 3 points. In its first 13 games, the Cards have played at home except for a single excursion to #113 Butler where Louisville won by 16 on November 19. Louisville claims victories over #37 Long Beach State by 13, #49 Ohio by 5, and #56 Vanderbilt by 2 in OT. However, Louisville has played from behind in the second half of games against #108 College of Charleston and #251 Western Kentucky before prevailing in both games during the final 5 minutes.
The Cats also bring a 12-1 record into THE GAME, with their only blemish coming at the hands of #9 Indiana by 2 points in Bloomington. The Indiana trip has been the Catsâ€™ only venture into enemy territory so far this season, but they have left Rupp Arena for three of their 13 games at neutral venues where the Cats beat #7 Kansas by 10, #143 Penn. State by 38, and #134 Old Dominion by 10. The Cats also claim a 1 point win in Rupp over #5 North Carolina.
LOUISVILLE has played its 13 games at an average pace of about 69 possessions, averaging 72.8 ppg and allowing 58.0 ppg. This translates to an offensive efficiency of 1.052 points per possession and a defensive efficiency of 0.846 ppp. Contributing to those efficiencies are LOUISVILLEâ€™s turnover and rebounding rates. LOUISVILLEâ€™s turnover rate has been 20.4% while they have forced turnovers at a 25.4% rate. On the Boards, LOUISVILLEâ€™s offensive and defensive rebounding rates have been 39.4% and 67.9% respectively. LOUISVILLEâ€™s schedule strength prior to this game is 0.486.
As a basis of comparison, UKâ€™s performance against its first 13 opponents produced 71 possessions, and a score of 82.5 to 59.1 ppg for efficiencies of 1.156 ppp and 0.845 ppp on the offensive and defensive ends. Contributing to those efficiencies are Kentuckyâ€™s turnover and rebounding rates. UKâ€™s turnover rate is 17.7% and UK has forced turnovers at a 20.9% rate. On the boards, the Cats posted rates of 38.2% and 68.2% at the offensive and defensive ends. Kentuckyâ€™s schedule strength prior to this game is 0.495.
The NGE analysis indicates a game played at a pace of about 70 possessions with the Cats winning their thirteenth game in fourteen starts this season by 14 points, 75-61. The analysis projects an offensive efficiency of 1.071 ppp and a defensive efficiency of 0.871 ppp.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) â€” Kentucky coach John Calipari began a list when he was asked whether he and Louisville coach Rick Pitino are too much alike to get along.
â€œSimilarities? Weâ€™ve both taken three teams to the Final Four, we both got fired in the NBA and weâ€™re Italians with big noses,â€ Calipari said Friday. â€œI respect what heâ€™s done, respect the program, respect the city and the school.â€
No. 3 Kentucky (12-1) and No. 4 Louisville (12-1) renew their rivalry in the most anticipated yearly game in the Commonwealth on Saturday at Rupp Arena, where even the smallest details are scrutinized.
So when a video came out this month showing Calipari and Pitino chatting at a high school game in Mount Washington, Ky., there was an abundance of speculation about just what the two coaches discussed.
â€œWe donâ€™t send Christmas cards, but weâ€™re cordial to each other,â€ Calipari said. â€œI went up to him, talked to him, told him heâ€™s doing a fabulous job with his team, the way theyâ€™re playing, blah, blah, blah. And he said, â€˜Your teamâ€™s really good and dah, dah, dah.â€™ OK?
â€œHe said â€˜I hope we beat youâ€™ and I said â€˜I hope we beat youâ€™ and I went and got a Diet Coke. That was about it. I donâ€™t know what to tell you.â€
The rivalry is as much about the two rabid fan bases as it is the players.
Between the two schools, 13 players have never participated in a Kentucky-Louisville game. This time, the schools have the highest combined ranking in series history. But Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis said heâ€™s recognized the passion simply by the amount of tweets heâ€™s received from fans about beating Louisville.
â€œWe guess itâ€™s a big deal for them,â€ Davis said.
Davis hears even more back and forth about what fans think of the respective leaders of the program.
â€œ(They think) that they hate each other. One always goes out and parties when the other one loses,â€ Davis said. â€œThey look alike, but coach Pitino, Iâ€™ve never seen him coach so I canâ€™t say how they remind me of each other.â€
Only one side will have a reason to celebrate on Saturday night even though Calipari insisted he has no ill-feelings toward Pitino, saying any perceived friction comes from proximity.
â€œItâ€™s two different programs and two different leagues. Weâ€™re not really recruiting against each other. Itâ€™s just this one time and our fans are going to be happy or their fans are going to be happy, and thatâ€™s it,â€ Calipari said. â€œAs far as our team, Iâ€™m telling you we respect them. Our players do not have animosity or hatred.â€