By LARRY VAUGHT
Jarrod Polson, a senior guard who sparked UK’s win over Belmont, knows what he considers the key for Kentucky Saturday against Louisville.
“Just be able to handle pressure well. They’re always a pressing team and they try to get up in you,” Polson said. “I don’t know, bring a lot of energy into that game. I don’t think that’ll be hard for us just because the rivalry. I think if we do those two things we’ll be good.”
Handling the pressure can be easier said than done. Louisville is 11th nationally in steals per game at 9.8 (Kentucky is 335th at 4.1). Kentucky is 233rd nationally in turnovers with 156.
Freshmen Andrew Harrison and James Young —and to a lesser extent Aaron Harrison —have struggled with turnovers so far this season as has Julius Randle.
Louisville senior point guard Russ Smith (140th) and backcourt mate Chris Jones (32nd) rank near the top of the country in steal percentage. That’s could be a troubling statistic for Kentucky, especially with the way Smith excels in transition.
Randle seems eager to assert himself as a go-to player for Kentucky as the Cats try to beat a ranked team for the first time in four outings this season.
“I have to step up. Coach has given me every opportunity, but I’ve got to step up more,” Randle said. “I have to talk more, run the floor, be a great defender, do more for the team. It’s time of the season where there are no more excuses. We just have to step up. We’ve played in big games and can’t play in any bigger game than Louisville. It’s really big for us and I’ve just got to be ready to do more.”