December 28, 2013

It's finally here! Cards vs. Cats today

Louisville vs. Kentucky
Saturday, Dec. 28
4:00 p.m. ET
Rupp Arena (23,000),
Lexington, Ky.
Television: CBS
Radio: WKRD (790 AM)

Game Look
Louisville plays its second of four consecutive road games as the Cardinals visit intrastate rival Kentucky in Lexington on Saturday in a matchup of the last two national champions.

It is Louisville's final non-conference game of the season. Louisville won 85-56 at FIU last Saturday as Russ Smith scored 18 points for the Cardinals, hitting 4-of-7 three-pointers.

The Wildcats (9-3), ranked 18th in the AP and USA Today polls, beat Belmont 93-80 on Dec. 21 in their last outing as freshman forward Julius Randle totaled 29 points and 10 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the season.

  • University of Louisville (11-1)
    24Montrezl HarrellF6-8235So.13.39.2
    20Wayne BlackshearF6-5230Jr.9.73.0
    12Mangok MathiangC6-10210Fr.3.73.9
    2Russ Smith G6-0165Sr.17.63.2
    0Terry RozierG6-1185Fr.5.83.3

    RESERVES: Stephan Van Treese, C, 6-9, Sr.; Chris Jones, G, 5-10, Jr.; Anton Gill, G, 6-3, Fr.; Dillon Avare, G, 6-0, Fr.; Kevin Ware, G, 6-2, Jr.; Luke Hancock, G/F, 6-6, Sr.; Tim Henderson, G, 6-2, Sr.; Chane Behanan, F, 6-6, Jr.; Akoy Agau, F, 6-8, Fr.; David Levitch, G, 6-3, Fr.

    HEAD COACH: Rick Pitino (Massachusetts '74) 320-112 in 13th season at UofL and 673-240 in 29th season as collegiate coach.

  • Kentucky (9-3)
    G/ FJames YoungF6-6215Fr.13.43.8
    15Willie Cauley-SteinF7-0244So.9.38.0
    30Julius RandleF6-9250Fr.18.211.3
    2Aaron HarrisonG6-6218Fr.15.13.3
    5Andrew Harrison G6-6 215Fr.10.62.3

    RESERVES: Marcus Lee, F, 6-9, Fr.; Jarrod Polson, G, 6-2, Sr.; Jon Hood, G, 6-7, Sr.; Sam Malone, G, 5-11, Jr.; Tod Lanter, G, 6-2, Jr.; Alex Poythress, F, 6-8, So.; EJ Floreal, G, 6-3, Fr.; Dominique Hawkins, G, 6-0, Fr.; Brian Long, G, 5-9, Jr.; Derek Willis, F, 6-9, Fr.; Dakari Johnson, C, 7-0, Fr.

    HEAD COACH: John Calipari (Clarion '82) 132-29 in 5th yr at UK; 577-169 in 22nd yr. overall.

    About Kentucky
    Louisville plays its second of four consecutive road games as the Cardinals visit intrastate rival Kentucky in Lexington on Saturday. The Wildcats (9-3), ranked 18th in the AP and USA Today polls, beat Belmont 93-80 on Dec. 21 in their last outing as freshman forward Julius Randle totaled 29 points and 10 rebounds.

    Randle has nine double-doubles this season and averages a team-high 18.2 points and 11.3 rebounds. Sophomore forward Willie Cauley-Stein is fourth in the nation in blocked shots, swatting 50 shots on the season.

    Kentucky is fifth nationally in rebound margin (+12.8), sixth in blocked shots (7.4), and 17th in field goal percentage defense (.381). Both teams fell to North Carolina this year; Louisville lost 93-84 on Nov. 24 and Kentucky fell 82-77 on Dec. 14.

    Louisville trails the all-time series against Kentucky 15-30, but won last year's matchup in Louisville 80-77 (12/29/12) as Russ Smith led the Cardinals with 21 points and seven rebounds. The campuses are 78 miles apart, connected by Interstate 64.

    Cards-Cats Ties
  • Louisville Coach Rick Pitino coached eight years at Kentucky (1989-97, 219-50 record), including guiding the Wildcats to the 1996 NCAA Championship and a 1997 national runner-up finish. A retired jersey hangs in his honor in Rupp Arena.

  • Kentucky assistant coach Kenny Payne played at Louisville from 1985-89 and totaled 1,083 career points. He was a freshman on the Cardinals' 1986 NCAA Championship team. He averaged 14.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and shot 50.8 percent from the field as a senior. He had 10 points and five rebounds against UK his junior year (12/12/87) and totaled 16 points and five rebounds as a senior (12/31/88).

  • UofL equipment manager Vinny Tatum was a student manager at UK under Pitino for four years (1990-93).

  • UofL program assistant Wayne Turner helped Kentucky win the 1996 and 1998 national titles in his four seasons there (1995-99). UK's career leader in steals (238), Turner worked on UK's staff in 2010-11 while completing his undergraduate degree. He had 11 points, four assists and two steals vs. Louisville as a senior in 1998-99.

  • Louisville began its run to the 2013 NCAA Championship in Kentucky's Rupp Arena last season, beating North Carolina A&T 79-48 in the second round and Colorado State 82-56 in the third round.

    Russ Arena
    Louisville's Russ Smith has posted significant numbers playing in Rupp Arena against Kentucky in the 2011-12 season and a pair of games in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. In three games within the arena, he has averaged 26.7 points and 4.3 steals while shooting 52.9 percent from the field (27-51), including 8-of-19 from three-point range (.421). He tied an NCAA Tournament record with eight steals against North Carolina A&T.

    Series vs. Kentucky
  • Louisville trails the all-time series against Kentucky 15-30. UK has won four of the last five. The Wildcats hold a 21-11 advantage since the series resumed in 1983. Current U of L Coach Rick Pitino had a 6-2 record as the Wildcats' head coach in games against Louisville; and has a 5-8 record facing Kentucky.

  • In last year's meeting, Louisville prevailed 80-77 over Kentucky in the KFC Yum! Center as Russ Smith led the Cardinals with 21 points, seven rebounds and three steals (12/29/12). Chane Behanan added 20 points, seven rebounds and three steals for the Cardinals, who led 36-28 at halftime. Archie Goodwin scored a team-high 22 points for the Wildcats.

  • Louisville has a 7-13 record in Rupp Arena, including a 4-12 record in games against the University of Kentucky (5-16 in games played in Lexington). In the last meeting in Lexington two years ago, Louisville's Russ Smith exploded for 30 points off the bench but Kentucky won 69-62 (12/31/11). Gorgui Dieng had six blocked shots in the game, and the Cardinals' defense totaled 12 steals. UK's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist produced a team-best 24 points and 19 rebounds, and Anthony Davis contributed 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Wildcats, who scored 32 points from the free throw line, were held to their lowest field goal percentage of the season (29.8 percent).

  • The two teams had not met in regular season play for 62 years before the current series was renewed in 1983; the rivals have met all 31 seasons since.

  • The two teams have met in NCAA Tournament competition on five occasions, with Louisville winning two. The Wildcats beat UofL 69-61 in the 2012 NCAA National Semifinals in New Orleans, La. UofL won 80-68 in overtime in the 1983 Mideast Regional championship in Knoxville, Tenn. in a game labeled as the first "Dream Game."

  • UofL has a collective 83-64 all-time record against current members of the SEC and trails only three of the 14 teams in all-time series results. Louisville has won 15 of its last 20 games against SEC competition over the last 12 seasons.

  • The Bluegrass Sports Commission presents an award to the Most Valuable Player of the UofL-UK game, an award won by Russ Smith last season.

    Jones Back From Injury
    Chris Jones sprained his right wrist in practice on Dec. 12. He missed the Dec. 14 WKU game, but returned to play vs. Missouri State on Dec. 17, scoring nine points in 19 minutes of action. The 2013 junior college player of the year, Jones has averaged 13.5 points (second on team) and 2.7 assists with only 14 turnovers in his 11 games. Jones had five points, six assists and a season-best five steals in his last game at FIU.

    Taking Care of the Ball
    Louisville is fourth in the nation in fewest turnovers per game (9.2) and is seventh in assists-to-turnovers ratio (1.68) through games of Dec. 22. Louisville has committed 10 or fewer turnovers in 11 of its last 15 games, including the last three games of the Cardinals' 2013 championship season. Louisville has committed just 110 turnovers in its 12 games this season.

    Road Trip
    With their Dec. 21 game at FIU, the Cardinals embarked on a four-game stretch of road games. Louisville's next home game will be Jan. 9 against Memphis, a span of 23 days. It is the longest mid-season stretch between home games since the 1980-81 season, when UofL played a home game on Dec. 22 and returned to Freedom Hall on Jan. 17. It is the first time the Cardinals have played four straight true road games since 2000-01 (Feb. 14, 17, 21 and 24).

    Career Milestones
  • With 18 points against FIU in its last game, Russ Smith moved up to No. 23 in career scoring at Louisville with 1,436 points, 15 behind John Turner (1,451, 1958-61) and 17 behind Allen Murphy (1,453, 1972-75).

  • With three steals vs. Louisiana Lafayette, Russ Smith passed the career 200 steals mark. He is currently eighth in career steals at UofL with 203, 45 behind the career record of 254 set by Peyton Siva
  • Against Western Kentucky, Luke Hancock passed 400 points in his second season with the Cardinals. Hancock has reached 1,014 career points between both George Mason and Louisville.

  • Montrezl Harrell needs 24 points for 400 in his career.

  • Stephan Van Treese passed 300 career rebounds two games ago.

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