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December 28, 2012
It's here! Cats v. Cards
Saturday, Dec. 29
4:05 p.m. ET
KFC Yum! Center
Radio: WKRD (790 AM)
Louisville plays its final nonconference game of the season as the Cardinals face intrastate rival Kentucky in the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday. Louisville won its sixth straight in beating Western Kentucky 78-55 in Nashville last Saturday as the Cardinals shot 50.9 percent from the field and forced 20 turnovers. Kentucky (8-3), ranked No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, has won four straight after an 82-54 victory over Marshall last Saturday.
RESERVES: Jon Hood, G, 6-7, Jr.; Jarrod Polson, G, 6-2, Jr.; Twany Beckham, G, 6-4, Sr.; Sam Malone, G, 5-11, So. Willie Cauley-Stein, F, 7-0, Fr.; Tod Lanter G 6-2 189 So.; Brian Long, G, 5-9, So.;
HEAD COACH: John Calipari (Clarion '82) 110-17 in 4th yr. at UK; 510-155 in 21 yrs. overall.
RESERVES: Montrezl Harrell, F, 6-8, Fr.; Zach Price, C, 6-10, So.; Kevin Ware, G, 6-5, So.; Tim Henderson, G, 6-2, Jr.; Luke Hancock, G/F, 6-4, Jr..
HEAD COACH: Rick Pitino (Massachusetts '74) 286-107 in 12th season at UofL and 640-235 in 28th season as collegiate coach.
The Wildcats lead the Southeastern Conference in field goal percentage (.490, 16th in the nation) and blocked shots (7.9 per game, 4th in the nation), and are second in assists-to-turnovers ratio (1.3).
Archie Goodwin leads the Wildcats in scoring (16.0) and assists (4.2). Alex Poythress (14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) leads the SEC and is sixth nationally in field goal percentage (.649). Nerlens Noel (10.7 ppg 9.1 rpg) is fifth nationally in blocked shots (3.73). Julius Mays (9.3 ppg, 3.6 apg) is ninth nationally in assists-to-turnovers ratio (3.64).
Kentucky, which opened the season ranked third in both polls, is No. 51 in the ratings percentage index and No. 35 in the Sagarin Ratings through games of Dec. 25. Louisville trails the all-time series against Kentucky 14-30 and UK has won the last four.
Kentucky won both meetings last season. In Lexington last year, UofL's Russ Smith exploded for 30 points off the bench but Kentucky prevailed 69-62 (12/31/11).
In the last meeting, the Wildcats beat UofL 69-61 in the NCAA national semifinals in New Orleans, La. The campuses are 78 miles apart, connected by Interstate 64.
Series vs. Kentucky
of the season (29.8 percent) on a season-worst 17 made field goals.
The Cardinals have enjoyed success in recent years with its first game after Christmas. Louisville has won 17 of its last 19 games played following Christmas, including 10 of the last 11 under U of L Coach Rick Pitino. All but two of those have been UofL home games. The Cardinals dropped a 68-71 decision to Georgetown on Dec. 28, 2011 in U of L's first game after Christmas last season.
Louisville's defense picked up where it left off with last season's stellar effort as the Cardinals have forced an average of 21.4 turnovers and have collected double-digit steals in 10 of its 12 games.
UofL, which leads the nation in turnover margin (+8.6) and is second in steals (11.8), is rated as the top defense in the nation in Ken Pomeroy's rankings through Dec. 25.
Louisville forced 20 turnovers and grabbed 10 steals in its last game against Western Kentucky as seven Cardinals collected steals. Russ Smith has at least three steals in seven of his 11 games this season and Peyton Siva has three or more in four games.
UofL had double-digit steals on 16 occasions last season and Smith had three or more steals in 14 games in 2011-12 when he produced a UofL single-season record 87 steals. Manhattan's 27 turnovers were the most for a Louisville opponent since Morehead State had 30 errors on Dec. 27, 2004. The Cardinals matched those 27 forced turnovers at College of Charleston.
Louisville limited Samford to just 13 points in the first half, the lowest since Arkansas St. scored 12 in the first half of a 54-27 victory last season on Nov. 22, 2011.
One Millionth Fan Attained
In just its third year in the spectacular facility, fans attending UofL men's basketball games in the KFC Yum! Center reached one million when the Cardinals faced FIU in the Billy Minardi Classic on Dec. 19. A total of 1,011,011 fans have flocked to the arena to watch the Cardinals in 47 games to date, an average of 21,511 per game.