Kentucky v. Louisville
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.
University of Louisville (11-1)
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
Louisville trails the all-time series against Kentucky 14-30. UK has won the last four. The Wildcats hold a 21-10 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 4-8 record facing Kentucky.
The teams met twice last season, with Kentucky claiming both games. In the last meeting, the Wildcats beat UofL 69-61 in the NCAA National Semifinals in New Orleans, La. Kentucky built a 13-point second-half lead before the Cardinals fought back to tie the game (49-49 with 9:12 remaining). Peyton Siva's 11 points and three assists led the Cardinals. Anthony Davis led UK with 18 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks.
In the regular season meeting in Lexington last year, UofL's Russ Smith exploded for 30 points off the bench but Kentucky prevailed 69-62 (12/31/11). Gorgui Dieng grabbed five rebounds and had six blocked shots in the game, and the Cardinals' defense totaled 12 steals. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist tallied 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) on a season-worst 17 made field goals.
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 30 seasons since.
The two teams have met in NCAA Tournament competition on five occasions, with Louisville winning two of the five. Before last year's matchup in the NCAA national semifinals, the latest had been a 72-67 Kentucky victory in the 1984 NCAA Mideast Regional semifinal in Lexington (3-22-84). U of L 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 82-64 all-time record against current members of the SEC and trail only three of the 14 teams in all-time series results. Louisville has won 14 of its last 19 games against SEC competition over the last 12 seasons. UofL beat new SEC member Missouri 84-61 earlier this season in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas (11/23/12).
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.
U of L 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 which celebrates its 25th anniversary this season. 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 totalled 16 points and five rebounds as a senior (12/31/88).
U of L equipment manager Vinny Tatum was a student manager at UK under Pitino for four years (1990-93).
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.
Peyton Siva moved up to fourth in career assists at UofL with six against Missouri Kansas City (524 total now) and is four behind No. 3 Phil Bond (1972-77, 528 assists). Siva is just the fourth player in Uof L history with 500 career assists. Siva's 211 assists in 2011-12 were the second most ever in a UofL single season, 15 behind LaBradford Smith's 226 record assists total in 1989-90. With two steals against Western Kentucky, Siva moved up to seventh in career steals (192 now). Siva recently passed 900 points for his career and is 49 short of 1,000.
Russ Smith has 134 steals for his career (34 in 12 games this year, 2.8 average). His 87 steals last season set a new UofL record, previously held by Darrell Griffith (1979-80), Tick Rogers (1994-95) and Terrence Williams (2008-09). Smith passed 700 career points with 14 against FIU.
Chane Behanan passed 500 career points against Western Kentucky and needs 11 rebounds for 400 in his career.
Stephen Van Treese needs 15 rebounds for 200 in his career.
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.