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From the Pressbox: 'Dream Game' notes

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If Kentucky can extend its win streak in the rivalry with Louisville to five in a row, it will mark the biggest upset in series history for a Wildcat team.

For now, the only time Kentucky has won in a matchup in which the Wildcats were either ranked lower or an unranked team facing a top-25 Cardinal squad was in December 2005.

Kentucky, ranked 23rd, upset the fourth-rated Cards 73-61 at Rupp Arena in a game dominated by then-sophomore point guard Rajon Rondo. He scored 25 points and dished out seven assists and was virtually un-guardable. While many were questioning Rondo's NBA future because of his lack of a jump shot, U of L coach Rick Pitino said in his postgame comments that Rondo would be a great pro because nobody could stop him from getting where he wanted to go with the ball - something that rivals of the Boston Celtics would surely acknowledge today
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If Kentucky wins tomorrow, I think it might take a similar kind of performance, in which a player with big-time skills picks that day to showcase what he can do at the next level. And to me, Alex Poythress would be the most likely Kentucky  player to fill that role on Saturday.

Poythress doesn't have Rondo's point-guard game but the freshman big man could certainly assume the role of hardest-to-guard player on the UK roster, with his combination of inside-outside skill set.

Coach Cal wants Cats to follow Bledsoe's lead


Last Saturday morning's top-10 plays countdown on ESPN featured two different plays by former Wildcat Eric Bledsoe, one being a block and the other a spectacular dunk.  When I told John Calipari this before our pregame interview for the UK IMG Network, he said he's proud of how Bledsoe has learned the work ethic that it takes succeed at the next level. And he proceeded to tick off a list of other players who followed that same path.

Cal says the challenge for his current players is to embrace that mindset.

"This is going to be a process. This team has a chance - if they start changing. If they don't change, we're just a very average team. If they change, this team's upside is greater than any team in the country," Calipari told the radio audience. "But they gotta change. Are you gonna fight, are you gonna dive on the floor, are you going to show your emotion, that you're having a ball playing basketball?"

Cards a slight favorite in per-possession stats

Louisville is a solid favorite in this matchup but if you go by points-by-possession statistics, it's close.

UofL ranks third nationally in defensive points per possession at 0.794, while Kentucky ranks 24th at 0.878, both very strong numbers. Offensively, in that stat, Louisville ranks 22nd nationally at 1.120 points per possession and UK 32nd at 1.112.

If you're under 1.0 with your defense and over it with your offense, you're doing well.

Lofty ranking no historical guarantee for U of L vs. UK

Louisville brings a top-five national ranking into this matchup, but the Cards have not fared well from that standing. Since winning the "Dream Game" in 1983, the Cards have lost all five games against Kentucky when Louisville was a top-five team.

However, UK is also 0-3 in games against Louisville when the Cats were not ranked and the Cardinals were.

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