Two of the Winningest Programs Battle

Dec. 2, 2010

Video interviews with Robic, Knight, Miller and Lamb | Cat Scratches: UK trying to avoid being UNC's breakthrough game 

Gameday
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Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | North Carolina Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Sat., Dec. 4, 12:30 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: CBS
Radio: BBSN
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Location Dean E. Smith Center
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Two of the winningest teams in college basketball face off Saturday when the Wildcats (2,028 wins - 1st) take on the Tar Heels (2,007 wins - 3rd) in Chapel Hill in a nationally televised contest on CBS.

Kentucky enters the match-up having won five of its first six games, including a second-place finish in the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

The Wildcats most recently posted a 91-57 win over Boston U. led by a pair of double-doubles from Terrence Jones (18p, 10r) and Josh Harrellson (12p, 11r). Offensively the Cats were led by Brandon Knight, who scored a game-high 23 points. It was his third 20-point effort this season and second in the last three games.

Kentucky also blocked a season-high 10 shots, while dominating down low, outscoring the Terriers 30-14 in the paint and outrebounding them 41-31.

Pregame Press Conference Quotes

UK Asst. Coach John Robic

On North Carolina’s length presenting a challenge …
“Their length presents a big challenge. (Tyler) Zeller is a seven-footer who can really run. The biggest thing for our guys is going to be getting back on defensive transition. (North Carolina) does a good job of getting in an early post position and that is their first look. Everybody who has played them, forever, has focused on defensive transition. You can’t allow them to have any easy baskets. You have to make their post players work, and you can’t give them angles to the goal.”

On North Carolina’s guards …
“Well, I think people are saying their guards are struggling because of the Illinois game. I mean, that was their first true road game. I like their speed. The style that they play enables their kids to get the ball and go. They are at home, so they are going to feel more confident about knocking down shots. They are at North Carolina for a reason; just like our guys are here for a reason. No one is in a slump when you play them.”

On preparing his team for a hostile crowd …
“Well it’s not like football where we blare the music and stuff like that.  We are getting ready to practice here today. Everything we do in practice is getting these guys ready for the next game, and that’s how we do it once we get into the season. You game plan, and every drill that you do is specific to the game.”

On the team’s communication …
“I thought we got better at it last game both offensively and defensively. And that is important because not only is just your guards but it’s everybody. You have to relay calls to one another. You are not going to be able to hear all the time. So, you have to rely on each other and trust everyone.”

Getting ready for the Dean Dome …
“These kids understand. I don’t know what you could do to get them all together and show them the way. Don’t forget Darius (Miller) is really the only player for us that has gotten a start on the road in front of a crowd like this. This is one of the bigger arenas in the sport. I’m sure they will be fine.”

On Darius Miller’s last game …
“Well, (Darius) was in foul trouble. And when you get in foul trouble, it can be hard to shoot it from the bench. I think he is improving every day. I think our whole team has since we have returned from Maui.”

On coaching this team more and instructing less …
“I think every coach in every other sport looks to coach more and instruct less. That means that the kids are doing the things we are asking them to do.”

On Harrison Barnes …
“Harrison Barnes is a very talented player. I haven’t seen him play in person, just on tape. At 6’7”, he is a jump shooter that can create his own shots. They look for him for big shots. They will look for him on isolations and he is a good offensive rebounder. I think it’s unfair what the media has done with him. He is a pro. We have our hands full with him and his size.”

#1, Darius Miller, G, Jr.

On whether the team’s play against Boston will affect Saturday’s game …
I think that it will help us a lot especially with the speed they play with, we will be better prepared, since we have already played several quick teams this season.”

On playing against the long North Carolina front court …
“It’s going to be a pretty big challenge, we are just going to have to prepare and work on it.  I think that Enes (Kanter) has done a great job of preparing us for how it is going to be this Saturday.”

On how much fun the rivalry games can be …
It’s going to be a lot of fun especially in the atmosphere that we will be playing in.  It will probably be like a tournament atmosphere, and it will be great experience for us as a young team.  Hopefully it will make us better.”

On whether rivalry games make the team play more for the program than the individual game itself …
Definitely, especially with the quality teams that we are playing in the next few games; no matter how either of the teams are doing, we have to be ready to go.”

On whether he will have to shoulder the load more on the road, being a veteran …
Yes, but we have been playing great teams already so I think the young guys know what to expect, so I have all the confidence in the world in them.”

On the fine line between playing aggressive, but not getting into foul trouble …
“Coach has talked to us about it, with me being in foul trouble a lot lately. It will have to be something where we make smarter decisions on the defensive and the offensive end.”

#12, Brandon Knight, G, Fr.

On his record high assists…
“I have been trying to practice and work hard on that and trying to approach the game in a different way.”

On what it is like going against Harrison Barnes…
“I know Harrison (Barnes) pretty well, but I do not keep in touch with him very much. I know of him though and he is a great player and he is doing pretty decent so far. We look forward to playing against him, but we always look forward to playing against competition.”

On what he expects of the environment at North Carolina…
“I expect a hostile environment. Obviously a lot of boos, but honestly I have never played in it so I don’t really know what to expect, but we will have to play together.”

On the team’s transition defense…
“We have done a decent job in that area, but we still have to get better. We continue to work on it during practice so we will continue to get better at it.”

#20, Doron Lamb, G, Fr.

On whether he knows any of the players on North Carolina …
I know a few of those guys, at least five on that team and they are great players, but we just have to come out and play better than them.”

On the challenges of North Carolina’s length …
All we have to do is run our offense; if we run our offense and stick together as a team I think that we should be good.”

On his not having to talk much on the floor prior to coming to Kentucky …
All the basketball teams I played with I never had to talk; so this team has got me talking a lot more on offense and defense.”

On what the coaches want him saying on the floor …
They want you to repeat the play and say, ‘I have help side defense; I’m on the ball; I have got help’ and things like that.”

On the importance of talking on the floor …
When you talk on defense you feel more comfortable playing defense, so someone will have your back if you get beat defensively.”

On his providing instant offense off the bench …
Coach just wants me to go out there and bring energy off the bench.  He wants me to score and play defense and I think that I will be good if I do that.”

On his play so far this season …
I am happy with the way that I have played, but I think that I could do better by just playing defense and helping my team and rebounding.”