Top-Five Teams Square Off at Rupp

Dec. 2, 2011

The Wildcats ran their home-winning streak to 38 games, one shy of the current longest national streak (Duke) after posting an 81-59 win over St. John's in the HTC Big East/SEC Challenge.

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Kentucky vs. North Carolina
Sat., Dec. 3 - 12:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Rupp Arena
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | UNC Get Acrobat Reader
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TV: CBS
Radio: UK IMG
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Freshman Anthony Davis narrowly missed the second triple-double in program history, tallying 15 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocked shots. His eight blocks were a part of Kentucky's school-record breaking 18 blocks on the night.

Terrence Jones led all scorers with 26 points to go along with nine rebounds. Doron Lamb added 16 points.

The Wildcats held an opponent to less than 38 pct. from the field for the seventh-straight game.

Scouting Report

Located in Chapel Hill, N.C., North Carolina is the third-winningest program in NCAA basketball history.

The Tar Heels, a 59-year member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, have won 18 outright league titles, shared 10 others and won 17 ACC Tournament titles.

Carolina has played in 18 Final Fours, most in the nation, winning the NCAA title in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009.

Returning to his alma mater in 2003, head coach Roy Williams has established quite the resume, not just in Chapel Hill but throughout his career. Williams has only known two schools during his coaching career, serving as an assistant coach under legendary Dean Smith from 1978-1988. He then took over at Kansas where he was the head coach from 1988-2003 before returning to Carolina.

Since his return to North Carolina, Williams has claimed two national championships and five ACC Championships.

A 23-year veteran, Williams enters Saturday's contest with a 650-164 (.799) record and a 231-63 (.786) mark at UNC.

Series History

This is the 35th meeting between Kentucky and North Carolina, with the Tar Heels leading, 22-12.

Fifteen of the previous 34 meetings have occurred at neutral sites. North Carolina leads the series 11-8 at campus' sites (6-6 at Lexington; 5-2 at Chapel Hill).

The last time these two saw each other was in the 2011 NCAA East Regional championship. The Wildcats posted a 76-69 upset, earning its 14th trip to the Final Four.

In the regular season, the two teams have alternated wins at home over the last three years including a 75-73 win by North Carolina in Chapel Hill last year.

Pre-North Carolina Media Opportunity - Dec. 2, 2011

Head Coach John Calipari

On how much tape he’s watched since last night’s game …
“I watched our tape last night. I watched two or three other tapes of North Carolina. They’re good. We’re not making the game easy for each other and that’s the biggest issue we have right now. Until you get knocked in the mouth or until you understand that you can’t play the way we’re playing, you’re not going to grow. I like my team but we’ve got a ways to go. This is a seasoned team that creates a lot of assists for each other. They’re really long and active. They’re hard to score on. It’s going to be a challenge for us.”

On how this game will be different from the game against St. Johns …
“They’re going to take away passing lanes. They’re going to try to block shots and chase over the top of screens. They’ll do everything to disrupt you. They want turnovers or bad shots, which leads to their breaks. It’s different but it’s good for us. The last team held the ball and played zone. This team is going to spread it up the court and play man-to-man in a totally different way than we’ve seen. It’s all good experience for us.”

On the amount of potential NBA players playing in this game tomorrow …
“It’s different than other games because Kentucky had nine pros on one team in 1996. If they played us and we had one, that would have been ten pros. What you’re looking for as a coach for an NBA team is guys that make other players better. They can play, but they can make other players better. If a guy is playing and he’s playing for himself, it just stands out in a game like this. They’ll be looking for who’s feeling the game and who’s making their teammates better. I would think both teams will play hard. This is a quick turn for us but I think the adrenaline will get us through the game. This is a challenge. This is one of those games that is a learning opportunity. It’s not a must win game. It’s one of those ones that you’d like to win but we need to learn. The only way you learn is in games like this. It’s the one thing that brings about a change and they just haven’t been changing offensively. Crisis brings about change. When I watch our team from last year from early in the season, we were similar to this. Then, when I watch our team from late in the year, we would grind it out and we would create good shots. We took care of the ball, we knew how to get open, we played fast, and we were never in a hurry. We were one of the best teams in the country a year ago at the end. Early on, we couldn’t win a road game. This team is very similar only we’re a little longer so our defense blocks some shots and we create gaps. If we didn’t do that, we’d probably be losing a bunch of these games already.”

On what will happen since this is the last year in the contract with UNC …
“We don’t know that yet. I’m hoping our league stays at 16 games. If the league stays at 16 games, it’s an easy decision. Roy [Williams] and I have talked. Both of us still want to play the series and we know it’s important for both programs. But, there are only so many games you can play. You’ve got the conference games and then you’ve got these made for TV games and then you’ve got the Big East Challenge. We’re one of those teams that are locked into a certain number of games per year and we’re one of the very, very few that do that. We’ll see. We still may be playing it. There are other types of ways to be playing this game. We may be able to figure it out.”

On match ups against UNC tomorrow …
“I don’t know yet. We don’t know yet. We’re still trying to figure it out.”

On why this game tomorrow is important for the program…
“Well every game here is important. We have 22,000 we’re playing for so they’re all important here. But, you want games that help you learn about your team. You want your team to learn about themselves and that’s what you learn in these kinds of games. Obviously these are two teams that are going to go at each other and that have a history. We played twice last year and split. If we play twice this coming year again, I hope it’s very, very late in the season.”

On whether Marquis (Teague) could make the “wow” play early in the game …
“He could do it. He’s just got to learn from it. I have been dragging this team faster than they need to go. We have three freshman and two sophomores starting. Sometimes I think, ‘They should be like this.’ And then I think, ‘No they shouldn’t. It’s December 1st and we’ve played seven basketball games.’ They’re probably about where they should be right now. We’re sloppy and we don’t share the ball like we should. We never give it up early and we don’t make the easy plays. We don’t execute offensively. We break off plays for our own shot. All the things you would expect of a new team, we do. That’s the advantage Carolina has since they’re a seasoned team. Again, I like my team. I’ve said that from day one. I really like my team and I wouldn’t trade my team for anybody, but its’ going to be a challenge for us.”

On North Carolina’s experience in “big game atmospheres” versus UK’s …
 “We played Kansas in the (Madison Square) Garden. It looked like a Final Four venue. We had to wait an extra half hour to play the game. We’re as ready as we need to be for this kind of game. I’m not sweating it. We’re not changing a whole lot. I doubt that they’re changing a whole lot. We’re going to find out where their team is and where our team is. That’s what this is.”

On comparing Terrence Jones’ performance versus North Carolina last year with what he expects this year …
“I hope it won’t [happen again]. He’s way better. But they’re way better. You can watch them on tape. They are way better than they were last year at the beginning of the season. They’re figuring it out. They’re good. They’re good defensively. Again, this is just the next game. It’s a huge game if we win. Short of that, it’s the next game on the schedule.”

On how good Kendall Marshall is for North Carolina in transition …
“He’s really good. He’s really good with the ball. He’s got a great eye for passing. He will throw it on the dime, three-quarters of the length of the court. You give him a little bit of a gap to throw it to somebody and he will. He’s playing to make his team better which is why he’s averaging 11 assists. He’s running the team saying, ‘I’m going to get everyone the ball. You do your thing and I’ll do mine.’”

#1, Darius Miller, G, Sr.

On what he wants the game to be like …
“We know it’s going to be a very intense game in a very fun atmosphere. We are going to try to get ready to go and see how it works out.”

On how long he has been hearing the hype of this game …
“Since the beginning of the season, there has been a lot of talk about (the game), and a lot of hype. Hopefully the game is at the level everyone thinks it will be at.”

On if they are treating this like every other game …
“It’s not just another game. We are treating it just like every other game. We know it is going to be a different-level game. It is going to be high intensity, and we are going to have to come out and play the whole 40 minutes.”

#3, Terrence Jones, F, So.

On how much talent will be on the court for the game …
“There is going to be a lot of great players, creating a lot of great competition. It is going to be a great way to test ourselves.”

On his approach to this year’s game against UNC opposed to last year’s …
“Last year’s game in North Carolina I got in trouble because I took a nap before the game and coach didn’t feel like I was ready. I learned a lot from that game and carried that through the rest of last year and to now.”

On how UNC will play since UK knocked them out of the tournament last year …
“I bet it’s going to be tough and revengeful playing against the team that knocked you out. We are just excited to play them because they have the talent to be the number one team.”

#20, Doron Lamb, G, So.

On if he wanted to be the team to knock off UNC when they were No .1 …
“It didn’t really matter to me. We just have to go out there and play harder. That is the main focus right now. We also need to get back on defense.”

On if this game will come down to perimeter shooting …
“It probably will. You still can go to the basket, try to create contact and draw some fouls and try to get them into foul trouble.”

On what motivates him for this game …
“We want to be on top and be the best team in the country. We have swag now that we believe we are the best team in the country. We want to be the top team.”