Wildcats Ready to Battle Hoosiers in RCA Dome
Dec. 21, 2001
LEXINGTON, Ky. -
Border Rivals Square Off at RCA Dome
In arguably the greatest atmosphere for a regular-season college basketball game, archrivals Kentucky and Indiana battle before nearly 40,000 fans at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. Tickets are distributed evenly between each team and the stadium is divided in half along the midcourt line -- red and blue -- as the flagship institutions of two basketball-rich states compete for bragging rights.
Kentucky enters the contest after just falling short of upsetting top-ranked Duke in the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday. The Blue Devils rallied from a 12-poing second half deficit to beat UK in overtime, 95-92, as preseason player of the year Jason Williams tallied 38 points. The loss snapped a six-game Kentucky win streak but proved to be a breakout game for freshman sharpshooter Rashaad Carruth, who had 19 points, and veteran Jules Camara, who made his first start of the season and finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.
Indiana comes into the game after losing two of its last four. The Hoosiers have road losses to Southern Illinois and Miami (Ohio) sandwiched around wins over instate schools Notre Dame and Ball State.
Dec. 22, 2001
RCA Dome (40,000)
90+ stations: Tom Leach, Mike Pratt and Dave Baker.
CBS Sports: Verne Lundquist and Billy Packer
Official site carries live audio from the UK Radio Network for each game. Enhanced coverage includes live statistics for all home games. Also adds the latest on the 2001-02 Wildcats including season statistics, photos and records.
Series Record: UK leads 23-21
In Lexington: UK leads 7-3
In Bloomington: IU leads 9-3
At Neutral Sites: UK leads 13-9
Last Game: Dec. 22, 2000 - UK 88, IU 74
In one of the most hotly contested rivalries in all of college basketball, Kentucky and Indiana will meet for the 45th time with UK leading the series by two games, 23-21. Last year the Wildcats shot a sizzling 68.9 percent from the field, their best mark since 1986, to earn the 88-74 win over IU.
Twelve of the last 16 meetings have been decided by 10 points or less, including two overtime games. The last meeting in the RCA Dome was an 85-73 win by Indiana on Dec. 4, 1999.
Tubby Smith is 3-1 against IU in his four seasons at Kentucky. IU's Mike Davis is 0-1 against the Cats after last season's loss.
Kentucky fans will remember Mike Davis as a member of the Alabama Crimson Tide. Davis lettered four years -- 1979-83 -- signing with Tide coach C.M. Newton after earning Mr. Basketball honors in Alabama. Newton, however, left after Davis' freshman season. Alabama went to two NITs and two NCAA Tournaments while Davis was on the roster. He scored more than 1,200 points in his UA career.
When Davis finished playing in the CBA in 1995, he was hired as an assistant coach at his alma mater by David Hobbs, a current UK assistant coach. In '96, Hobbs and Davis led Alabama to the NIT Final Four and a 19-13 record the following year.
Kentucky vs. Big Ten Opponents
The Wildcats hold an 85-51 advantage over current Big Ten schools with the majority of their games coming against the Hoosiers. Kentucky went 2-2 last season against the Big Ten with wins over Iowa and Indiana and losses to Penn State and Michigan State. IU is the only Big Ten opponent on the slate for UK this season.
The Wildcats are 6-6 all-time in the RCA Dome. Since 1992, UK has won every other game played in the building that serves as home to the NFL's Indianapolis Colts. Against Indiana, UK holds a 4-3 advantage.
Here's the rundown:
DateOpponentResult12-5-87Indiana*W, 82-7612-3-88Notre Dame*L, 65-8112-2-89Indiana*L, 69-7112-8-90Notre Dame*W, 98-9012-7-91Indiana*W, 76-7412-4-93IndianaL, 84-9612-2-95IndianaW, 89-8211-15-96Clemson (BCA)L, 71-79ot3-29-97Minnesota (F-4)W, 78-693-31-97Arizona (F-4)L, 79-84ot12-6-97IndianaW, 75-7212-4-99IndianaL, 75-83*Big Four -- UK, IU, U of L, Notre Dame
Did You Know?
As a high school senior, UK's Gerald Fitch was the 2000 Class 4A Player of the Year in the state of Georgia and a finalist for Mr. Basketball honors. He played at Westside High in Macon.
IU's AJ Moye was the Class 3A Player of the Year that same season and edged out Fitch for the Mr. Basketball title. He played at Westlake High in "CATlanta."
Hoosier Game Notables
* This is UK's second straight neutral site game, its third this season.
* UK hasn't played in a domed stadium since March 10, 2000, when the Cats suffered an 86-72 loss to Arkansas in the SEC Tournament. That ended a stretch of 20 UK games played in domes during the first three years of the Tubby Smith era. Smith's Wildcat teams are 17-3 at those venues.
* This game was originally slated for Dec. 1, but at the request of CBS Sports was moved to allow UK to play Louisville on that date. However, Louisville continued to honor the original contract and elected not to change dates. Indiana had already rescheduled, adding a game Dec. 1 at Southern Illinois. The rescheduling ended an "odd-year streak" that saw UK and IU play the first Saturday in December since 1987.
Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, the two squads played football on that date with the Hoosiers winning in Bloomington.
Indianapolis native John Stewart would have been a junior on this year's Kentucky team. The 7-foot center collapsed and died of a heart ailment while playing for Lawrence North during an Indiana State High School playoff game in March 1999. He would have been the Cats' first 7-footer since Sam Bowie graduated in 1984.
March 17, 1973 -- In the Mideast Region final, IU upends Kentucky, 72-65 to advance to the Final Four.
March 22, 1975 -- Kentucky returns the favor two years later, snapping IU's 34-game win streak with a 92-90 victory. IU had beaten the Cats for the fifth straight time earlier that season, 94-78.
Dec. 6, 1980 -- Sam Bowie and Fred Cowan each scored 14 points to offset Isiah Thomas' 20 points for a 68-66 UK win at Assembly Hall. It was Kentucky's last win in Bloomington.
Dec. 7, 1996 -- The "Air Pair," Ron Mercer and Derek Anderson, combined for 56 points as UK handed Bobby Knight one of his worst losses of all time, 99-65 in Louisville.
Carruth Is On Fire
Rashaad Carruth broke out against Duke, taking control of the offensive end during the first half to total 14 points in the period after scoring 12 all season.
He finished the game with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting and set or tied career highs in every category.
Carruth missed the first month of the season with a high ankle sprain and played in only three games prior to the Duke contest.
The Wildcats have utilized their deep bench this season and for good reason. The bench has contributed 32.6 ppg and 17.4 rpg and has recorded more than 20 points in every game but the Western Kentucky loss which saw the reserves score only eight points.
In the last seven games, the bench is averaging 36.1 ppg.
Tubby Smith has a deep roster this season which allows him multiple lineups. Eight games into the season, the Wildcats have started four different combinations.
Only Tayshuan Prince, Gerald Fitch and Keith Bogans have started all eight games. Cliff Hawkins has started five games at the point while running mate J.P. Blevins has three starts. Marquis Estill (5), Marvin Stone (2) and Jules Camara (1) have all split time inside.
The Wildcats will attempt to become just the fourth team in the nation to hit a three-pointer in 450 consecutive games. UK trails UNLV, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech who have already reached the milestone. UNLV, Vanderbilt and Princeton have hit a three-pointer in every game since the rule was adopted in 1987.
The Wildcats' last game without a three-pointer came 13 years ago against Seton Hall on Nov. 26, 1988, a "three-point" loss in the Great Alaska Shootout.
Cats In The Stats
* Kentucky has increased production on the offensive end this season after a disappointing 52-point performance to open the season against Western Kentucky. The Cats are now averaging a league-leading 88.2 ppg this season, the most since the Cats averaged 91.4 ppg during the 1996 championship season. Since falling to WKU, Kentucky is averaging 93.4 ppg in its last seven games.
* Coach Tubby Smith has always made solid defense his top priority and this year is no different. In the first eight games, no team has shot more than 47% from the field against UK while four teams have failed to top 40% shooting. Duke used a 63.6% effort in overtime to push its FG shooting to 46.4% on the night for the best effort by an opponent this season. In Smith's four previous years at Kentucky, opponents have combined to shoot less than 40% from the field three times.
* Kentucky leads the nation in rebounding margin this season, outrebounding opponents by an average of 13.6 rpg, the greatest rebound margin at UK since 1956-57. That season, the Cats outrebounded opponents by 15.7 rpg. UK has averaged 46.5 rpg, while opponents have grabbed 32.9 rpg.
* In other NCAA statistics, the Wildcats entered the week ranked seventh in scoring (87.7 ppg) and eighth in scoring margin (22.1 ppg) while junior Marquis Estill ranked 10th in FG percentage (64.8%). UK's 118 points against Kentucky State were the fourth-most points scored in a game this season. NCAA Division I statistics are updated each Tuesday.
* In the Southeastern Conference rankings which include this week's updated statistics, UK's Tayshaun Prince is third in scoring (18.5 ppg) while Cliff Hawkins ranks 10th in assists (3.75 apg). The Wildcats are first in scoring (88.2 ppg), rebounding (46.5 rpg), rebounding margin (13.6 rpg) and offensive rebounds (19.0 orpg).
Vs. Ranked Opponents
No. 1 Duke was the first ranked opponent the Cats faced this season. It also was the first time Kentucky had played further than 85 miles from Rupp Arena. UK beat Kent State last month in Cincinnati, the Cats first game away from Rupp this season.
UK in December
The Wildcats hold a 425-101 record in the month of December for a stellar .808 winning percentage. The mark is the best of any month for the Cats. Last season, UK was 4-2 during December. At home, the Cats are 275-37 (88.1%) all-time during the year's 12th month.
Former UK coach Rick Pitino will make his return to Rupp Arena on Dec. 29 as he brings his streaking Louisville Cardinals to Lexington. The game will be televised by CBS Sports, marking Kentucky's fourth national television appearance in December, its third of seven on CBS this year.
December to Remember
Kentucky kicked off a highly anticipated December schedule of great rivalries Dec. 8 with a 79-59 rout of North Carolina. After 118-63 win over Kentucky State, the Wildcats lost a thrilling overtime game to No. 1 Duke, 95-92, in the Jimmy V Classic. The Cats continue a tough 12-day stretch with Indiana and Louisville on back-to-back Saturdays. The U of L game marks the naming of the Rupp Arena playing court after UK's national basketball hall of fame announcer Cawood Ledford, who passed away in September after a long battle with cancer.
The Duke game marked Kentucky's second appearance on national television this season.
Kentucky will appear six times on ESPN and seven times on CBS.
Behind his seven three-pointers against the Tar Heels, Tayshaun Prince catapulted into fifth place on UK's all-time made 3FG list. He currently has 159 in his career and needs one more to tie John Pelphrey for fourth place.
Both Prince and Keith Bogans continue to climb UK's list of all-time scoring leaders. Prince is 21st with 1,363 points, while Bogans is 39th with 1,100.
Last Time Out
In a game dubbed and "Instant Classic" by ESPN, the Wildcats fell in overtime to top-ranked Duke, 95-92, in the Jimmy V Classic after leading the Blue Devils by as many as 12 in the second half.
Rashaad Carruth led the Wildcats with a career-high 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the game. However, player of the year candidate Jason Williams stepped up for Duke in the second half and extra period, scoring 27 of his 38 points to lead the defending national champions.
ESPN's ratings for the game were the highest for any college basketball game in three years.
UK began the season ranked fourth in both major polls.
After dropping in the rankings two consecutive weeks following its season-opening loss to Western Kentucky, the Cats have steadily climbed two spots in each of the past two weeks and sit at seventh in the AP and eighth in the Coaches poll.
Jules Camara had his best effort of the season against Duke, scoring 10 points while grabbing 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season and the fourth of his career.
Tayshaun Prince had back-to-back double-doubles earlier this month against VMI and North Carolina.
Current Wildcats who have recorded double-doubles in their career include:
CatCareer DoublesKeith Bogans2Jules Camara4Marquis Estill1Gerald Fitch1Jason Parker2Tayshaun Prince9Marvin Stone1
Big Blue Birthday
Birthday celebrations continue for long-time equipment manager Bill Keightley. "Mr. Wildcat," whose jersey is retired in Rupp Arena, turned 75 on Monday, Dec. 17.
Cats vs. No. 1 Teams
After falling to top-ranked Duke, 95-92, in overtime on Dec. 18, Kentucky fell to 4-9 against No.1-ranked teams in the AP poll since 1949.
The Wildcats have played Duke two other times when the Blue Devils were ranked No. 1 in the country. Duke won both games, 80-55 on Nov. 19, 1988 and 104-103 in overtime on March 28, 1992.
Kentucky's last win over a top-ranked team was an 81-74 victory against UMass at the Meadowlands in the NCAA Semifinals on March 30, 1996.
* Tayshaun Prince's effort vs. UNC won't soon be forgotten. Along with his three-point shooting display, Prince totaled 31 points, 11 rebounds and four steals. He matched his career scoring and steals totals. It was his second consecutive double-double, the ninth of his career.
* Prince's streak of five three-pointers on five straight possessions to start the North Carolina game were the first of seven for the game, all coming in the opening half. His fifth, just a few inches inside the "U" at center court, measured nearly 30'.
His seven 3FGs in a half tied Derrick Miller for the most threes scored in a half at Kentucky. Miller also drained seven to start the Kansas game on Dec. 9, 1989 before finishing with eight threes in the game.
Prince's seven, however, were the most treys recorded by a Wildcat in Rupp Arena as Miller's came in the Jayhawks' storied Allen Field House.
After relinquishing his scholarship in June to keep the Cats compliant with the NCAA limit of 13 scholarships, Marquis Estill grabbed national attention.
Once he moved into the starting role at power forward for five games early in the season, Estill again earned notice. Of the school's listed in the AP Top 25 at the time, he was the ONLY walk-on starter.
Queen City Mark
In November, Kentucky played its fifth consecutive season at the Firstar Center in Cincinnati, defeating Kent State, 82-68. The Wildcats are now 6-1 all-time in the arena.
Within the Borders
The game with Kentucky State is the third of four Kentucky colleges on the 2001-02 schedule, the most since the 1920-21 season.
The Cats have already played Western Kentucky and Morehead State, and will battle Louisville later this month. They faced Kentucky Wesleyan, Cumberland, Georgetown and Centre during the '21 season, posting a 5-1 record in the meetings.
Kentucky is 81-18 in season openers after its loss to Western Kentucky in the NABC Classic. Last season, the Cats were upset in New York by St. John's, 62-61. Tubby Smith is 8-3 in season openers during his head coaching career.
Kentucky is 84-15 all-time in home openers after the loss to WKU. Nine of those losses occurred before Adolph Rupp began coaching in 1930. The Cats are 65-6 since 1930, losing the home opener in 1955 to Temple, 1962 to Va. Tech, 1972 to Iowa, 1988 to Northwestern State, 2000 to Penn State and this season to Western Kentucky.
UK now stands at 23-3 in home openers at Rupp Arena.
AP Names Prince All-American
Forward Tayshaun Prince added yet another honor to his resume in November as he was named to the The Associated Press Preseason All-America team, the only senior on the list.
Prince joined Duke's Jason Williams, Stanford's Casey Jacobsen, Missouri's Kareem Rush and Illinois' Frank Williams.
Prince is just the second Wildcat to earn the preseason honor from the AP since the national news organization began naming a preseason team in 1985. Jamal Mashburn was a preseason All-American prior to the 1992-93 season.
Prince also was named first-team Preseason All-America by collegeinsider.com, Athlon Sports, Blue Ribbon Basketball, The Sporting News and Basketball News.
He was a second-team selection by AP at the end of last season.
Kentucky was picked to finish first in the SEC by a media vote at the conference's annual media day on Nov. 1.
Tayshaun Prince also was predicted to repeat as SEC Player of the Year, while he and Bogans both were named first-team Preseason All-SEC.
Men's Basketball PredictionsChampion - Kentucky (20), Florida (3).Eastern Division
1. Kentucky (20) 262. Florida (3)433. Tennessee764. South Carolina985. Georgia1056. Vanderbilt123Western Division1. Alabama (15)332. Arkansas (5)603. Ole Miss (2)664. Auburn (1)785. LSU1216. Mississippi State125
Only 50 college basketball players make the prestigious list, which culminates in the presentation of the Wooden Award for the nation's best collegiate basketball player each April.
The award was started in 1976 and has seen past winners that include Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Tim Duncan. No Kentucky Wildcat has ever claimed the honor.
Jason Parker underwent his second ACL surgery on his right knee in four months when he had a patella tendon autograft performed by team physicians Darren Johnson and Scott Mair on Nov. 1. Parker injured the knee June 24 in a pickup basketball game and had his initial surgery July 2. He retore the ligament prior to introductions for Big Blue Madness on Oct. 12.
Parker will miss the 2001-02 season as a redshirt. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Kentucky lost one senior from last year, returning 12 lettermen and four starters from a team that finished as co-champions of the Southeastern Conference and won the league tournament. With the loss of Jason Parker for the season, the numbers change to three returning starters. The statistics below reflect the returning production, excluding Parker:
Their Old Kentucky Home
This season's roster boasts six products from the Bluegrass State, the most since the 1991 season.
J.P. Blevins (Edmonton), Marquis Estill (Richmond), Cory Sears (Corbin), Matt Heissenbuttel (Lexington), Josh Carrier (Bowling Green) and Adam Chiles (Louisville) all hail from within the state's borders.
In '91, Reggie Hanson, Richie Farmer, John Pelphrey, Deron Feldhaus, Michael Parks and Todd Bearup all came from Kentucky. Much like Sears and Heissenbuttel, Parks and Bearup were both walk-ons 11 seasons ago.
Fans attending UK home games will recognize changes at floor level. In addition to the new floor that was purchased last summer, courtside fan seating has been added as well. Currently, 20 new "scholarship seats" have displaced some traditional media seating and been installed on press row. The 20 seats were sold for $313,000 a pair and the revenue generated will go to endow all 13 men's basketball scholarships. There are still four pairs remaining to be sold.
Kentucky celebrated its 25th season in the first built-for-basketball arena last year, playing for a quarter of a century on the original floor. Pieces of the original floor were auctioned off prior to the charity game, "A Night of True Champions," on Aug. 11, raising more than $38,000. The money was split between the UK Basketball Museum, the KHSAA and the Lexington Civic Center for the purchase of the new floor.
The new floor was designed by UK in conjunction with Lexington Civic Center officials. It was constructed by Robbins, Inc., in Cincinnati, Ohio at a cost of $125,000.
BIG BLUE MANIA
Chapman Makes Dunk List
Former Wildcat Rex Chapman made the list of Slam Magazine's top-50 dunkers of all-time. Chapman, who played two seasons (1987-88) before becoming a first-round draft pick of the Charlotte Hornets, was No. 35 on the list.
The top five were Vince Carter, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Julius Erving and Jackie Jackson. Not on the list was former Cat Kenny Walker, who won the NBA's slam dunk contest in 1993.
Keightley In 41st Season
Kentucky equipment manager Bill Keightley is in his 41st season in the UK program. The beloved Mr. Wildcat has served UK since 1961-62, watching the Cats roll to a 950-291 record during that era.
Keightley, who has a jersey retired in the rafters of Rupp Arena, has worked under five different head coaches at UK -- Rupp, Hall, Sutton, Pitino and Smith.
Wiggins Keeps on Coming
Big Blue fan Bob Wiggins continues his amazing streak of following the basketball Cats. Wiggins, who is retired and lives in Falmouth, Ky., saw 615 consecutive games -- home and away -- from 1977 until he suffered a heart attack just before the 1996 Great Alaska Shootout. It's the second-longest streak on record at UK.
The illness forced him to miss four games, but he has since returned to see every contest in person, a streak of 185 games.
Meanwhile, his home court streak is still intact. Wiggins has not missed a home game in 41 years, a streak spanning 581 games. During that period, which dates back to 1960-61, UK has a home record of 517-64.
In all, he's in his 49th season watching the Cats in person and through his own record keeping, has attended 1,199 UK games.
UK No. 2 with Most NBA Players
To start the 2001-02 NBA season, the following Wildcats were active:
Derek AndersonPortlandTony Delk PhoenixWalter McCartyBostonJamaal MagloireCharlotteJamal MashburnCharlotteRon MercerChicagoNazr MohammedAtlantaScott PadgettUtahMark Pope MilwaukeeAntoine WalkerBoston
In addition, former UK assistant coach Jim O'Brien is the head coach of the Boston Celtics while the Cats' all-time leading scorer Dan Issel coaches the Denver Nuggets and former UK All-American Pat Riley coaches the Miami Heat.
-- Go Cats --