Kentucky Hosts Louisville to Open 2010

The Wildcats close out its non-conference schedule, and open the 2010 calendar year hosting instate rival Louisville.

Kentucky enters the game off one of its strongest performances of the season, a 104-61 win over Hartford placing five players in double-digits.

Kentucky Louisville
Gameday Information
Game Notes UK Notes Get Acrobat Reader | UL Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Sat., Jan 2, 3:30 p.m
Coverage TV: CBS
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker GameTracker
Online Audio listen
Live Video via CBS
Live Blog
Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.
Louisville Cardinals at a Glance
Head Coach Rick Pitino
Record at School 210-76
2009 Record 10-3, 1-0 Big East
Ranking NR
Series Record Kentucky leads 26-14
Last Meeting Louisville defeated Kentucky 74-71 on Jan. 4, 2009 at Louisville
2009 Team Stats UK UL
Scoring Offense 83.6 82.0
Scoring Defense 64.4 66.5
FG Percentage 50.5% 45.9%
3-point FG Percentage 42.2% 32.1%
FT Percentage 69.5% 68.5%
Rebound Margin +12.4 +6.5
Assists 17.2 17.2
Turnovers 15.3 17.8
2009 Stat Leaders
Scoring UK: John Wall (17.2)
UL: Samardo Samuels (16.4)
Rebounding UK: DeMarcus Cousins (9.0)
UL: Samardo Samuels (7.6)
Assists UK: John Wall (7.5)
UL: Edgar Sosa (4.3)
3-point FG Percentage UK: Eric Bledsoe (50.0%)
UL: Reginald Delk (47.2%)
Blocks UK: DeMarcus Cousins (1.8)
UL: Samardo Samuels (0.9)
Steals UK: John Wall (2.4)
UL: Preston Knowles (1.5)

DeMarcus Cousins and Darnell Dodson led the team with 19 points each, while Cousins recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 12 rebounds.

John Wall recorded a career high 16 assists, breaking the school record 15 set by Travis Ford in the 1993-94 season.

Scouting the Kentucky-Louisville Game

Cat Scratches will host a scouting preview this week for the Kentucky-Louisville game by bringing in Matt May of The Cats' Pause and C.L. Brown of the Louisville Courier-Journal.

On Thursday at 12:00 p.m. May and Brown will join us for a live chat to give their thoughts on the matchup, what the keys are to the game, who fans should look out for and more. The 30-minute chat with the reporters will offer fans an inside look at the game from the people who are closest to the teams.

Fans are encouraged to join the interactive blog and send in questions. The last 15 minutes of the chat will be dedicated to fans' questions. If you can't join us and would like to have a question submitted, please send your question to catscratches@email.uky.edu and we'll try to fit it in.

Pregame Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari 

On the game against Louisville...

"This is a great game for college basketball. It's a great game for our state, the Commonwealth. I think it's a great game for both teams, so it will be an exciting game. Games like this, when you play the season like we do, it's the next game on the schedule. It's not a big game, unless we win, then it's huge. But, it's so early in the season and we're starting league play right after it, you are just trying to make sure your guys know what a learning lesson it is. They (Louisville) play so physical, they bump and grind, they ride you, they block you, and they play fast. The issues we've had with guarding the three are going to be exposed. There is nothing bad that is going to come out of this unless we get absolutely smoked. They are going to take 25-30 three's. What if they make 18? We've had that done to us. You know they're shooting. Will they shoot it from the NBA line? Yes they will. Do you guard them to the NBA line? Some of them. If they are making those, and they are that jacked up and they are making them all, it's a tough road."

On playing against Rick Pitino...

"I respect him, we've gone nose-to-nose many times in the NBA and in college, and they were all good games. They were all wars and I would expect this is going to be the same. But, this is about Kentucky players and Louisville players. They've got terrific players who are good people, and so do we. I think it should be about them. I just keep coming back to that."

On preparing for Louisville...

"It's exactly the same. I don't approach it any different than the Hartford game. I want them (the players) to understand that that game is just as important as this game. If you are trying to do something unique and special, every game has an importance. Like the Long Beach St. game, it's following the celebration 36 hours later and going home to Christmas. What a great learning experience and you saw what happened. You talk about four freshmen that don't know anything about this stuff. And neither does a sophomore. Five of the guys in our top seven have no idea what this is about. Why are all these people excited? They don't know. They aren't from here. They are going to play a basketball game and that's why I want them to play well. If that's not good enough or the other team is out of their minds, you move on to the next game, which is a league game.

"The good news for us is we've been down 9-2 to North Carolina. We were down 10 or 12 to Indiana on their court. We were up 12-0 and gave up leads. We've done just about everything. We've been played box-and-one, triangle-and-two, zones, man, trap-the-post, try to take John (Wall) away and try to keep him from catching. We've seen just about everything. That's why you play this kind of schedule, so going into league play you know exactly what people are going to try to do, or what you can do to get better."

On feeling the pressure of a rivalry game...

"The North Carolina game was that way. The Indiana game was that way. A league tournament game is going to be that way. I approach every game the same way. Maybe I'll feel it a little before the game, that 10 minutes I have to sit in the locker room by myself. My job is to make sure we covered the things we needed to cover and now let them go play. There are different ways of doing this. You run plays to score or you run plays to put players in the position to score. That's what we try to do. We are trying to put players in the positions to have success whether that is offensively or defensively."

On preparing the players for a rivalry game...

"I'll talk a little about it today. What happens is you are so anxious to get started that you look like you're exhausted. It's like you're running in cement the first two minutes of the game. What I'm always telling them is sub yourself right away. When you feel that, just sub. Even if you are in there a minute, come out, get your breath and get back in. But, it's hard because this is all new. This is a new experience. Louisville won the game a year ago, they have players coming back and they have been publicly talking about this game for a while. I understand they are coming in hyped, ready to go and they are going to play their best. I fully expect their players will play as well as they have played all year. I fully expect it. I don't have any doubt that will happen."

On Louisville...

"In the last three to four games, (head coach Rick Pitino) has gotten their attention and they are pressing as well as any team I've seen him coach. They are long, active, aggressive, and they'll come up and attack. They're not waiting for you to come. They are grabbing, pushing, kneeing, and hipping. They are balling. He's got them playing right now, and the losses got their attention. He's getting back to the way he's always coached where they're pressing, guarding, running, shooting three's, driving, and blocking at a frenetic pace. They are playing like his teams in the past."

#1, Darius Miller, So., G

On how much the new guys can appreciate the rivalry without having experienced it ...

"I think that they understand how big the game is to our fans. They are going to be well prepared to come out and know how the atmosphere is going to be. They are going to be prepared for it."

On what he expects the atmosphere to be ...

"It will be one of the craziest atmospheres that we have played in so far. I know how big the rivalry is for our fans and their fans. I expect it to be a nice atmosphere to play in."

On how an atmosphere like that can affect a player ...

"I think that it will be better for us. We will be ready for the game and will come out with a lot of intensity. It should be helpful for us and it will get us ready to play."

On Louisville and them playing better basketball heading into the game ...

"We haven't really seen their wins or losses or anything like that. We really just try to focus on what they do and try to get ready for their press and zone they will play. We are not really worried about their wins or losses because we know that they are going to be ready to play us."

#5, Ramon Harris, Sr., G

On if the team feels the hype is bigger than it normally is ...

"We do a little bit but the last couple of years Louisville has been on the high end of the battle and this year we've kind of switched positions. It's going to be a good game, they're a hard fought team, and they're a real tough team who's going to fight and be real aggressive."

On what he thinks this team has made the biggest improvement on so far ...

"I think we've just communicated more. I think we're starting to understand how to play with each other and that's going to make us better."

On how he feels he's settling into Coach Calipari's system...

"It's been fun so far. Coach is just expecting me to rebound and make the easy plays on offense and not try to do too much and stay within the system."

#11, John Wall, Fr., G

On if he talked to some of the seniors and juniors about the rivalry and the importance of this game ...

"I don't think that you have to talk to those guys, you can just look at a newspaper or message board and see the rivalry. We have been going out and people have been saying, `I don't care what you do, you could lose every other game, but just beat Louisville.' That is what they have been saying. We know it is a big game and it is going to be a tough game. They have great guards and big men, and a great coach. They are going to come out and play to the best of their ability. Like I said, we are every team's super bowl. We have to be ready to play."

On how you go about facing a rivalry game as a player ...

"Right now, I don't even know. I have never been in a situation like this. I use to watch North Carolina and Duke battle all the time. You can tell no matter if one team was better than the other, it always turned out to be a good game. You know a one- or two-point win. This game is going to be a battle. It will not be a blow out, although we hope it will. We know that they are a tough team with a great coach."

On if Coach Cal has been a little more focused this week with Louisville ...

"He has been doing the same stuff that he did with all the other teams. We have been working on the press a little more, knowing that they are going to press us a lot. We have really been working on breaking it. Other than that, Coach Cal has been the same as he was the other games. He tries not to switch it up, but if a team runs a little bit more plays we try to go over their plays more."

On if a game like this, being on national television and on the big stage, is why he came to Kentucky ...

"Yeah, I like being on the big stage. When the lights come on it is time to perform. When you are playing against a great team, you know that it is going to be a packed house and a great crowd. You just have to go out there and try to play basketball and not do too much to make yourself look bad. You just have to try to help your team win games."

#54, Patrick Patterson, Jr., F

On how the atmosphere is going to be different than anything else this year ...

"The atmosphere is going to be twice as crazy as it has been all year long. An all out battle against Louisville and I'm sure all their players are going to play extremely tough because they're a very physical team. It's probably one of the best rivalries out there and I told them to look forward to what the crowd is going to do."

On what does this game means to him because he hasn't beaten Louisville ...

"It means a lot. We're in-state rivals and we're going to see who the better team is and who's going to come out prepared and ready to play. I loved beating North Carolina, but Louisville is probably the most important game to the fans. This game just proves who the better team is. "

On how prepared he was for the atmosphere in the game against Louisville as a freshman ...

"I wasn't that prepared and I didn't know what to expect because I had never experienced anything like it before. When I stepped on the court and just saw all the red and blue in the crowd, and all the fans going crazy and even just heading over to the game seeing all the fans talking on the street, you could call it extreme hatred, I guess you could say. It's just something the fans are very passionate about and there's nothing you can do to prepare for it, because people can tell you about it, but it's nothing compared to when you actually step out on the floor."