Cats Close Out 2011 With Rivalry Game

Dec. 30, 2011

Kentucky ends the 2011 calendar year hosting in-state rival Louisville on New Year's Eve. The Wildcats enter the game on a modest four-game winning streak including an 86-64 win over Lamar on Wednesday night.

Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. Louisville
Sat., Dec. 31 - 12:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Rupp Arena
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | UL Get Acrobat Reader
Radio: UK IMG
Live Audio
Live Blog
Text Updates
Live Postgame Press Conference

UK had five players score in double-figures led by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's team-high 18 points. Darius Miller and Marquis Teague both posted 15 points, while Doron Lamb added 12 and Anthony Davis 10.

Davis also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season.

UK ran the nation's longest home winning-streak to 43-straight games (42 at Rupp; one at Memorial).

Scouting Report

Located only 78 miles west of Lexington on I-64, Louisville is a member of the Big East Conference.

Arguably one of the Wildcats' fiercest series, the Cardinals have a rich basketball tradition of their own. They are fifth in all-time NCAA Final Four appearances and entered the season 10th all-time in winning percentage.

The Cardinals are off to a 12-1 start, playing 12 of their first 13 games at the KFC Yum! Center.

Louisville has three players scoring in double-figures, led by Kyle Kuric's team-leading 13.5 ppg, followed by Russ Smith's 10.8 ppg average and Gorgui Dieng's 10.5 average.

Dieng leads the team in rebounding (10.0) and blocked shots (37).

The intense match-up between Kentucky and Louisville was taken to another level on March 21, 2001, when former UK head coach Rick Pitino took the helm at UofL and became only the fourth coach in 57 years for the Cardinals.

Pitino is 609-221 (.734) in his 25th season as a head coach.

Series History

Kentucky owns a 28-14 record in the all-time
series and has won five of the last seven against
Louisville including two straight.

This is the 29th regular-season meeting between the teams since the series was renewed in 1983-84. UK has won 18 of the 28 games in that span.

The series began in 1913 with UK winning seven of the first nine contests. The teams then met three times in the NCAA Tournament between 1948-59. After a 24-year absence, the series was renewed at the 1983 NCAA Mideast Region title game in Knoxville, with Louisville winning the "Dream Game," 80-68 in overtime to advance to the Final Four.

UK coach John Calipari is 8-5 versus Louisville. UofL head coach Rick Pitino is 4-6 against the Cats. Pitino was 6-2 against the Cards while coaching at Kentucky.

Pre-Louisville Media Opportunity - Dec. 30, 2011

On the preparation for the Louisville game….
“We have not prepared for this game any different than any other game. Obviously for our fans and their fans this is an enormous game. For our team it’s the next game and hopefully we play well, but they are a good team.”

On comparing this game to the Kansas, North Carolina and Indiana games…
“It will be similar to those games. It will be really physical; you have to be strong with the ball and protect yourself. You can’t be afraid of body-to-body contact and you’re going to have to finish around the goal the same way and it’s all good for us. They are going to play a lot of zone, they will probably start in zone and it’s good for us. We will see where we are against the zone. I imagine that at some point in the game they will start pressing and we will see how we do. This is a great experience for us in another crazy environment. They’re good, you know what I thought about (Peyton) Siva last year and that hasn’t changed, he is as good a guard in the country. The two Smiths (Russ and Chris) both do different things but do them well, (Kyle) Kuric can shoot it, we recruited (Chane) Behanan, I know how good he is and their big center (Gorgui Dieng) has gotten better. This is a team deserving of their rankings because they have very good players that play extremely hard.”

On an aggressive Darius Miller changing the team…
“It makes us much different, he was pretty aggressive against this team last year; he was actually probably the difference in the game. Obviously Josh (Harrellson) played well, Brandon (Knight) played well, DeAndre (Liggins) guarded well but it was Darius that really did some things when we needed baskets. He makes our team different. For all of these guys, it’s not even about our team, I want Darius to play well, I want him to look like an aggressive, hard-nosed, tough, skilled player with size and when I don’t see it I get mad. You’re capable of doing it, why aren’t you playing like that? Terrence Jones, it’s the same thing, it’s not about what him playing the way he’s playing does to our team, it’s why isn’t he getting this right? I’m with Terrence, I think he’s as good as any player in the country; he’s had a couple bad weeks and then gets an injury and a little bad luck. He’ll be fine, this is a hard game to be fine in because of how they play but I fully believe in him and he’ll be fine.”

On the hype of this game helping players give extra effort…
“I don’t know how much they are playing up this game. We’re not talking about it that much, maybe they are on the internet, which I’m not seeing what is being said. We’re worried about us, let’s just play the best we can play and if that’s not good enough, say they come in and make 15 3s and the game becomes physical and we aren’t able to play that way then great, let’s move on. We have 16 league games and another non-conference game to get going. If you win it becomes a huge game but truly it’s the next game.”

On Louisville playing physical…
“Everybody is going to play us that way. The M.O. is don’t shoot quickly, get in to the shot clock, get in to the lane, foul, ball fake and the next thing is be really physical against them, everyone knows that. Get in there and grab them, hold them, foul, push them in the back when they don’t box out, it’s all stuff that we have to deal with to take the next step.

On what Peyton Siva brings to the table…
“He just changes the game. He is able to get in the lane, he is a great lay-up shooter, and he is great going to his left. He gets his teammates open shots so if you leave someone open he will find them. I think he is an NBA player, he is a difference maker for his team.”

On Rick Pitino’s coaching style now compared to when he coached against him in ’96…
“When we played him in ’96 he had 11 NBA players so that was a little different. They play pretty similar, they’re pressing different, they aren’t spot pressing, it depends on who they play. They didn’t play much zone back then; he likes his team in zone now, so he’s sprinkling zones in which he didn’t do. The stuff they were running was different but kind of similar actions in the pick-and-rolls. His team isn’t afraid to get after you; they are playing to be the aggressor. I don’t remember all of ’96; I have trouble remembering last year.”

On the anticipation of the game …
“Who are the happiest people in our town right now? You could say the media but there are people happier than you -- ticket scalpers. They’re ecstatic, you say, ‘people would pay what to see this game?’ It’s a little out of whack, it’s out of whack here and in Louisville but let’s play the game. It’s one time a year, two teams going at each other. We better play better than we did last game or we will not win the game, if we play better we will have a chance.”

#1, Darius Miller, G, Sr.

On how Kentucky needs to play to win …
“We know they are a very physical team. They play with a lot of intensity and we’ve got to match that. We’ve got to make them try to match our intensity and how tough we play. So hopefully we come out and do that. Coach (John Calipari) has been talking to us about that. And we’ve been working on this, so hopefully it works out.”

On what he expects from Louisville’s performance …
“To be honest, I don’t know what they are going to do. I know they’re going to have something that they are going to do, and they are going to do it well. Just like they did last year. So we got to have something to match that. Come out and we’ve got to execute our game plan the way that they do.

“They played pretty physical last year. They tried to take away Terrence (Jones), which is a pretty big part of our team. So they did a great job of doing what they needed to do and we played pretty good and came out with the win. So hopefully it happens again.”

On how Anthony Davis’ performance impacts the game …
“Guys are hesitant to go in there when (Anthony Davis) is down there. He does a good job, a great job of altering shots and that just helps us. When we know we’ve got a guy like him back there who can cause a lot of trouble on the defensive end.”

On playing with more intensity and toughness …
“One reason, we know we have to (pick up the intensity). And then, it’s just fun playing these types of games against good competition. We know they’re going to be ready to go and we have to too. (With) how good they are, the type of game this is going to be with the atmosphere and the intensity should be a lot of fun.”

#20 Doron Lamb, G, So.

On how important the Louisville rivalry is to Kentucky fans …
“You can say that because the fans want us to win so bad. It’s a big game for our fans, but it’s a regular game for us really, and we’re going to go out there and try to win.  They just want us to win so bad. They’re always talking about it. They’ve been talking about this game since the beginning of the season. So we’ve got to go out there and play hard and try to just win the game. The main focus is to win.”

On playing the point guard position …
“I don’t mind it really. I go to point guard when Marquis (Teague) is out. My job is to be safe with the ball and run the offense. It’s a different role. It doesn’t affect my shooting though. I can still take a shot off playing the point.”

On how the team is approaching the game …
“We don’t want to get too hype before the game really. We are calm. Because when (you) are calm, the game will come to you. I know it will be a tough game. It will be really loud in Rupp. And it will be a little rivalry game, so it will be a really hype game. So we will go out there, let the game come to (us) and just play hard.”

On what it takes to win the game …
“It’s how hard we play with the press and how they are pressuring us. Be careful with the ball, be strong with it, and finish plays.”

#23 Anthony Davis, F, Fr.

On watching Louisville film …  
“I’ve never seen them play. I didn’t even watch Louisville play this year at all. We’re watching them tonight. We never had a chance to watch them play. We’ve always had a game or practice or whatever the case may be. We just never had the time to sit down and watch them play.” 

On what he expects from Louisville … 
“They’re a lot stronger and lower in the post. There will be more rebounds and more aggressiveness and strength.”

On rebounding …
“I just always try to get the rebound, but I usually take it from them. They actually try and get it, but it’s just hard trying to get it with six or ten guys. It’s very hard.”

On playing the post position …
“When I’m open, I try to demand the ball more. If the post is open, I try to demand the ball, but I really don’t care about points. I’m just doing my thing to make my team win.”