Jan. 4, 2008
Complete Pregame Notes | Louisville Pregame Notes | Pregame Press Conference Quotes
TV: Live nationally on CBS - Kevin Harlan and Clark Kellogg
Radio: Big Blue Sports Network - Tom Leach and Mike Pratt
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UK Opens 2009 at In-State Rival Louisville
Kentucky opens 2009 by traveling to in-state rival Louisville this Sunday in Freedom Hall in a game nationally televised by CBS. This is the 40th meeting between the two schools, with Kentucky holding a 26-13 advantage. The Wildcats have won three of the last four in the series.
The Cats are coming off an 84-52 win over Central Michigan led once again by junior Jodie Meeks. Meeks tallied a game-high 23 points while Patrick Patterson chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds. Josh Harrellson added 12 points and six rebounds in only 17 minutes of action.
The Wildcats enter the rivalry game on a season best six-game winning streak, and has won 11 of their last 12 games.
Louisville enters the game after a 56-55 loss to UNLV on Wednesday.
- Kentucky is in its 106th season of basketball.
- Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,977.
- Jodie Meeks leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks eighth nationally in scoring (24.1 ppg).
- Patterson ranks in the Top 10 in the league in scoring (t3rd - 19.3) and rebounding (3rd - 9.4).
- Patterson ranks second nationally in field goal percentage (72.2) and 33rd nationally in rebounding.
- UK ranks third in the country in block shots per game (7.8) while ranking 10th nationally in field goal percentage (51.2).
- Kentucky ranks first in the SEC in field goal percentage and assists (18.8), second in free throw percentage (77.9) and blocked shots (109).
- Patrick Patterson has recorded eight double-doubles this season and 14 in his career, tying him for 26th on UK's all-time double-doubles list.
- Patterson was named the SEC Player of the Week on Monday. It's UK fourth award this season.
- Kentucky has started off 11-3 for the second time in the last four years.
On Louisville ...
"They are a really good team. Coach (Rick) Pitino has a definite plan and he is a great coach. They have some very experienced players and they are always able to put five guys on the court that you have to guard. It all sounds simple, but not too many teams are able to do what Louisville does. They really do a good job of spreading the floor and getting the ball where they want it. They are great offensively, and they play some great transition defense because their pressure is good and their half-court defense is outstanding. That is why they were ranked third in the preseason and that is why they will play to that ranking. They have really good players and they execute really well."
On Patrick Patterson against Louisville ...
"Well, I believe last year he went 2-for-10 in the first half. If we can get 10 shots from Patrick in the first half then I'll feel pretty good. They did a very good job in post defense, but Patrick missed some shots that he normally makes. If I was playing us, I would try to take Patrick and Jodie (Meeks) away so we will just have to be good in other spots."
On Ramon Harris' health...
"He is doing better. I expect him to play tomorrow unless something unforeseen happens."
On the team's progression throughout the season...
"I think everyone is getting better. I think we are getting more comfortable at understanding what it is we are supposed to be doing. Tomorrow will be a good test for us to see how well we play in a hostile environment. We have only had one true road game all season and that was horrific. It should be a hostile environment and it should be a lot of fun. We have to make major steps forward since the last time we were on the road. We didn't handle the ball very well and got off to a bad start and we can't do that again. I think everyone is getting better, but it should be interesting to watch tomorrow."
On the magnitude game...
"Every game is big. Our last game against Central Michigan was a very big game for us, now our next game is Louisville and it is a very big game for us. The most important games are conference games, but that doesn't take away from how big tomorrow's game is. The players are excited to play, I'm excited to coach and I know the fans are excited about the game. It's not just a regular game. "
On playing on the road...
"I think we have guys who are growing up and really starting to emerge as leaders. We are starting to understand much better what the expectations should be on each and every possession. Like I said earlier, we have only been in a loud, away game once. When we were out in Las Vegas it was really a home-court type of advantage because of our fans. Last time we were in Louisville (against Appalachian State), it was supposed to be a neutral game, but it really wasn't. The scariest thing about playing an experienced team is playing them on the road. I look forward to the challenge, but I don't really have the answers to how we will play on the road. We will only know after we play some more games (away from home). Five of our next seven games are (away), so we better get good at playing on the road in a real big hurry."