Dec. 11, 2008
Radio: Big Blue Sports Network
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Wildcats Host Hoosiers in Rupp Arena
Complete Pregame Notes | Indiana Pregame Notes | Tickets Still Available | Quotes from the Pregame Press Conference
For the third straight season, the annual UK-IU borderwar will take place in the home team’s arena, as opposed to a neutral site as it did for 15 straight years. The Wildcats welcome the Hoosiers to Rupp Arena for just the eighth time.
Kentucky enters the game coming off an 88-65 win over Mississippi Valley State where Jodie Meeks led all scorers with 24 points and Patrick Patterson notched his sixth double-double of the season.
The Wildcats shot 50 percent from the field for the fifth time this season, while holding the Delta Devils to 34 percent, the sixth time UK has held its opponent below 37 percent from the field.
Kentucky has been able to hold on to the ball better of late, averaging only 14 turnovers in their last two games, compared to 22 through the first seven games.
- Kentucky is in its 106th season of basketball.
- Kentucky is the all-time NCAA leader in wins with 1,972.
- Jodie Meeks leads the Southeastern Conference and ranks 11th nationally in scoring (22.9 ppg) while Patrick Patterson leads the league and ranks second nationally in field goal percentage (.725) and ranks fifth in the SEC in scoring (18.2).
- UK ranks fifth in the country in block shots per game (7.4) while ranking 12th nationally in field goal percentage (.503).
- Patrick Patterson has recorded six double-doubles this season and 12 in his career, tying him for 30th on UK’s all-time double-doubles list.
- Kentucky has outrebounded eight of its nine opponents this season.
- Kentucky ranks first in the SEC in field goal percentage (.503) and second in the league in free throw percentage (.766) and blocked shots (67).
On Ramon Harris…
“Ramon Harris is moving forward and starting to do a few things. We're pleased because the trainers say he is moving forward, but he has a long way to go.”
“Everyone is saying that Indiana is inexperienced, but they have juniors and seniors starting. We don't have any seniors starting, and sometimes we start some juniors. They have done a good job at ignoring what people are saying. They have played really well, and they played Gonzaga close. That game ended up being a 16-point game, but it was a seven to eleven point difference most of the game. Indiana is getting better every time they play. They're smart, hard-playing and a cohesive unit. They are also good at running offense, defense and the transition. I don't think Indiana is down. They are only inexperienced, because of circumstances beyond their control. They knew what they were getting themselves into, and they have put that out of their mind. Right now, they are concerned about playing basketball as a team. Obviously, the only concern they have is to get better. They have quite a bit of inexperience, but they are making the most of the opportunity.”
On Indiana's Devan Dumes…
“He is their second leading scoring, and he is slick with the ball. He is also hard to guard because he has unlimited range, and you really have to guard him on the perimeter.”
On Indiana's Tom Pritchard…
“Tom Pritchard is a nice player with great hands, who has done a good job. The team is good at getting him the ball, and he's a crafty and smart player. He is also strong and he does what he is capable of. Pritchard is averaging 4.1 offensive rebounds a game, which is a lot.”
On IU's defense…
“Indiana will jump in front of the shooter. They have done a good job at that and they've far exceeded other teams at it. They are smart because they anticipate the contact and they are ready to get a charge. That won't change our game, but we have to be aware of it.”
On Kentucky's progress…
“I can't rate the team right now, because I'm not a grader. There have been periods where we haven't played well, but there are reasons for that. This team will be a special team and I have always thought that. I knew there would be some rough spots, and there are areas where I didn't think we would have rough spots. But, we have excelled in areas that I thought would be rough. I'm excited about this team and I think they will be really good before the season is over. We are getting closer to that every time we play and practice. Point guard will be a great spot for us, but we haven't helped the guys at that spot so far. We are getting better at that, and we will continue to excel. The defense is better than I had hoped, and we have the capability to improve there. Offensively, we are getting better at taking care of the ball. We need to learn to play for 40 minutes and carry out assignments.”
On team leadership…
“As a team, we have good leadership on and off the court. In tough games we haven't had the leadership we need, because sometimes we play selfishly. I don't think that is uncommon for inexperienced teams, and I'm not very concerned about it. We just have to grow as a team.”
On getting the ball to Patrick Patterson…
“The team is learning to look for Patrick and feed it to him. We are beginning to understand that Patterson can score, and we are trying to get him more shots. In order to get the ball to the post, we have to post hard. Next, players have to guard their man and rebound.”
On getting time off from practice this week …
“We knew we had to practice, but coach gave us an opportunity to rest and it was a big help. We were able to get a bunch of treatment in and just relax for a while. I was very surprised to get the days off, but it was nice to have that time to rest. After two days off, we were able to have great practices and great preparation for this game.”
On Indiana …
“When I think of Indiana, I think that they have a great point guard. He knows his role and he knows what to do to get the team rolling. He's able to penetrate and run the offense. He's leading as freshman scorer in their conference. He's averaging near double-doubles. They have some good shooters. They weren't as good as they were last year, but they play pretty hard. They also have a coach that instills in their mind they need to play hard.”
On the rivalry between Indiana and Kentucky …
“We just want to win. We are two prestigious basketball programs and we just want to go out there and play hard. We want to start off well. We haven't started off like we should have so far this year so we want to go out there and set a good pace.”
On the perception that Indiana is lagging this season …
“I wish they were down because it would be an easy game for us. Watching the film, I see that they're not a bad team at all. When you hear people saying that a team is less talented, you have to play even harder. I don't see any lack of talent at all. I still see them as a hard and competitive team.”
On playing against Tom Crean's Marquette team last year vs. Crean's Indiana team this year …
“Marquette played hard last year and I think the only difference is the uniforms and the personnel they have. It's still going to be a tough team. We're going to have a lot of trouble if we don't come out with our game faces on. Indiana has big bodies and if you're slow, they'll out run you.”
On getting a break this week in practice …
“It was lovely. My legs feel great. Guys show up in a happier mood because they're not tired and down from the day's stress. It's difficult to balance school and basketball around finals and having that break really helped us get on track.”