LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (11-1) At KENTUCKY WILDCATS (9-2)
Game Time: 12:06 p.m.
Location: Rupp Arena: Lexington, Ky.
Announcers: Tom McCarthy (play-by-play), Bill Raftery (analyst), Dana Jacobson (sideline)
Officials: Doug Shows, Mike Roberts, Pat Adams
Favorite: Kentucky by 2.5
All-Time Series: Kentucky leads 33-15
Last Meeting: Kentucky won 58-50 on Dec. 27, 2014 at the Yum Center
Probable Starting Lineups:
No. 11 Kentucky has won 27 straight home games and is 61-1 against non-conference opponents in Rupp Arena in Coach John Calipari's seven seasons there. Over that same period, the Wildcats have lost just four home games, period.
Losses to UCLA and Ohio State have somewhat humbled UK, but they've also highlighted Kentucky's troubles on offense. Texas-Arlington (1.06 points per possession) outplayed Kentucky (0.97 PPP) in their respective matchups against Ohio State, and the Mavericks faced the Buckeyes on the road. The Wildcats have made 31.3 percent of their 2-point jump shots and 29.7 percent of their 3-pointers, per hoop-math.com. Without a true back-to-the-basket offensive threat in the paint, Kentucky can't play through the post the way it could with Julius Randle and Karl Anthony-Towns.
What the Wildcats do have is one of the most talented backcourts in the country with Tyler Ulis, Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe. Murray leads the team in scoring at 17.1 ppg and is the first player in the history of Kentucky basketball to hit at least one 3-pointer in each of his first 11 college games. Ulis, who was a difference-maker in the game against Louisville last season, has dished out five or more assists in seven of the 10 games he's appeared in this season. Briscoe averages 11.5 ppg while also leading the team in steals, ranking second in assists and third in rebounds.
Kentucky has won seven of its last eight games against Louisville.
--Louisville has an all-time 10-5 record vs. teams ranked No. 12 in the AP poll, winning seven of those last 10.
--Louisville has won six consecutive games by at least 20 points for the first time in school history.
--Kentucky has won 27 consecutive games at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats are 61-1 against non-conference opponents during John Calipari's seven seasons in Lexington.
--Louisville has made more than 50% of its field goals in 9 of 12 games this season after accomplishing that in 4 of 36 games last season.
--There is an old urban legend that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino once coached at Kentucky, but historians have yet to confirm or deny this tale.
--Louisville junior forward Mangok Mathiang is out 6-8 weeks with a broken bone in his foot.
--UofL leads in the nation in scoring margin (+30.2), is second in rebounding margin (+14.9) and scoring defense (55.9), and is fifth in field goal percentage defense (.352).
--UK has won 13 straight home games by at least 11 points, the longest such streak since a 27-game stretch from 1995-97.
--Louisville is 26-3 in the month of December over the last four years.
--Under John Calipari, UK is 109-4 (.965) in Rupp Arena.
--Damion Lee has been the Cardinals' top scorer in eight of 10 games this season. He is among the ACC leaders in scoring (18.3, 4th), steals (1.7, 3rd) and free throw percentage (.872, 4th).
--Louisville has opened with an 11-1 record in each of the last three seasons.
--Since John Calipari took over the program in 2009-10, no one in the country has had more wins than Kentucky and only Duke has a better winning percentage. UK is 199-40 during that time span.
--Louisville is sixth in the nation in field goal percentage (.519). UofL has shot above 50 percent in nine of its 12 games. The Cards shot 50 percent or above on eight occasions all last season. UofL is 13th nationally in scoring (86.1 ppg).
--Since 2012, Louisville and Kentucky are a combined 30-5 in the NCAA Tournament with five Final Four appearances and two national championships. Two of those losses came when the Cardinals fell to the Wildcats.
--Louisville's 134 victories over the last five years are the second-most wins in the nation in that stretch. Louisville and Wichita State are the only schools in the nation to win 30 games in three of the last four seasons, including a school-record 35 victories amassed by Louisville's 2012-13 NCAA Championship team.
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Kentucky 71, Louisville 70