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Battle for the Bluegrass preview: Louisville and Kentucky set to meet for 50th time

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports


Game Time: 7:04 p.m.

Location: KFC Yum Center: Louisville, Ky.

Television: ESPN

Announcers: Dan Schulman (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst), and Maria Taylor (reporter)

Officials: James Luckie, Roger Ayers, Ron Groover

Favorite: Kentucky by 1

All-Time Series: Kentucky leads 34-15

Last Meeting: Kentucky won 75-73 on Dec. 26, 2015 in Lexington

Series History:

Probable Starting Lineups:


Relevant Videos:

About Kentucky:

Again one of the most talented teams in college basketball, Kentucky enters Wednesday night's rivalry game against still Louisville still floating from the high of its 103-100 win over North Carolina Saturday night in Las Vegas. The sixth-ranked Wildcats are among the top five nationally in scoring (3rd in the nation, 95.2 ppg), assists (4th, 19.9 apg), scoring margin (4th, +23.5), offensive rebounds (5th, 15.7 per game), and blocked shots (5th, 7.1 bpg).

Kentucky is led by its high-powered freshman backcourt of Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox. Monk, who scored a UK freshman record 47 points in the win over UNC, leads the team at 21.9 ppg. Fox and sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe are both chipping in 15.9 ppg, while Fox also ranks eighth in the nation in assists at 7.2 per game. Freshman big man Bam Adebayo is the team's other double figure scorer, averaging 12.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.

Despite playing at the ninth-fastest pace of any team in Division-I, Kentucky still manages to have the fifth-most efficient offensive attack of any team in the country. They've scored 85 points are more in all but one of their 11 games, and have cracked the 100-point mark four times.

Also of note is the fact that they're tacky and we hate them.


--Louisville has a 30-4 record during the month of December over the last four years, winning 18 of its last 21 in the month.

--Louisville has won 53 of its last 54 non-conference games at the KFC Yum Center.

--This will be the sixth time that Kentucky and Louisville have played with both being ranked in the top 10. Louisville is 0-5 in those games.

--U of L sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell leads the ACC and is 14th in the nation in steals (2.5 per game).

--Kentucky freshman point guard De'Aaron Fox ranks eighth in the nation in assists at 7.2 per game.

--Louisville head coach Rick Pitino once held the same position at Kentucky. People forget that.

--Louisville leads the nation in Ken Pomeroy's adjusted defensive efficiency through Dec. 18. The Cardinals are fifth in the nation in field goal percentage defense (.359), 11th in scoring defense (59.4 ppg), fourth in blocked shots (7.2 per game), 22nd in three-point field goal defense (.287), 24th in turnover margin (+4.6), 11th in rebound margin (+9.3), fifth in rebounds per game (45.0), third in offensive rebounds per game (16.1) and 15th in scoring margin (+19.1).

--Kentucky is 2-5 under John Calipari when playing its first true road game of a season. They are, however, 1-0 when that first true road game has been at Louisville.

--Louisville has not defeated a ranked Kentucky team since it topped No. 1 UK in Lexington back in 2003. Kentucky has defeated nine ranked Cardinal squads since then.

--Kentucky averages 95.2 points per game and has scored fewer than 85 just once. Louisville has now allowed more than 71 points in a game all season.

--Since 2012, Louisville and Kentucky are a combined 31-6 in the NCAA Tournament with six Final Four appearances and two national championships. Two of those losses came when the Cardinals fell to the Wildcats.

--Louisville is 10-13 all-time when playing teams ranked No. 6 in the current AP Poll.

--Eight of Louisville's 11 opponents this season have shot below 36 percent from the field and four have shot below 32 percent.

--Louisville is one of just four schools which have won 20 or more games in each of the last 14 seasons (also Kansas, Duke and Gonzaga).

--Louisville has opened with an 11-1 record each of the last four seasons.

Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Louisville 80, Kentucky 78