Louisville Cardinals (10-2) At No. 16 Kentucky Wildcats (9-2)
Game Time: 1:06 p.m.
Location: Rupp Arena: Lexington, Ky.
Announcers: Spero Dedes (play-by-play) and Bill Raftery (analyst)
Officials: Don Daily, Pat Adams, Joe Lindsay
Favorite: Kentucky by 5.5
Series: Kentucky leads, 34-16
Last Meeting: Louisville won 73-70 on Dec. 21, 2016 in Louisville
Probable Starting Lineups:
Again one of the youngest but most talented teams in college basketball, Kentucky enters Friday’s rivalry game coming off a surprising 83-75 loss to UCLA in New Orleans last weekend. The Wildcats’ only other loss is a 65-61 neutral court decision against Kansas back on Nov. 14.
As is the case in most seasons, Kentucky’s size and athleticism will challenge Louisville inside. The Wildcats are 18th in the nation in blocked shots (6.0 per game), 32nd in field goal percentage (.495), and 40th in rebound margin (+6.7). They’re also tacky and we hate them.
Kentucky typically starts five freshmen and is led in scoring by versatile 6’9 forward Kevin Knox (15.7 ppg). The similarly gifted Hamidou Diallo chips in 15.5 ppg, while point guard Quade Green is posting averages of 10.2 points and 3.5 assists per game.
—Louisville is second in the nation in blocked shots (8.4 bpg) and ranks 13th in field goal percentage defense (.376) and 37th in scoring defense (64.6 ppg).
—In winning its last six games, UofL has shot a combined 47 percent from the field, including 38.7 percent from the three-point line (53-of137), and blocked an average of 9.5 shots.
—Kentucky is 39-8 in bounce back games following a loss under Calipari. UK has never lost three in a row with Calipari at the helm.
—Friday's Louisville-Kentucky game will be the eighth time the schools have met with Louisville coming off a win and Kentucky coming off a loss. Louisville is 4-3 in the previous seven games.
—Louisville has a 37-6 record during the month of December over the last six years.
—Kentucky is scoring 60.8 percent of its points from two-point field goals. That’s the second-highest mark in the country. A mere 19.6 percent of its points come from behind the arc, ranked 348 out of 351 teams, according to Ken Pomeroy.
—UK sophomore Wenyen Gabriel is the only Wildcat who has played in a game against Louisville. He had two points and seven rebounds in 12 minutes last season.
—Louisville is one of just four schools which have won 20 or more games in each of the last 15 seasons (also Kansas, Duke and Gonzaga).
—This will be the first time since the 2009-10 season that Louisville has faced Kentucky while unranked.
—As a player at Louisville, David Padgett averaged 12.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and made 73.3 percent of his field goals (11-of-15) in three games against Kentucky.
—Louisville has an 18-15 record all-time in games played on Dec. 29, winning six of its last seven on that date. Included in that span is a 2012 win over Kentucky.
Ken Pomeroy Prediction: Kentucky 75, Louisville 70