notes

UK fan turnout at Yum Center impresses Calipari, Cats

jtipton@herald-leader.comJanuary 3, 2011 

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Louisville Coach Rick Pitino said, "This will be one of the more difficult schedules we have faced at Louisville."

JONATHAN PALMER

Kentucky players and Coach John Calipari expressed surprise Sunday at the number of Kentucky fans who could be heard cheering down the stretch of Friday's victory at Louisville.

"I didn't think I'd see any," Darius Miller said. "We still have pretty good support. But that was kind of impressive, especially with the rivalry."

After the game, there was talk of U of L officials trying to identify which Louisville season-ticket holders might have sold their tickets to UK fans. U of L spokesman Kenny Klein said he was unaware of "anything specifically" related to the athletics department trying to identify Cardinal fans selling tickets to Kentucky supporters.

Klein said Vice President for Athletics Tom Jurich was out of town and unavailable for comment.

"I heard the CIA is involved," Calipari quipped.

Former Louisville athletics director Bill Olsen said when he headed the program, he received complaints from Cardinal fans about tickets being sold to UK supporters. He said, at the time, he did not keep a list of U of L fans who sold their tickets to the game against Kentucky.

"I didn't like it," Olsen said. "My preference was to have 100 percent Cardinal fans there. And I don't want to put Tom Jurich on the spot. I don't know what could be done about it.

"My question is how do you control it? Do you want to turn away corporate support or loyal fan support? And then struggle to replace them."

Of the UK fans in attendance at the end of the game, Calipari said, "Wasn't that amazing?"

The UK coach said he didn't realize how many Kentucky fans were in the KFC Yum Center until the late stages of the game.

"I didn't realize it till everybody knew we were winning the game and their fans hit the doors," said Calipari, who estimated that as many as 3,000 UK fans were in the building. "Maybe more."

Calipari suggested that U of L fans should be happy with UK if the Wildcat fans paid top prices for one-game tickets.

" 'I can watch it on CBS (and) my whole season is paid for,' " he said a U of L fan could say. " 'I'll watch the Big East games.' "

Calipari and Pitino

Calipari pulled out the needle when told that U of L Coach Rick Pitino said after Friday's game that UK was a more difficult team to defend this season.

"I thought he said, 'Very well coached,' " Calipari said. "Did he say that?"

Calipari conceded that this season's UK team could shoot better. "This team at times executes and listens better than that team. But that team was as talented as any team I've ever coached."

Calipari noted how his UMass team of 1995-96 had one star, Marcus Camby, yet managed to beat a star-studded UK team Pitino guided to a national championship.

"Let's hope this turns into the best team I've ever coached," he said.

Trap game?

Coming between the good-versus-evil rivalry with Louisville and the Southeastern Conference opener at Georgia, Penn seems to fit the profile of an opponent that could surprise an unsuspecting Kentucky team.

"This team hasn't been that way, so I'd say not," Calipari said of UK facing a so-called "trap game." "But it's a team that can beat us if we don't show up. ...

"We've been a team that has shown up every game. Or at least tried. In Hawaii (against Connecticut), we ran out of gas playing six guys. Other games, we've shown up with a sense of urgency."

Corrections

Josh Harrellson's three-pointer at Louisville was his second of the season. He made one against Washington. ... Calipari noted after the Louisville game that he had experience coaching what amounted to a six-man team. That was in 1995 for Massachusetts.

Etc.

UK will be Penn's third ranked opponent. Earlier this season, the Quakers lost at No. 5 Pittsburgh 82-58 and at No. 12 Villanova 65-53. ... In a pre-season media poll, Penn was picked to finish fourth in the Ivy League. ... Guard Zack Rosen has scored 10 or more points in 24 straight games dating back to last season. ... Earlier this season, forward Jack Eggleston became the 35th Penn player to score 1,000 points in a career. ... Rob Stone and Jay Williams will call the game for ESPNU.

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