Notes

Kentucky-Louisville notes: Miller a key factor for Cats

jtipton@herald-leader.comDecember 31, 2011 

Barely 10 days ago, Kentucky senior Darius Miller acknowledged how he needed to improve his perimeter shooting. And he has.

Miller, who is 12 points shy of 1,000 for his career, has made seven of 15 three-point shots in the last three games. That accuracy faded the memory of his 8-for-33 shooting (24.2 percent) in the Cats' first 10 games.

When asked about his three-point shot Friday, Miller said, "I feel it's fine. I'm confident in my shot. I believe I'll continue to knock it down."

No doubt, UK Coach John Calipari would welcome continuing good shooting by Miller. He noted how Miller took the initiative at Louisville last season, especially when UK needed a first-half boost.

"He was pretty aggressive against them last year," Calipari said. "As a matter of fact, he was probably the difference in the game."

Miller had seven points and three rebounds.

"Darius really did some things when we needed baskets, and were dying," Calipari said.

In his three seasons as Kentucky coach, Calipari has repeatedly called on Miller to be more dominant. After UK beat Lamar, he called for Miller to be more aggressive defensively.

"If you're getting pushed and shoved, it's hard to be aggressive offensively, it really is," Calipari said. "You don't want the ball. You're in a deer-in-the-headlights look."

Calipari hit on the same theme Friday.

"I want Darius to play well," Calipari said. "I want him to look like an aggressive, hard-nosed skilled player with size. When I don't see it, I get mad."

Dubious Darius

U of L Coach Rick Pitino has said that UK is better than the Cardinals.

"We can't buy into any of that," Miller said. "We know they're just as athletic. We know they're a really good team, too. We can't come in thinking we're more athletic or a better team. We have to come in and play, because we know they'll do the same."

Party time

Freshman Anthony Davis said he was aware that Calipari and Pitino supposedly do not like each other. Davis said he wasn't sure whether to take such talk seriously or see it as an attempt at humor.

"That they hate each other," he said. "One always goes out and parties when the other loses."

Rare air

After UK beat Lamar, Calipari lamented that Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist aren't getting more rebounding help from teammates.

Davis defended those teammates.

"Other guys start to get rebounds," he said. "I usually take it from them. It's just hard to get a rebound from a 6-10 guy."

Demanding shots

Five teammates have taken more shots than Davis, who leads UK in rebounding and blocks. After the victory over Lamar, Calipari saluted Davis for not demanding more shots.

When asked if he wants more shooting opportunities, Davis said, "Not at all. When I'm open, I try to demand the ball. ... I don't really care about points."

GPA

U of L outperformed UK in the classroom during the fall semester of 2011.

The Cardinals had a team grade-point average of 3.16. Fourteen of the 17 players had a 3.0 or better. UK's team grade-point average was 2.7.

In its media notes, U of L pointed out that it won the Big East Conference Team Academic Excellence Award, which signified the highest GPA for any of the league's men's basketball teams.

Etc.

■ UK's 43 straight home victories mark the nation's longest active streak. Duke has 42 straight home victories after beating Western Michigan on Friday night.

■ Ian Eagle and Clark Kellogg will call the game for CBS.

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