UK-UofL notes: Point guard no position to play it safe

jtipton@herald-leader.combroberts@herald-leader.comDecember 28, 2012 

  • Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky

    When: 7 p.m. Saturday
    Where: LP Field in Nashville
    TV: ESPNews
    Radio: WBUL-FM 98.1; WLAP-AM 630; WWRW-FM 105.5

From a point guard's perspective, CBS analyst Greg Anthony said that too much can be made of the minuscule number of turnovers committed by Kentucky guard Ryan Harrow.

Harrow, whose improvement lately coincided with UK's improved play, averages less than a turnover a game (five in 147 minutes).

"It's not about your stats," Anthony said. "It's about your impact.

"Does the team function better because of you? Do they play harder for you because they know you play hard for them?"

Anthony played point guard for UNLV's national championship team of 1990. He's working the Kentucky-Louisville game as an analyst for the CBS telecast.

Speaking generically and not specifically about Harrow, Anthony said that too few turnovers can indicate too little assertiveness. A correct pass not made can lead to a turnover. Sometimes a turnover on a pass early in a game is good because it shows teammates you're looking for them.

"To me, stats are relative," said Anthony, who noted the improvement he's seen in Harrow in recent games. "... Assist-to-turnover is a stat we've hung onto a little too much. Two-to-one (ratio). What does that mean? So what?"

Dieng returns

Big man Gorgui Dieng returns from a broken left wrist. He was averaging 8.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and two blocks when he got hurt against Missouri on Nov. 23.

On a possible Dieng matchup with Nerlens Noel, UK Coach John Calipari said, "We're going to find out where we are at a lot of positions, and where we have to go."

Anthony noted how Dieng's presence near the basket allows U of L to extend its perimeter defense.

Defending Siva

When asked about defending U of L point guard Peyton Siva, Calipari said, "You're trying to make the game difficult. ... If he's drawing fouls or creating fouls with passes you have to help (on defense), you've got a problem. He's good at that."

In Calipari's first three seasons as UK coach, U of L point guards shot a combined 11-for-45 (1-for-14 from three-point range), averaged 4.3 free throw attempts, got credited for 13 assists and committed 16 turnovers.

Siva has made eight of 34 shots (one of 10 from beyond the arc) against UK.

Pitino on UK

"If we're not playing Kentucky, I root for Kentucky," U of L Coach Rick Pitino said. "I coached at Kentucky. They were nice enough to put my name in the rafters there. So I root for them all the time. I wanted them to win the championship. I was very happy. (Calipari) paid his dues. He's given a lot of time and energy to this game and I'm glad he won the championship."

Of UK and its fans, Pitino said, "I don't get into the bitterness of it. I don't denigrate Kentucky in any way."

They're everywhere

UK fans made their presence known in the KFC Yum Center when the Cats won 78-63 there two years ago.

"It really upset our AD," Pitino said. "Really bothered him. It didn't bother me, because they get in everywhere. If there was a game in Italy, they'd be there. It's part of their doctrine. They have to go.

"They infiltrate our arena. We don't infiltrate their arena. If a Kentucky fan gives their ticket away to a Louisville fan, they feel — whether they're Catholic, Christian, Jewish — that they go to hell. So, it's different."

They're nice

U of L forward Wayne Blackshear on his interaction with UK fans.

"Honestly, when I meet Kentucky fans, they're very nice to me," he said. "They say they like my game and like the way I play. That was surprising."

Single-minded Cal

Calipari said he had a single-minded approach to this game, past games this season and upcoming games: His team's improvement. He's not concerned with the Southeastern Conference or any other league's performance.

When asked about the victory over Louisville improving UK's résumé for the 2013 NCAA Tournament, Calipari said, "I'm not worried about that. Are you kidding me? I'm worried about let's get better. If we get better, that'll all take care of itself."

Men at work

■ The referees assigned to the game are John Cahill, Ed Corbett and Doug Shows.

■ The CBS announcers for the telecast are Tim Brando, Clark Kellogg and Greg Anthony.

Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog:

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