Louisville figures to attack Kentucky freshman Marquis Teague with pressure. Teague struggled against the Cardinals in the regular-season meeting, fouling out with four points and four turnovers. The Indianapolis product has played well in the NCAA Tournament (14.5 ppg, 5.25 assists).
Louisville's Peyton Siva has turned it up as a distributor in the post-season. The 6-foot junior averages 5.6 assists on the season, but is at 7.0 assists per game in the NCAA Tournament. What Siva has yet to do in his U of L career is play well against Kentucky. In three prior matchups with the Cats, Siva is 4-for-23 from the floor with eight assists and seven turnovers.
Doron Lamb did not have his "A" game against Baylor, missing five free throws. But he still had 14 points and is UK's leading scorer in the NCAA Tournament (16.8 points per game). The 6-4 sophomore should have confidence on the Final Four stage: He hit three of five three-pointers and scored 13 points in Kentucky's national semifinals loss to Connecticut in 2011.
Louisville's Chris Smith has yet to score in double figures in the NCAA Tournament and has done so only once in U of L's last nine games. In the first game against Kentucky, Smith had three steals but hit only two of 10 shots.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was a force in Atlanta, hitting Indiana for 24 points and 10 rebounds and then blitzing Baylor with a 17-point outburst in the first half (19 points for the game). MKG destroyed Louisville in the first game with 24 points and 19 rebounds. Look for U of L to try to force him to shoot from the perimeter and draw charges on Kidd-Gilchrist if he tries to drive.
Senior Kyle Kuric is Louisville's leading scorer on the season (12.7 points a game, 32.8 percent three-point shooter) but has struggled in the Big Dance (5-for-21 on three-pointers). The 6-4 swingman was a non-factor in the first UK game, hitting one of four shots and grabbing two rebounds.
Terrence Jones has been strong in the NCAA Tournament (13.5 ppg and 8.8 rebounds per game). In the first half of the South Regional finals against Baylor, the 6-8, 244-pound sophomore scored one point yet had a huge impact on the game with five rebounds, six assists, three blocks and three steals (he finished with 12 points and nine boards).
Louisville freshman Chane Behanan has taken a giant step forward in the NCAA Tournament. The 6-7, 250-pound Bowling Green High School product is averaging a team-best 14 points per game and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 23-for-36 in the Big Dance. Behanan scored nine of U of L's 18 points in a game-ending 18-3 run that allowed the Cards to erase an 11-point Florida lead and make the Final Four.
Will Kentucky game-changer Anthony Davis be 100 percent after banging knees with Baylor's Perry Jones III in the South Regional finals? The UK star had 18 points (12-for-13 foul shooting), 10 rebounds and six blocks in Kentucky's New Year's Eve victory over U of L.
Louisville's Gorgui Dieng has struggled offensively in the NCAA Tournament (11-for-26 shooting) but has been a force defensively (13 blocks) and on the glass (8.0 rpg). The length of the 6-11 Dieng bothered UK in Rupp Arena, where he blocked six shots.
Kentucky senior Darius Miller has been scalding in the NCAA Tournament — 17-for-29 on field goals, 5-for-10 on three-pointers, 13-for-14 on foul shots. The Mason County product did not fare well against Louisville's physical defense in December (2-for-8 shooting, eight turnovers). Freshman Kyle Wiltjer has hit a three-pointer in UK's last three tourney wins and his outside shooting could be needed against U of L's zone defense.
Louisville sixth man Russ Smith lit up the Cats for 30 points in Rupp. The 6-foot sophomore is streaky — he shot 1-for-13 in the last two games of the Big East Tournament but has a combined 47 points in Louisville's past three NCAA games. Forward Jared Swopshire is averaging 3 ppg, 2 rpg in the NCAA Tournament. True freshman Wayne Blackshear has only three points to show for four NCAA games, but he is talented.
As a term, Armageddon may not be hyperbolic enough to describe the magnitude inside the commonwealth of UK vs. U of L in the Final Four. Which team best handles the nerves and hype? With three key players back from a 2011 NCAA semifinalist, UK should be the answer.
U of L's Rick Pitino is 4-0 in post-season tournament games against John Calipari-coached teams. There's pressure on both sides in this one, but with Kentucky the prohibitive favorite to win the national title, more of the heat is on the Cats.
30-9, 10-8 Big East
|Player||FG Pct.||3pt Pct.||FT Pct.||RPG||APG||TO||Blks.||S||PPG|
|Nov. 11||Ut-martin||W, 83-48|
|Nov. 13||lamar||W, 68-48|
|Nov. 19||at Butler||W, 69-53|
|Nov. 22||ARKANSAS STATE||W, 54-27|
|Nov. 25||OHIO||W, 59-54|
|Nov. 28||LONG BEACH STATE||W, 79-66|
|Dec. 2||VANDERBILT||W, 62-60 (OT)|
|Dec. 7||IUPUI||W, 90-60|
|Dec. 10||FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON||W, 80-58|
|Dec. 17||MEMPHIS||W, 95-87|
|Dec. 20||CLLG OF CHARLESTON||W, 69-62|
|Dec. 23||wESTERN KENTUCKY||W, 70-60|
|Dec. 28||GEORGETOWN||L, 68-71|
|Dec. 31||at Kentucky||L, 62-69|
|Jan. 3||at St. John's||W, 73-58|
|Jan. 7||NOTRE DAME||L, 65-67 (OT)|
|Jan. 10||at Providence||L, 59-90|
|Jan. 14||DEPAUL||W, 76-59|
|Jan. 16||at Marquette||L, 63-74|
|Jan. 21||at Pitt||W, 73-62|
|Jan. 25||VILLANOVA||W, 84-74|
|Jan. 28||at Seton Hall||W, 60-51|
|Feb. 4||RUTGERS||W, 78-66|
|Feb. 6||CONNECTICUT||W, 80-59|
|Feb. 11||at West Virginia||W, 77-74|
|Feb. 13||SYRACUSE L, 51-52|
|Feb. 18||at Depaul||W, 90-82 (OT)|
|Feb. 23||at Cincinnati||L, 56-60|
|Feb. 26||PITTSBURGH||W, 57-54|
|Feb. 29||SOUTH FLORIDA||L, 51-58|
|March 3||at Syracuse||L, 49-58|
|March 7||a-Seton Hall||W, 61-55|
|March 8||a-Marquette||W, 84-71|
|March 9||a-Notre Dame||W, 64-50|
|March 10 a-Cincinnati||W, 50-44|
|March 15 b-Davidson||W, 69-62|
|March 17 b-New Mexico||W, 59-56|
|March 22 c-Michigan State||W, 57-44|
|March 24 c-Florida||W, 72-68|
|a-Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden; b-NCAA Tournament at Portland, Ore.; c-NCAA Tournament at Phoenix; d-NCAA Tournament at New Orleans|
36-2, 16-0 SEC
|Coach: John Calipari|
|1 Darius Miller||G||6-8||235||Sr.||Maysville|
|3 Terrence Jones||F||6-9||252||So.||Portland, Ore.|
|4 Jon Hood||G||6-7||215||Jr.||Madisonville|
|5 Jarrod Polson||G||6-2||185||So.||Nicholasville|
|10 Twany Beckham||G||6-5||205||Jr.||Louisville|
|13 Sam Malone||G||5-11||190||Fr.||Scituate, Mass.|
|14 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||F||6-7||232||Fr.||Somerdale, N.J.|
|20 Doron Lamb||G||6-4||210||So.||Queens, N.Y.|
|23 Anthony Davis||F||6-10||220||Fr.||Chicago|
|25 Marquis Teague||G||6-2||189||Fr.||Indianapolis|
|30 Eloy Vargas||F||6-11||244||Sr.||Moca, Dominican Rep.|
|32 Brian Long||G||5-9||150||Fr.||Dumont, N.J.|
|33 Kyle Wiltjer||F||6-9||239||Fr.||Portland, Ore.|
|Player||FG Pct.||3pt Pct.||FT Pct.||RPG||APG||TO||Blks.||S||PPG|
|Nov. 11||MARIST||W, 108-58|
|Nov. 15||a-Kansas||W, 75-65|
|Nov. 19||b-Penn State||W, 87-45|
|Nov. 20||b-Old Dominion||W, 62-52|
|Nov. 23||RADFORD||W, 88-40|
|Nov. 26||PORTLAND||W, 87-63|
|Dec. 1||ST. JOHN'S||W, 81-59|
|Dec. 3||NORTH CAROLINA||W, 73-72|
|Dec. 10||at Indiana||L, 73-72|
|Dec. 17||TENN.-CHATTANOOGA||W, 87-62|
|Dec. 20||SAMFORD||W, 82-50|
|Dec. 22||LOYOLA (MD.)||W, 87-63|
|Dec. 28||LAMAR||W, 86-64|
|Dec. 31||LOUISVILLE||W, 69-62|
|Jan. 3||c-Ark.-Little Rock||W, 73-52|
|Jan. 7||SOUTH CAROLINA||W, 79-64|
|Jan. 11||at Auburn||W, 68-53|
|Jan. 14||at Tennessee||W, 65-62|
|Jan. 17||ARKANSAS||W, 86-63|
|Jan. 21||ALABAMA||W, 77-71|
|Jan. 24||at Georgia||W, 57-44|
|Jan. 28||at Louisiana St.||W, 74-50|
|Jan. 31||TENNESSEE||W, 69-44|
|Feb. 4||at South Carolina||W, 86-52|
|Feb. 7||FLORIDA||W, 78-58|
|Feb. 11||at Vanderbilt||W, 69-63|
|Feb. 18||MISSISSIPPI||W, 77-62|
|Feb. 21||at Mississippi State||W, 73-64|
|Feb. 25||VANDERBILT||W, 83-74|
|March 1||GEORGIA||W, 79-49|
|March 4||at Florida||W, 74-59|
|March 9||d-LSU||W, 60-51|
|March 10||d-Florida||W, 74-71|
|March 11||d-Vanderbilt||L, 71-64|
|March 15||e-Western Kentucky||W, 81-66|
|March 17||e-Iowa State||W, 87-71|
|March 23||f-Indiana||W, 102-90|
|March 25||f-Baylor||W, 82-70|
|a-at Madison Square Garden, N.Y.; b-at «Uncasville, Conn.; c-at Freedom Hall, Louisville; d-SEC Tournament at New Orleans; e-NCAA Tournament at Louisville; f-NCAA Tournament at Atlanta; g-NCAA Tournament at New Orleans|