University of Louisville

Mark Story: UK-U of L likely to be Basketbrawl, part two

Fast-break points for the countdown to Armageddon:

21. Last year's Kentucky-Louisville men's basketball game. The coaches seemed to have the players more primed to brawl than ball. There was a malevolent air that did not do credit to basketball in our state.

Here's why I expect something similar Friday.

20. Kentucky's playing rotation. UK is basically a six-man team with all its top six players playing 24 minutes or more a game, and five playing 28 minutes or more.

19. Louisville's playing rotation. Not including Monday night's meeting with Morgan State, Louisville had 10 players averaging at least 10 minutes a game and only one player (Preston Knowles at 25.4) playing more than 23 a contest.

18. Cardinals strategic advantage. If U of L can turn Friday's game into a war of attrition, get UK's main players in foul trouble — or even provoke a key Cat into losing his cool and getting tossed — then the Blue would figure to be doomed.

17. Perry Stevenson. A year ago, Stevenson played only 7.6 minutes a game on a loaded Kentucky roster. It's hindsight, but if UK had redshirted the 6-foot-9 forward he could have really helped in 2010-11.

16. First UK-U of L game in the KFC Yum Center. It was amazing how much blue there would be in the stands in Freedom Hall for Kentucky-Louisville games. Can Cat fans can create a similar presence in The Ville's new crib?

15. First UK-U of L game in Rupp Arena. Nov. 26, 1983: Sam Bowie's return after two years missed to leg injuries yielded no points but 10 rebounds, five blocks and five assists, and it ignited a 65-44 Kentucky blowout.

14. First UK-U of L game in Freedom Hall. Dec. 15, 1984: Billy Thompson's stellar all-around play (17 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks) helped the Cardinals stave off Kenny Walker's 32 points and 15 rebounds in a 71-64 Louisville victory.

13. Chris Smith. I had never heard of Smith until he entered the game for Louisville in its season opener against Butler. The transfer from Manhattan College and younger brother of the NBA's J.R. Smith has been a find, scoring in double figures six times in the Cards' first 11 games.

12. Terrence Jones. With a noon tip Friday, has the UK freshman forward absorbed the lesson of North Carolina and thus will skip the pre-game nap?

11. Modern Kentucky coaches vs. U of L. Joe B. Hall 2-2; Eddie Sutton 3-1; Rick Pitino 6-2; Tubby Smith 6-4; Billy Gillispie 0-2; John Calipari 1-0.

10. Modern Louisville coaches vs. UK. Denny Crum 7-13; Rick Pitino 4-5.

9. 2004-05 UK-U of L game. Patrick Sparks of Central City scored 25 points in a 60-58 Kentucky victory.

8. 2005-06 UK-U of L game. Louisville product Rajon Rondo had 25 points and seven assists to lead UK's 73-61 win.

7. No reason to be 'Kentucky proud' since. In the four renewals of our state's signature college basketball series since Rondo turned pro, only one Kentucky high school product has even scored a field goal — and ex-Clark County star Preston Knowles of Louisville is only 3-for-16 from the field against UK in his career.

6. Darius Miller. The ex-Mason County star has taken only two shots combined in two games for the Cats against U of L and has yet to make a field goal.

5. Tom Jurich coaching hires. In the three most visible sports, coaches hired by the Louisville athletics director are 19-14 against Kentucky — 7-6 in football; 4-5 in men's basketball; 8-3 in women's basketball.

4. Mitch Barnhart coaching hires. In the three most visible sports, coaches hired by the UK AD are 7-12 against Louisville — 4-4 in football; 1-2 in men's basketball; 2-6 in women's basketball.

3. Marquis Teague. The UK-U of L series never lacks for venom but this year's recruitment of the Indiana high school point guard star — which saw Kentucky sign a player long thought to be headed for Louisville — gives the current renewal extra loathing.

2. John Calipari. Giving UK fans a victory over Louisville in the Cats' first appearance in the Cards' brand new arena would bank a lot of goodwill for the coach.

1. Rick Pitino. For a variety of reasons — the relative mediocrity of last season's U of L team; the Teague recruiting loss; his off-the-court drama — the Louisville coach needs this year's game more.

My guess is he'll get it: Louisville 77, Kentucky 74.

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