UK Men's Basketball

Kentucky's opponents this week

John Calipari, left, greeted Rick Pitino before Kentucky beat Louisville 71-62 on Jan. 2, 2010, in Rupp Arena. Since coming to UK, Calipari has won both matchups with Pitino.
John Calipari, left, greeted Rick Pitino before Kentucky beat Louisville 71-62 on Jan. 2, 2010, in Rupp Arena. Since coming to UK, Calipari has won both matchups with Pitino.

Lamar Cardinals

Wednesday

Rupp Arena

(8:30 p.m., ESPNU)

About the opponent

Location: Beaumont, Texas

Enrollment: 14,388

School colors: Red and White

Conference: Southland

Coach: Pat Knight

2011-12 record: 8-4 overall, 0-0 Southland Conference

2010-11 record: 13-17 overall, 7-9 Southland Conference

All time vs. UK: 0-2

Last meeting: Kentucky won 103-61 on Dec. 3, 2008, in Rupp Arena.

Outlook: Knight, the son of Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight, found his way to Lamar less than a month after being let go by Texas Tech. He faced a major rebuilding job at a school that hasn't won a league title since the program's glory days in the early 1980s. Knight is off to a winning start despite having to suspend star guard Mike James for three games, but he has been humbled in big losses to Louisville (68-48) and Ohio State (70-50). The Cardinals have lost 21 in a row to nationally ranked opponents, but Knight told the Beaumont Enterprise that he plans to continue playing them. "I think eventually if the program keeps playing games like that, you need to start winning some of these games," he said. "These kids want to play them. That's the thing: They're not like, 'Coach, what are we doing?' They were telling me these are teams they want to play." Anthony Miles (15.1 ppg), James (13.3), Charlie Harper (11.0) and Devon Lamb (10.8) score in double figures for the well-balanced Cardinals.

Louisville Cardinals

saturday

Rupp Arena

(Noon, CBS-27)

About the opponent

Location: Louisville

Enrollment: 22,000

School colors: Red and Black

Conference: Big East

Coach: Rick Pitino

2011-12 record: 12-0 overall, 0-0 Big East Conference

2010-11 record: 25-10 overall, 12-6 Big East Conference

All time vs. UK: 14-28

Last meeting: Kentucky won 78-63, on Dec. 31, 2010, in Louisville.

Outlook: It will be argued, but probably should not be within the commonwealth, that Saturday's 43rd meeting with archrival Kentucky is Louisville's second-most important game this week. That's because the Cardinals play host to No. 16 Georgetown in their Big East Conference opener Wednesday night. From that point, though, the hype will hit overdrive as No. 4 Louisville prepares to take on No. 3 Kentucky in the schools' first meeting as top-five opponents. The Cardinals will enter Rupp Arena having played 11 of their 12 games at home in the KFC Yum Center. Louisville has appeared shaky in recent wins over the College of Charleston and Western Kentucky, but it has also shown toughness in victories over Vanderbilt and Memphis. Gorgui Dieng, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, is developing into a force in the middle (10.8 points, 10.2 rebounds per game). Kyle Kuric (13.3 ppg), Russ Smith (10.5) and Chris Smith (10.4) are Louisville's other top scorers, but the Cats will also need to contain playmaker Peyton Siva (9.0 points, 6.4 assists per game).

  Comments