How Kentucky and Louisville match up for Saturday's game in the KFC Yum Center:
■ Kentucky platoon one point guard Andrew Harrison had eight points and eight assists in the demolition of UCLA. However, he has made only five of 24 shots in the last three games. Platoon two point guard Tyler Ulis comes off a stellar all-around effort vs. UCLA (seven points, seven rebounds, six assists), but the 5-foot-9 freshman will face Rick Pitino's vaunted pressure defense for the first time.
■ Louisville point guard Chris Jones torched Indiana for 24 points, but has made only eight of 28 field goals in the three games since. Over his last six games, Jones has an assist-turnover ratio of 16-17. Jones scored 18 points against UK in Rupp Arena last year but had only six against the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
■ Kentucky platoon one shooting guard Aaron Harrison suffered through a six-game stretch of 6-for-29 three-point shooting, but has bounced back to make six of 15 treys combined against North Carolina and UCLA. The 6-foot-6 sophomore hit the three-pointer with 39 seconds left to put Kentucky ahead of Louisville for good in last year's 74-69 Wildcats victory in the NCAA Tournament. Platoon two off-guard Devin Booker has so far been the epitome of a streak shooter. In Kentucky's first three games, he was 1-for-11 on three-pointers. Over the next three, he was 12-for-17. Then, he went 1-for-11 on treys for three games. Now, he is 8-for-9 in UK's last two contests.
■ Louisville's Terry Rozier is one of the emerging stars in college basketball. After Montrezl Harrell was ejected at Western Kentucky, the 6-1 sophomore from Youngstown, Ohio, scored a career-high 32 points, 26 in the second half, to lead the Cardinals to a 76-67 victory. Over his last five games, Rozier is shooting 51.5 percent (34-for-66). He is also an effective rebounder (5.5 a game).
■ UK platoon one center Willie Cauley-Stein has seen his NBA Draft stock surging up the charts. The 7-foot junior has only one game (3-for-7 vs. Kansas) in which he's shot less than 50 percent. Cauley-Stein is hitting 61.9 percent of his shots, has four double-digit rebound games and is averaging 1.8 blocked shots. Platoon two center Dakari Johnson had a big game against U of L (15 points, six rebounds) last season in the NCAA Tournament. The 7-foot sophomore had six assists against UCLA.
■ Louisville freshman center Chinanu Onuaku (pronounced chih-NAH-noo on-ooh-AHH-koo) had three double-figure scoring games and two double-doubles in the Cardinals' first four games but has scored only 19 points total since.
■ Kentucky platoon one power forward Karl-Anthony Towns had four straight double-figure scoring games (from Texas-Arlington through Eastern Kentucky), but has scored only 12 points combined in the last three contests. The 6-11 freshman had 10 rebounds in the mauling of UCLA. Platoon two power forward Marcus Lee scored 15 total points in Kentucky's first eight games, but has had 25 in the past four.
■ Louisville star Montrezl Harrell should be well rested. After he was ejected in the first half of the Cardinals' game with Western Kentucky, the ACC suspended the 6-8 junior for Tuesday's contest with California State-Northridge. A first team All-America candidate, Harrell is averaging a double-double (16.7 ppg, 10 rpg). He must avoid the foul trouble that plagued him during last season's NCAA tourney loss (fouled out with 15 points, eight rebounds) to the Cats.
■ Injured platoon one starter Alex Poythress (torn ACL) came up huge against U of L in the NCAA Tournament, with five points and a vital blocked shot during UK's game-winning 15-3 run. With Poythress's season over, platoon two's Trey Lyles is now starting. While not the defender Poythress is, the 6-10 freshman is skilled offensively. Lyles has hit 16 of his last 30 field-goal attempts.
■ Louisville senior Wayne Blackshear has been in the Cardinals program for six meetings with Kentucky, though he was injured and missed the 2011-12 regular-season contest. The burly 6-5, 230-pound Chicago product is coming off the best game of his career, a 31-point explosion against Cal State-Northridge. Hitting 11 of 17 shots in that game raised Blackshear's season field-goal percentage from 36.5 to 40.5.
■ With Kentucky essentially fielding two starting lineups, no team in the country is as deep with quality players.
■ Louisville got a big contribution from 7-foot Anas Mahmoud (pronounced AH-nuss mah-MOOD) after Harrell's ejection at WKU. The Egyptian freshman had six points, five rebounds, three blocks and an assist in 23 minutes. Mangok Mathiang (pronounced MANG-go with a silent "K" MATH-ee-ang), a 6-10 sophomore, had three points, four rebounds, two blocks and two steals against UK in last year's NCAA meeting. Reigning Kentucky Mr. Basketball Quentin Snider, the former Ballard star, is averaging 2.5 ppg. It will be interesting to see if Rick Pitino uses 6-7 freshman swingman Shaqquan Aaron — the most highly rated U of L freshman entering the season — who was not cleared for eligibility by the NCAA until last week.
Since coming to Kentucky, John Calipari has had Louisville's number, winning six of seven and eliminating Rick Pitino's Cardinals from the NCAA Tournament twice in the past three seasons. With even UCLA Coach Steve Alford speculating on Kentucky's chances of going unbeaten in 2014-15, there's nothing U of L fans would relish more than seeing their team spoil an undefeated season for the Wildcats. The KFC Yum Center crowd figures to be on fire Saturday.
Kentucky 71, Louisville 63