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Cats vs. Cards: The starting lineups


The time has come. New Year’s Eve and Louisville’s entrance into Rupp Arena is finally upon us. There has been little doubt among the Kentucky faithful the Wildcats will win this one convincingly, but as in any rivalry game, nothing is guaranteed. Admittedly, it is hard to say the Cats can lose though. If Rupp Arena is anything like it was when North Carolina came to town, the crowd will simply not allow it. To get you in the right frame of mind going foward, here’s what you can expect to see when the Cats and the Cards square off.

PG: Marquis Teague vs. Peyton Siva

teague1 im_better_than_john_wall

Kentucky point guard Marquis Teague has been really impressive as of late, putting together double-digit scoring days in four of the last five games. Teague has really begun to finish well at the rim and is driving and dishing to open teammates with much more efficiency; that has cut down on the turnovers as well. Siva plays a very similar game to Teague, more so than the two previous Calipari point guards he’s faced. It seems likely Coach Calipari will leave Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on Kyle Kuric to avoid allowing an outside shooter get hot, so Teague needs to stay in front on Siva and not let him drive wildly and be bailed out by a foul like he so often does.

Siva isn’t necessarily a shoot-first guard, but he does have the ability to score. Last night he dropped 15 in a loss to Georgetown, but the two previous close calls for the Cards he only scored a combined five points. It isn’t a surefire game plan, but it seems like you slow Peyton Siva’s ability to drive and you slow the entire Cardinal offense. Not really a shocking conclusion, but it is what it is. Teague’s defense on Siva will be a huge factor, and we might see Kidd-Gilchrist slide over on Siva at times to completely lock him down.

SG: Doron Lamb vs. Chris Smith

lamb1 rosary_tattoo

Doron Lamb will need to be hitting from outside to allow continued work in the paint for Kentucky. Louisville has good size down low, so it won’t be easy for the Cats big men to score. Lamb has his three-point shot falling at just under 50% – a great mark, no doubt. But he has been somewhat inconsistent in his number of shot attempts, only firing up more than three attempts twice in the last nine games. He’s going to need to hit more than one or two from deep to keep the Cards honest in guarding the perimeter.

The Cardinals Chris Smith shoots a lot, and he makes a lot of clutch shots. He isn’t a lights-out shooter like Lamb, but he can score in a hurry with points from behind the arc, he flies under the radar pretty well. Smith probably won’t lose the game for the Cardinals, he doesn’t have a huge negative impact, but if he starts hitting from deep and the Cats aren’t expecting it (think Christian Watford for Indiana) it could spell trouble. It rarely seems Lamb is getting burned defensively, so this shouldn’t be a huge concern. Kuric is really the shooter you need to worry about.

SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist vs. Kyle Kuric

gilchrist1 durrrr

MKG recently said he plans to “have fun” with Louisville, and there is no reason to believe he won’t. What more can be said about Kidd-Gilchrist that hasn’t already been uttered a thousand times? He’s a beast everywhere on the court, and he should score on Kuric with ease slashing into the paint. Two big things for him against Kuric: One, avoid the offensive fouls. There’s not a better team at taking the charge than Louisville, and Kuric knows how out of control Kidd-Gilchrist can be. Please, don’t get in foul trouble. The second thing is hardly worth mentioning because it comes so naturally for him, but guard the three! The biggest reason Kentucky loses on Saturday is because of the three balls, and Kuric is their man in the corner.

Kyle Kuric is the veteran of this Cardinals team who is a very dangerous shooter – or at least has that ability. He takes 20% of Louisville field goal attempts, and makes 32% of the team’s three-point shots. The only surprising thing; Kuric is only shooting 35% from behind the arc – not exactly nightmare worthy. But don’t let it fool you, in this rivalry all bets are off. Teams always seem to shoot better than they’re supposed to against the Cats. Kuric will score from outside, it’s just a matter of how much. Fortunately for Kentucky, the Cards are struggling as a team to score the basketball, only posting a season average of 72 points-per-game. Don’t you think Kentucky could score that blindfolded?

PF: Terrence Jones vs. Chane Behanan

jones behananannanaaa

Terrence Jones finally made an appearance back in the Kentucky lineup last night after a two-game rest with his bummed pinky. He came off the bench and didn’t embarrass himself, posting a nine point, six rebound game. It’s not the Jones we all want or need to see against Louisville, but it’s a step in the right direction after the abysmal performances we saw his last two times on the court. Behanan is going to be a tough match-up for Jones in the paint, especially if he’s still feeling soreness in his pinky finger. Honestly, at this point, it might be better to hope Jones doesn’t do something to really hurt the Cats – like turn it over six times. Maybe he should play not to lose, and give us what he can.

It seemed like a foregone conclusion Terrence Jones would dominate Christian Watford and Indiana, but it wasn’t so. It is possible a similar disappearance could occur against the big bodied Chane Behanan, who is having a very solid Freshman season. He didn’t blow anybody away in the Cardinals last two games against Western Kentucky and Georgetown, but his rebounding ability is solid and he can put the ball in the net on the post up. Behanan could very well be the x-factor for the Cards in this one. A better-than-expected game from him and Louisville might just pull the upset; look for his face all over the floor. Not to say he’s at athletic or even close to as good, but Behanan is similar to Kidd-Gilchrist in that he has diversity in his game to do things you might not expect. Keep an eye on him.

C: Anthony Davis vs. Gorgui Dieng

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Like Behanan being the key to a Cardinals victory, Anthony Davis is the key to a Wildcats victory. A big point of emphasis for Coach Calipari in the public practice was limiting fouls, with a team goal of six heading into halftime. That should be reinforced to Davis who will be going against likely the “toughest” opposing center he’s faced all season (the Zeller boys aren’t as big and play a similar game to his). Dieng is big and strong, Davis needs to utilize his quickness more than ever. Stay in front and don’t leave your feet, Anthony. The Cats cannot afford to have you on the bench for an extended period. It should be lob city over Dieng though; he just seems like a player who could easily be exploited over the top.

Aside from the Georgetown loss last night, Gorgui Dieng has posted five straight double-doubles in convincing fashion. The Cardinals as a team usually start slow and go on streaks, and that’s no different for Dieng. He can score quickly, but go on slumps mid-game where he disappears from both sides of the ball. A key for him will be finding the groove over the long armed Davis, because it seems unlikely he’ll settle for pull-up jumpers. Dieng likes to score at the rim and nowhere else; if he wants to play aggressive getting there, let him. Have Davis take the charge.

Go Cats. #LouisvilleDoesntExist

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

44 Comments for Cats vs. Cards: The starting lineups

  1. josh
    8:07 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Who will stop Russ Smith’s bank board 3’s and falling down floaters?

  2. BigBlueSkyDog
    8:09 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Lousyville will play dirty and try to get in our heads before tipoff. They will probably try to get one of our guys to get thrown out,just like they tried to get Bledsoe and Boogie thrown out two years ago. That’s their only chance.

  3. CalifCatFan
    8:09 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Beat the Louse-ville tards!!!

  4. SexnNursinHomes
    8:12 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    On paper, it’s no contest. ul sucks balls. BUT, those hackers will be doing anything they can to get some leverage. look for cheap shots, anything.

  5. Kurics Backne
    8:17 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    In summary, if Louisville is scoring and the Cats don’t play defense then UK loses. If UK makes shots, then they will win. Cool story bro.

  6. RickyPRetirementTour
    8:18 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    UL fans try calling their fans cardnation. But since their fanbase only reaches Shepherdsville, and half of the fans in their home county are UK fans. Is cardnation the Lithuania of nations?

  7. CatFanNLville
    8:35 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    #6 your off a bit no way their fan base reaches Shepherdsville. (I live there I know) It barely makes it outside the Watterson Expressway.

  8. cats4ever
    8:41 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Hey guys,anyone know when UK might wear the grey jersey’s?… i looked for the cats to wear them against UNC but didn’t, surely against the dirty birds??….anyone know??

  9. Chris1234
    8:41 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Anybody seen the spread yet?

  10. Mr. Reality
    8:44 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    This is good solid KSR stuff.

  11. FlashOfBlue
    8:51 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    #6 More like #CardCounty

  12. MHFaulkner
    8:56 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Poor Stuart.

  13. Captain Obvious
    8:56 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    When you look at the one on one matchups it makes me question it a bit. Anyone else? I feel like we are much better team but this article makes me question our supremacy?!? Teague is about the same as Siva. Jones is a wild card. Lamb is great but so has Smith been lately. Dieng is horrible but has been putting up some numbers. MKG is an animal but Kuric is pretty smoothe.

    When we go to the bench, I think we are loaded compared to who the bring off the bench.

    Am I over thinking it or is it real?

  14. The 1970s
    9:01 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Do you have to remind us that we are going to play in that OLD fart arena? Can’t you guys build another one, are you going to be on HGTV next year? Flip that RUpp LMAO!! Lessington is booooorrrrrriiiiinnnnggggg

  15. Stuart Hammer
    9:03 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    13 – I don’t think you’re over thinking it, the Cards are a good team (but not Top-10 worthy). But I think a lot of people might be overlooking the Cardinals. This game won’t be a cakewalk by any stretch. Teague can beat Siva, but Siva has some good experience under his belt. Lamb HAS to shoot well from outside. MKG will be MKG, just needs to stay out of foul trouble – Kuric is a vet and knows how to draw a charge. Jones, I’m not expecting much from him. And Davis should have a solid game over Deing. In the end, I don’t see how Cats lose in Rupp, but don’t be overly confident, anything can happen.

  16. nolablue
    9:10 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    What in Tardnation?! It’s Colonel Cryptkeeper and The Chicken Bucket Chumps!

  17. T.J.
    9:13 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    14- Your entire comment became void once you typed “LMAO.” If you are the only one laughing at your joke…..then it’s not funny.

  18. Captain Obvious
    9:13 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    15 – I agree. I hope the CATS are hungry and don’t let this slip up. Pitino will have a rock solid game plan that he will stick to that will give us some problems. The CARDS always find a way to climb back in the game late with the full court press pressure. I hope the CATS can break the press and get some run outs. I love the run outs that includes an Alley-Opp to Davis. Teague is going to have to protect the ball.

  19. umm...
    9:14 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    #14…No. Go away. You’re making a fool of yourself.

  20. thefan
    9:16 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Heres the thing, Louisville hasn’t played a team like UK yet, If you want kick the crap out of the cards all you do is shut down the 3, This game you use Lamb and Miller, Miller has matured and Lamb knows how to get it rolling we they need it. I really hope Cal uses the bench a lil more this game. MKG can really have a big game, I expect UK to really take it to them inside. Jones is due. If he doesn’t bring it the his game its time for the bench. CATS 83 CARDS 68

  21. Stuart Hammer
    9:19 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    19 – If Pitino is smart he won’t press this Kentucky team. They have eaten it up this season, and can score so easily when they break it. He’s best to take his chances with a zone in the half court.

  22. RickyPRetirementTour
    9:20 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Florida is in double OT against Rutgers on ESPN2.

  23. Imactastic...
    9:25 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Muuuuuch better stuart … I think this is your kind of post… Giving the facts with a slight bit of opinion.

  24. BigBlueSkyDog
    9:26 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Florida is about to lose to a mid level Big East team. When they get out of conference, they really stink.

  25. BigBlueSkyDog
    9:28 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    On a more positive note for the SEC, Vandy is putting it to Marquette.

  26. Jim
    9:30 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Other than Davis, each member of our starting lineup is 3 inches taller than their UofL counterpart. If we don’t outrebound these chumps, I’ll be very very surprised. Throw in Mismatch Miller against UofL’s 6th or 7th man – Russ Smith or even Buckles and the height/size advantage continues. They can’t score in the half court. If we limit our turnovers we should be fine…

  27. RickyPRetirementTour
    9:30 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Florida lost to Rutgers

  28. The 1970s
    9:42 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    #18/20 I’m just trying to help. I know you all really wanted a new place. Hey, good luck with your renovations, no hard feelings… Maybe that Holmes on Homes guy could help ya out :< He’s pretty good.

  29. rixter719
    9:49 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    @21: As Behanan pointed out, they have beat the likes of Vandy and Memphis, so they’re obviously ready for Prime Time

  30. Dakich Fan
    9:52 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    This is what Dakich tried to explain to you. Match-ups don’t matter. I mean, they do…but you don’t go position by position and make a check mark of who wins the one on ones, and they declare a winner on paper. WTF??? Not sure why he ever praised Kentucky fan for being smart. Maybe it was all tongue in cheek.

  31. rixter719
    10:02 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    How far will Louisville fall after 2 losses this week? 14? 15? That sounds about right

  32. rixter719
    10:04 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    “Match-ups don’t matter. I mean, they do”….
    And you’re the smart one???

  33. Stuart sounds like tipton
    10:09 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    First off if the cats play up to their potential they will win easily!!! Cards have not played anyone and they don’t “weigh in”! Jones if healthy is actually very hard to match up with not vice versa! MKG out of control? What? And Anthony (they should change the name of a block to a “DAVIS”) Davis should never ever settle for trying to take a charge!!! Maybe I misunderstood your post but you sound like Tipton!

  34. uk elder
    10:37 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    MILLER, MILLER, MILLER is the key to this game. I know it was starting line up but we really do have 6 starters! Can not believe you did not mention him. ??

  35. Frank7764
    10:55 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    Kentucky by 15+

    UK is better
    Louisville is worse
    It’s at Rupp Arena

    Need I go on?

  36. Dr. Wildcat
    11:25 pm December 29, 2011 Permalink

    How is Dieng “Big and Strong”? He’s tall and lanky. He weighs like 220 lbs.

  37. Megan Calipari
    5:46 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    As long as my dad has Uncle Wes around, we will have the best roster money can buy. Cal likes to give out pre paid debit cards to the players after every game. Try tracing that NCAA!!!!

  38. Sammydog
    7:06 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    UK does not suffer arena envy. Rupp is a great college venue and has been since it was built. When UK does pull the trigger on renovation, it will be spectacular. There will be nothing like it. It won’t be just another NBA style arena. It will be a work of art.

  39. will hall
    7:07 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    unfortunately, i think georgetown exposed the true card potential. western ky and charlestown exposed the coaching potential. maybe rick will announce his future coaching plans at halftime to motivate us all. morehead shocked the cards last year 1st round…eleven years of mediocre leadership. jurich should make a public announcement about what we all expect for $2m+ year.

  40. BUCats
    8:20 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    37 – Agree. I don’t understand why everyone thinks Dieng is a world beater. He is 6-11, 235. Cody Zeller is comparable to that, but Tyler Zeller is 7-0, 250, plus both Zellers are more talented. I don’t see A Davis having a problem here

  41. Brew Crew
    10:54 am December 30, 2011 Permalink

    This was a pretty well-thought out post. Thanks

  42. Dakich Fan
    1:37 pm December 30, 2011 Permalink

    #33-Match-ups like Ewing versus just about anyone, and we know G’Town is going inside, and he’s going to protect the lane…so, specifics match-ups and specific guys have to be looked at and accounted for. However, match-ups like you idiots itemize out are meaningless. I don’t think IU won the “match-up” test, but they won the game.

  43. MS CAT
    9:55 pm December 30, 2011 Permalink

    Is Blackshear playing?