December 31st, 2011. A date which will live in infamy glory. An epic night of celebration lies ahead as we are prepared to view the spectacle to ring in the New Year: Your University of Kentucky Wildcats take on the University of Louisville Cardinals in Rupp Arena.
Here’s your last Friday Night Notes of 2011. Read up then get to bed early. We have a big day ahead of us.
— A pattern in this UK-UL series since 1997 has been Louisville wins two straight and Kentucky wins three. The Cats are currently on a two-game winning streak in the series. If the Number God’s are just, this one will surely go the Cats way.
— Tony Greene, Jamie Luckie and Michael Stephens were announced yesterday as the referee crew. In more number crunching fashion: The guys over at Statsheet.com have a massive database of goodies, and part of it is official’s stats. I’ll save you the legwork and just say with this crew, history suggests we will see about 18 fouls called on Louisville and 16 fouls called on Kentucky. But the tension in this one will probably create a few extra whistles.
— Louisville lost to Georgetown on Wednesday. The last time the Cardinals lost a game prior to facing Kentucky was in 2008 against UNLV. The Cardinals followed up and beat the Cats on January 4, 2009 in Louisville by three. Kentucky’s starters for that game? Michael Porter, Jodie Meeks, Kevin Galloway, Patrick Patterson and Perry Stevenson. That seems like a lifetime ago.
— You may remember the Cardinals lost in the Belk Bowl to North Carolina State. Then they lost to Georgetown. How about we really ruin little brother’s weekend with another one? Throw ya L’s up!
— In other news, Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated writes a rather strange paragraph, saying Kentucky is “headed for a comedown” in 2012, and “it will be the worst team Calipari has had since he came (here) from Memphis.” This is referring to the 2012-13 season, but it’s hard to imagine if/when Calipari lands Shabazz, Kentucky will be that bad.
— Larry Vaught writes that Lamar had plenty of kind words for the Cats after Wednesday’s game. Coach Pat Knight said Kentucky is “the real deal” and “don’t have a weakness.” While two Lamar guards both agreed Kentucky is better and more athletic than two opponents the team faced earlier in the season, Louisville and Ohio State.
— The Cats opened as a 12.5-point favorite over the Cards. That’s a pretty big spread right there. It will surely go down before tipoff, but it’s a good indication of Vegas’ thoughts – which is rarely ever far off on their predictions – on the winner of this one.
A few quick hitters:
— The Media guide lists Darius Miller as a probable starter over Terrence Jones, so keep an eye on that.
— On New Year’s Eve, Kentucky is 12-4 all-time, and 2-1 against the Cardinals. Louisville is 3-6 on New Year’s Eve all-time.
— This is the first time in series history the two teams have met both ranked in the Top-5.
— This is only the second road game the Cardinals will play this season. The only other time they’ve left the Yum Center is traveling to Indianapolis to play Butler.
Sleep well, Big Blue Nation. Tomorrow we conquer the Cardinals.