1. Tennessee State is in their first season with Head Coach Brian “Penny” Collins at the helm. Kentucky fans are probably already tired of hearing about head coaches named Penny in the state of Tennessee, but here we are. Collins was an assistant at TSU from 2007-2009 before stops at Cumberland, Columbia State Community College, East Tennessee State, and Illinois State. In his playing days, Collins was a star at Belmont in the early 2000s. He’s the school’s all time leader in assists and steals, and even spent a year in the G-League for the Bakersfield Jam before heading over to play professionally in Finland.
2. TSU’s leading scorer is redshirt junior Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey. Fitzpatrick-Dorsey sat out all of last year due to NCAA transfer rules after spending his first two seasons at Ole Miss. In two games against UK during his time at Ole Miss under Andy Kennedy, he played a total of 16 minutes but failed to score. This year for the Tigers, he’s scoring 15 points per game, while shooting nearly 39% from three point range. The 6’4″ guard is also averaging 3.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals, and 0.5 blocks per contest.
3. The Tigers have not defeated a Division I school yet this season. With an overall record of 2-3 so far, including wins over Carver Bible College and Fisk University, TSU has struggled to begin their year. Their three losses came at the hands of Lipscomb, Little Rock, and CSU Northridge. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that they won’t be picking up their first win over a Division I school tonight, pushing their record to 2-4 on the year.
4. The game today at Rupp Arena is actually the first of seven games that Tennessee State plays against teams from the state of Kentucky this regular season. Coming up, they play Western Kentucky on December 1st, and then in conference play, they take on Eastern Kentucky twice, Morehead State twice, and Murray State once. Hopefully the rest of the teams from the Bluegrass State can make our state proud and take care of business throughout the year.
5. Kentucky and Tennessee State face off tonight for just the fifth time in history. The Cats have won the first four by an average of nearly 34 points and are scoring just over 99 points per victory over the Tigers. The most recent matchup finished with a 102-58 Kentucky win in 2008, as Patrick Patterson’s 33 points and Jodie Meeks’ 32 points combined outscored Tennessee State by themselves.
Go Cats. Beat Tigers.