|11:00 AM PT12:00 PM MT1:00 PM CT2:00 PM ET7:00 PM GMT3:00 PM 北京时间12:00 PM MST2:00 PM EST, Dec 29, 2018
KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Kentucky Attendance: 20,882
Archrivals Louisville, No. 15 Kentucky face off
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No. 16 Kentucky, fresh off its best performance of the year in an 80-72 upset of then-No. 9 North Carolina, faces its stiffest road test to date when the Wildcats travel to face archrival Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Both teams will be searching for their 10th wins as nonconference play draws to a close. Kentucky is 9-2 and a winner of two in a row. Louisville is 9-3, including an 8-0 mark at home, and is on a three-game win streak.
"I don't know how many times I've coached against them. It's a ton," Kentucky coach John Calipari said Friday. "Whether it's in that building, this building, neutral, NCAA, they're hard games. It's not going to be as though they're not ready to play. They're going to be ready. They play hard."
One twist for the rivalry is the introduction of new Louisville coach Chris Mack, formerly the coach at Xavier. He knows full well the spirit surrounding a rivalry game based on his experience with the epic battles between Xavier and Cincinnati.
"Generally, the fan bases don't like either other," Mack said. "If you lived in Cincinnati, you had a little feeling when you saw somebody walking around with a Bearcat logo on. Now, when you're driving on the Watterson (Expressway) or Gene Snyder (Freeway) and you see that Big Blue plate next to you, you just keep staring straight ahead.
"But I've been in college basketball a long time, both as a player and a coach, and I know it's one of the premier nonconference games in all of college basketball. As a college basketball fan, I still gravitate to watching great college basketball."
Kentucky presents a different kind of challenge for Louisville with big men Reid Travis and PJ Washington. Travis, a grad transfer from Stanford, averages 15.1 points and 6.5 rebounds. Washington, a sophomore, averages 13.3 points and a team-best 8.5 rebounds.
"It's the biggest challenge we've faced all year," Mack said. "Them and Tennessee would be on fairly even ground because of the way they play. Some teams have pretty good bigs, but they don't utilize them in a way we'll see against Kentucky and the way we saw against Tennessee and we didn't pass that challenge against Tennessee.
"They carve out space and draw fouls at a very, very high rate. So we're going to have to do as good a job as we've done all year keeping the ball out of the paint. That's a big challenge, not a lot of teams pass that challenge. Hopefully, we'll be one of them."
Despite averaging better than 80 points a game, Louisville has just one player scoring in double figures -- Jordan Nwora at 17.8 points per game. Dwayne Sutton checks in at 9.7 followed by Steven Enoch at 9.2.
"They're really playing together well," Calipari said of Louisville. "They're making shots. They do what they do well. They don't get away from what they do. Defensively, they fight like crazy, front to post, hard show, jump their five man out. They switch some. They deny some. They're good. They're a good team.
"My guess is they may press a little bit. They may start the game pressing. I think they'll throw some of that 1-3-1 at us a little bit. And I think they're going to fly up the court, and if they can't, they run good stuff to get shots. And then they rebound like crazy. They run guys to the rim. I think they'll play as fast as they can or as fast as we'll let the game go."
Updated December 28, 2018