Bluegrass Rivalry Set to Kick Off

Just a week after claiming a 73-58 win over Indiana in Freedom Hall, Kentucky returns to the Derby City to face homestanding Louisville in the 36th meeting between the intra-state rivals.

No. 9/11 Kentucky Wildcats (6-1) at No. 13/14 Louisville Cardinals (6-1) Saturday, Dec. 18, 2004 - 12:00 p.m. ET Freedom Hall - Louisville, Ky. TV: ESPN

Just a week after claiming a 73-58 win over Indiana in Freedom Hall, Kentucky returns to the Derby City to face homestanding Louisville in the 36th meeting between the intra-state rivals. The teams meet with identical 6-1 records after Louisville captured an 85-51 victory over North Carolina A&T at home Tuesday.

The game marks the fourth time the teams have met since former UK coach Rick Pitino took over as head coach at Louisville. Kentucky won the first meeting in Lexington in 2001, 82-62, marking the first time a former assistant earned a collegiate victory over Pitino. The Cards, however, returned the favor the following year in Freedom Hall, 81-63, and won at Rupp last season, 65-56.

This marks the second straight year, the ninth time overall, that both teams enter the game ranked. The Cats are ninth in this week's Associated Press poll and Louisville is 13th. Last year was the first time both squads were ranked since the 1996-97 season.

Scouting the Cardinals
Louisville welcomes Kentucky to Freedom Hall after opening the season with a 6-1 record. The Cardinals earned a hard-fought 74-70 win at Florida last weekend before defeating North Carolina A&T, 85-51, Tuesday night in Louisville. The Cards only loss this season came in the opening round of the Maui Invitational where Iowa won, 76-71.

Taquan Dean leads the Cardinals with 17.0 ppg this season, while All-America candidate Francisco Garcia adds 16.1 ppg and 5.1 rpg. Ellis Myles averages a near double-double with 11.4 ppg and 9.6 rpg.

Probable Starters

Pos. # Name              Ht. Wt. Cl. PPG   RPG Notes
F   44 Chuck Hayes       6-6 242 Sr. 11.9  9.9 14 pts, 9 rebs vs. Indiana
F   24 Kelenna Azubuike  6-5 208 Jr. 14.4  5.3 Leads team in scoring
C   33 Randolph Morris  6-10 266 Fr.  9.7  4.6 5-of-7 from field against Indiana
G    4 Rajon Rondo       6-1 171 Fr.  6.9 *2.3 Team-high 17 steals on the year
G   22 Patrick Sparks    6-0 180 Jr. 12.0 *5.0 Leads SEC in assist/turnover ratio

LOUISVILLE
Pos. # Name              Ht. Wt. Cl. PPG   RPG Notes
F   32 Francisco Garcia  6-7 190 Jr. 16.1 *3.9 19 pts, 5 steals at Florida
F    2 Ellis Myles       6-7 245 Sr. 11.4  9.6 11 pts, 10 rebs vs. N.C. A&T
F    3 Juan Palacios     6-8 245 Fr.  8.0  5.4 19 rebounds in last three games
G   34 Larry O'Bannon    6-4 200 Sr. 14.9  3.3 25 pts, 11 rebs vs. N.C. A&T
G    5 Taquan Dean       6-3 185 Jr. 17.0  3.0 22 pts on 7-of-12 shooting at UF
*assists per game

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