Previewing Kentucky

North Carolina travels to Kentucky on Saturday for what is unquestionably the nation's most highly anticipated regular season game of the year. Tip-off at Rupp Arena is set for noon and will be televised nationally by CBS.

North Carolina (6-1) vs. Kentucky (7-0)
Lexington, Ky. -- Rupp Arena
Noon -- CBS (Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg)


"I'm really looking forward to it. Henson plays just like me. He's a great shot-blocker and I just can't wait to go against him Saturday." Kentucky freshman forward Anthony Davis

"It's like shooting over a tower. I have watched him play a lot this season, but I didn't know he was as long as he is and as athletic as he is until he caught a couple of the dunks and a couple of the lob plays. He was blocking shots all over the place. It was tough." – St. John's guard Nurideen Lindsey on Davis


Season to Date: Kentucky enters Saturday's contest with a 7-0 record. The top-ranked Wildcats are beating their opponents by an average of 28.8 points per game. All seven victories have been by double digits or more, with the closest contests coming against No. 15 Kansas (75-65) and Old Dominion (62-52). Kentucky throttled St. John's, 81-59, on Thursday night.

Rookie Roundup: For the first time in Kentucky basketball history, the Wildcats started three freshmen in the season opener. But they weren't just any freshmen. All three – forward Anthony Davis, point guard Marquise Teague and wing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – were ranked in the top-10 nationally coming out of high school. Davis (6-foot-10, 220 pounds) has been as good as advertised in averaging 13.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 4.9 blocks per game while shooting 69.2 percent from the field. Teague (10.7 ppg) has encountered some obstacles in perfecting Calipari's dribble-drive offense, as evidenced by his 29:22 assist-turnover ratio, but has plenty of talent. Kidd-Gilchrist is a do-everything type of player that is averaging 11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, and also has 12 steals, eight blocks and 11 assists on the season.

Sophomore Call-Out: While sophomore forward Terrence Jones (15.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg) led Kentucky with 26 points on 7-of-12 shooting and also posted nine rebounds, four blocks and four steals against St. John's, his head coach was hard on him in the postgame press conference. Calipari told reporters following Thursday's game that, "Terrence is going to have to play better these next two games." His criticism was clearly not due to his statistics, but to not providing the intangibles in leadership and hustle plays.

Block Party: Kentucky has already blocked 80 shots through seven games, good for an 11.4-blocks-per-game average. Davis (34) and Jones (17) account for the bulk of the swats, but five other players have at least four to their credit. That shot-blocking ability has played a role in the Wildcats holding their opponents to 31.3 percent shooting.

Glue Guy: Senior wing Darius Miller (8.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg) has been a valuable asset for the Wildcats throughout his career. He's on pace to become just the third Wildcat to ever record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists, 100 blocks and 100 steals in a career. Miller currently has 911 points, 405 rebounds, 221 assists, 91 blocks and 88 steals.

Success from Deep: The Wildcats are shooting 39.6 percent from 3-point territory, led by sophomore guard Doron Lamb (14.4 ppg). The Queens, N.Y. native is connecting on 48.3 percent (14-of-29) of his treys this season, but he's not the only player to keep tabs on from long range – four of his teammates have also knocked down five or more 3-pointers.

Fact of the Day: UK is 53-1 under Calipari when holding an opponent to 67 points or fewer.

Utter Randomness: Superfan Bob Wiggins has reached the mountaintop by earning not one, but two paragraphs in Kentucky's game notes. The 84-year-old claims to have attended 1,512 Kentucky games in 59 seasons.

Last Meeting: North Carolina lost to Kentucky, 76-69, in the NCAA Tournament East Regional in Newark, N.J. on Mar. 27, 2011. The Tar Heels rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to tie the game at 67-67 with 3:18 remaining, but a pair of back-breaking 3-pointers sealed the deal for Kentucky. Tyler Zeller led UNC with 21 points and Harrison Barnes added 18. Brandon Knight paced all scorers with 22 points of 5-of-11 3-pointers.

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with Kentucky, 22-12. The Tar Heels have won six of the last eight meetings.

Projected Starters:
25 Marquis Teague (6-2, 189, Fr.) - 10.7 ppg, 4.1 apg
20 Doron Lamb (6-4, 210, So.) - 14.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg
14 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (6-7, 232, Fr.) - 11.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg
3 Terrence Jones (6-9, 252, So.) - 15.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg
23 Anthony Davis (6-10, 220, Fr.) - 13.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 4.8 bpg

Top Reserves:
1 Darius Miller (6-8, 235, Sr.) - 8.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg
33 Kyle Wiltjer (6-9, 239, Fr.) - 7.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg
30 Eloy Vargas (6-11, 244, Sr.) - 2.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg

UK Info
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(Photos by US Presswire)

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