Kentucky Wildcats vs. North Carolina Tar Heels: Game Notes

James Young with the flush. - Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats do battle today against the North Carolina Tar Heels in a premium matchup of two of college basketball's most successful programs.

The No. 10/11 Kentucky Wildcats (8-2) travel to Chapel Hill to take on the No. 18/21 North Carolina Tar Heels (6-2) in a matchup of two of college basketball's elite programs. The 'Cats will vie to build on a solid win over Boise State, while the Tar Heels will look to knock off another Goliath after huge wins over then-No. 1 Michigan State and then-No. 3 Louisville.

Here are your game notes:

North Carolina

  • Six-one sophomore Tar Heel point guard Marcus Paige is shooting 87.2 percent from the free throw line (34-39), while his teammates have connected on only 56.5 percent of their shots from the stripe (105-186).
  • UNC's top three scorers are Paige (18.8 points per game), 6-9 sophomore forward Brice Johnson, who comes off the bench (13.5 points per game), and 6-9 junior James McAdoo (13.0 points per contest).
  • Paige connects on 45.3 percent of his shots from the field (39.2 percent from distance), while Johnson makes 52.2 percent of his shot attempts.
  • Both Paige and McAdoo are averaging 1.5 steals per game.
  • Nate Britt, a 5-11 freshman guard, is averaging 5.6 points and 2.5 assists per contest.
  • UNC's top board men are Johnson (6.9 rebounds per game), and McAdoo (5.9 rebounds per game).
  • The Heels will be without suspended would-be starting guards P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald (the team's only scholarship senior).
  • In upsetting Michigan State and Louisville, Carolina combined to outrebound its two opponents by 16 boards.
  • Carolina, in those two wins, also won the points in the paint battle by an overwhelming margin of 96-54.
  • In UNC's win over UofL, Paige netted 32 points on 9-of-12 shooting (3-5 from distance), and 11-of-11 free throw shooting.
  • UNC has a phenomenal freshman in 6-9 Kennedy Meeks, who checks in averaging 8.5 points (on 61.9 percent field goal accuracy), 2.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
  • North Carolina will likely start a freshman, three sophomores and a junior.
  • Against Louisville's pressure defense, UNC made 54.2 percent of its shots from the field.
  • In UNC's 83-80 loss to Belmont, the Bruins connected on 15-of-37 treys (40.5 percent), while Carolina made only 22-of-48 free throws (45.8 percent). Sophomore forward J.P. Tokoto missed 12-of-16 free throws, at one time missing on eight straight from the stripe.
  • When North Carolina beat Villanova in the second round of the NCAA tourney last year, Roy Williams became only the 21st college basketball coach to reach the 700 win plateau. Williams also sports the sixth best all-time winning percentage in college basketball, .795.
  • Williams led Kansas to four Final Fours and North Carolina to three (winning titles in 2005 and 2009), becoming the only coach other than Rick Pitino to lead two schools to at least three Final Fours.
  • From 1990 to 2009, Williams led his squads to 20 consecutive NCAA tourneys (second all-time), winning at least one game in each tournament, attaining the all-time record for most consecutive NCAA tourneys with a win.
  • North Carolina owns a 22-13 advantage when playing UK head-to-head, but the Wildcats have won three of the last four meetings.
  • In the Tar Heels' 63-59 loss in Birmingham to UAB, the Blazers made 18 more free throws than UNC, and North Carolina-native Chad Frazier netted 25 points.
  • UNC is forcing a solid 15.5 turnovers per game.
  • In Carolina's patented secondary break, the Heels look to quickly utilize mismatches in the option-heavy offense, sending shooters from the wings to the corners for open perimeter jumpers, and big men to either side of the lane for easy buckets.

Kentucky

  • The Wildcats are 127-63 all-time against teams that comprise the ACC.
  • Willie Cauley-Stein is averaging 7.0 blocks per game over the last four UK contests. Currently, WCS's 43 blocks on the year are one block shy of Anthony Davis' total after 10 games in his record-setting 2012 season.
  • Julius Randle's eight double-doubles this season lead the nation. Randle has also scored in double-digits ten times this year, becoming the first Wildcat since Darius Miller (February 15-March 17, 2011) to achieve that feat.
  • Randle is eighth in the SEC in scoring at 17.9 points per game and first in rebounding, pulling down 12.0 boards per contest.
  • Over the last two games, Randle has made 12-of-21 shots from the floor (57.1 percent), after connecting on only 12-of-30 shots from the floor the previous three contest (40.0 percent).
  • James Young has knocked down at least one 3-pointer in nine of ten games this season, and has connected on multiple 3-pointers in six games, including the last three straight. Additionally, Young as made 11 of his last 22 trey tries.
  • Young is averaging a team-high 32.1 minutes per game.
  • Kentucky is 7-1 when scoring at least 70 points.
  • The Wildcats are 44-8 all-time when ranked 11th in  the nation by the AP. UK is 8-1 as the No. 11 AP team with John Calipari as head coach.
  • UK is 489-119 all-time in games played in December. Under Coach Cal, UK sports a 26-5 mark in the final month of the year.
  • The average height of UK's players this year is 79.5 inches, making the Wildcats the tallest team in the country.
  • Andrew Harrison is a perfect 6-of-6 from the line inside the final five minutes.
  • In his last 42 minutes of action, covering three games, Dominique Hawkins has produced seven points on 3-of-6 shooting (1-3 treys), three assists, two rebounds, one steal, and one turnover.
  • Three Wildcats have topped 25 points in a game this season -- Aaron Harrison recorded 28 against Robert Morris, Randle, 27 versus Michigan State, and Young, 26 against Texas-Arlington.
  • Since Calipari became the head coach at UK, the 'Cats have a 27-9 record when playing ranked opponents (.750 winning percentage).
  • Andrew Harrison, after making 7-of-11 3-pointers through UK's first five games (63.6 percent), has connected on only 1-of-10 from distance in the last five games (10.0 percent).
  • Randle, after snagging 38 offensive rebounds in Kentucky's first seven games (5.4 per game), has grabbed only six offensive boards in the last three contests (2.0 per game).
  • Dakari Johnson has played a total of 19 minutes in the last three games, and Marcus Lee has played a total of 16 minutes in the last four contests.
  • When playing the Tar Heels in the state of North Carolina, UK has won four games and lost nine.
  • UK now holds a 23 game advantage over third place North Carolina in all-time wins, 2,119 to 2,096. Kansas is second in all-time victories with 2,107.

Thanks for reading and Go 'Cats!

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