Kentucky Wildcats (9-2) at Louisville Cardinals (9-3)
- Game time: 2pm EST on December 29, 2018
- Arena: KFC YUM! Center in Louisville, Kentucky
- TV Channel: ESPN2
- Announcers: Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas and Dan Dakich will be on the call.
- Online Stream: WatchESPN and the WatchESPN App.
- Radio: Tom Leach and Mike Pratt will have the UK radio network call on 630 AM and 98.1 FM in Lexington. Listen to an online radio stream with UK Athletics.
- Replay: WatchESPN and check local listings on the SEC Network.
- Rosters: UK | UL
- All-Time record: Kentucky leads the series 35-16
- Last meeting: 12/29/2017 Kentucky won 90-61
- UL record last year: 22-14
- Head coach: Chris Mack
- Returning players: V.J. King, Dwayne Sutton, Darius Perry, Jordan Nwora, Ryan McMahon
- Live Stats
- Odds: Kentucky opened as a 1-point favorite. KenPom projected this to be a pick ‘em.
- Predictions: ESPN’s matchup predictor gives Louisville a 54.4% chance to win. TeamRankings projects a Louisville victory but with just a two-star confidence level. Be sure to check out our predictions for the game.
While we wait for the game, check out UK’s latest hype video to get fired up for this rivalry matchup:
The Kentucky Wildcats and Louisville Cardinals renew their heated rivalry Saturday when the Bluegrass schools clash in the YUM! Center.
Louisville has had a surprising start this season after most expected them to have a transition period after all the scandals that have taken place there. However, this season is shaping up to be a decent year for the Cardinals in Chris Mack’s first season.
While a 9-3 overall record isn’t much to brag about, the Cardinals’ only three losses to teams currently in the AP Top 25: No. 3 Tennessee, No. 18 Marquette and No. 23 Indiana. They even beat Michigan State, who are currently ranked No. 8.
Louisville looks much better than the previous year and have a legitimate chance to knock off the Wildcats, especially with the game being in the YUM! Center.
The last time the Wildcats faced off with Louisville, Kentucky absolutely dominated the game. They came out of the gate ready, and it was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who had a breakout game and went for 24 points, 3 steals and 4 assists to lead the Cats to a huge win.
This series has had some incredible games in history including some recent NCAA Tournament matchups in the Sweet 16 and Final Four where Kentucky has walked away victorious.
Let’s look at the Louisville roster.
V.J. King is a returning starter from a year ago and will be looking to have a big year for Mack. Last year he started all 36 games and averaged 8.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and shot 39% from the field. He struggled when it came to three-point shooting, so Kentucky will have to make sure they prevent him from getting inside to keep him from scoring. King is averaging 6.1 PPG to go along with 3.5 rebounds per game this season.
Dwayne Sutton is returning for his redshirt junior year after his sophomore season with the Cardinals. He started just 4 games a year ago but saw a lot of minutes throughout the year. He averaged 4.3 points and 4 rebounds while shooting 44% from the field. He also can step out and knock down a three as he shot 35% from outside. Sutton is averaging 9.7 PPG to go along with 6.2 rebounds per game this season.
Darius Perry is returning for his sophomore year. He started three games and played significant minutes last year as he averaged 14 minutes a game and put up 3.9 points on 35% shooting. He is also a very good free throw shooter and is good at passing the ball to teammates in a position to score. Perry is averaging 7.8 PPG to go along with 2.3 assists per game this season.
Jordan Nwora is returning for his sophomore season and he saw action in 28 of 36 games a year ago and averaged 12 minutes a game for the year. The 6-8 forward averaged 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and shot 46% from the field. Kentucky will have to be sure not to leave him open on the perimeter as he shot 43% from behind the three-point line last season. Nwora is averaging 17.8 PPG to go along with 8.5 rebounds per game this season.
Christen Cunningham is a graduate transfer from Samford who is the Cardinals’ top point guard. He is averaging 8.6 points and 3.1 assists per game for Louisville but missed last Friday’s win over Robert Morris with a concussion. His replacement, Perry, scored nine points as a starter but also had three of Louisville’s 16 turnovers. Robert Morris led 32-29 at halftime before Louisville used a strong second half to win 73-59. Cunningham is expected to play Saturday vs. Kentucky.
Ryan McMahon is a returning guard entering his redshirt junior season. He appeared in 29 of 36 games a year ago and averaged 15.6 minutes a game. The 6-0 guard averaged 6.1 points on 42% shooting from the field. Like Nwora, Kentucky will not want to leave him open from the outside as he shot 40% from three last season. McMahon is averaging 8.3 PPG to go along with 2 assists per game this season.
The rest of the Cardinals depth comes from experienced players like Malik Williams, Akoy Agau and Khwan Fore, though none of them have consistently made an impact this season.
As for the game with Kentucky, I believe the Cats are a much more talented team and should be able to walk out of the YUM! Center with yet another victory over Louisville in the Cal era.