Media members all pick Cats over Cards

John Calipari (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Now comes the big question about who each of the media members that I asked thinks will win tonight’s game.

Turns out it is a Big Blue sweep, even though not everyone thinks it will be a big margin.

Jeff Drummond, Publisher All-Wildcats.com: “I think Kentucky should win this game by 12-15 points, but like the Governor’s Cup game showed us this year, crazy things tend to happen in rivalry matchups. If the Cats do win, it will be because they have an efficient offensive night and the Cards won’t be able to generate enough offense to keep pace.”

Calipari expects variety of UofL defenses, Monk knows how he would guard himself

Malik Monk (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Look for Louisville to play a variety of defenses tonight against Kentucky if UK coach John Calipari is correct.

“They’re long. They switch, so they could switch pick-and-rolls. They switch one through five at times. They’ll play their matchup zone and tilt it to somebody to take away guys,” Calipari said.

“You watch what they did to Purdue. They took away their two guys. That kid has averaged a double-double his whole career. Then, down there, he couldn’t get a point. They do a good job of taking guys away.

Who will be the key player for each team tonight?

Derek Willis (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Often the Kentucky-Louisville game produces a key player that no one was quite expecting.

Remember the 13-point game that Dominique Hawkins had in last year’s Kentucky win. Or what about the national break-out game that Josh Harrellson had in the 2010-11 season to help UK win at Louisville.

So I asked media friends who they thought might be the key player in tonight’s game for each team.

Versatile RB A.J. Rose getting better

By LARRY VAUGHT

Redshirt freshman running back A.J. Rose got to play the role of Heisman Trophy quarterback Lamar Jackson to help Kentucky’s defense prepare for Louisville.

Now he’s playing the role of quarterback in Georgia Tech’s triple option offense to prepare for the Dec. 31 TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville.

“He is versatile. One of the things we really talked to him about was learning our offense and making sure he really honed in on that. I can already tell he is light years away from where he was in the fall,” UK coach Mark Stoops said.

Calipari on Pitino: “We’re not mean to each other, not nasty to each other.”

Vicky Graff Photo

By LARRY VAUGHT

Going into Wednesday night’s game at Louisville, coach John Calipari of Kentucky says his relationship with Louisville coach Rick Pitino has been fine.

“We’re 90 miles away from each other. Coach at competitive rival schools. It’s hard to send each other Christmas Cards. I have known him for 25 years. I know how good of a coach he is. He is a great coach. He’s a Hall of Fame Coach,” Calipari said today.

Even Gran not quite sure how Kentucky offense found the right recipe for success

Eddie Gran (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Even Kentucky offensive coordinator Eddie Gran isn’t quite sure how UK’s offense evolved into what it did this year to where it produced two 1,000-yard rushers in Boom Williams and Benny snell.

“When we went into this thing, we thought it was going to be a lot different. And when (quarterback) Drew (Barker) went down and Stephen (Johnson) became our quarterback, and we had to re-evaluate, all of our coaches did a great job of what will the recipe be for us to score points? ” Gran said Monday.

What is the biggest story line in this Kentucky-Louisville matchup?

Bam Adebayo faces his first college road game at Louisville. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

What will be the most interesting story line in Wednesday’s Kentucky-Louisville basketball game?

Is it that John Calipari has owned Rick Pitino with an 8-1 edge since he got to UK? Is it how the Kentucky freshmen will react to their first road game? Could it be how Malik Monk responds to his incredible performance Saturday?

I asked several media members who cover Kentucky basketball for their thoughts on the top story line.

Numbers favor Cardinals over Kentucky by 3 points Wednesday

John Calipari (Vicky Graff Photo)

By RICHARD CHEEKS

On Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada, two of the game’s true blue blood programs faced off inside the ring at a venue more associated with championship heavy weight boxing than championship college basketball. These giants stood toe to toe for a full 40 minutes. During this bout, each team delivered shuttering blows to the other, and each of them withstood the best that their opponent could deliver.

Thanks to help from Delta Airlines, Mercer County girls basketball team will get to Phoenix Tuesday

By LARRY VAUGHT

Finally some good news for the Mercer County girls basketball trip that had its trip to Phoenix to play in the prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions ruined Sunday by Frontier Airlines cancelling the team’s flight and offering no help to get the Lady Titans to Phoenix any other way.

Mercer County Chris Souder said that Delta Airlines has worked with his team and some players and coaches will take a Delta flight out of Louisville early Tuesday morning and be in Phoenix by noon. Arrangements have also been made for other players and coaches to get to Phoenix while parents who were on the original Sunday flight have also been making alternate plans to get to the Nike Tournament of Champions.

Calipari to Adebayo: “Just don’t foul him.”

Bam Adebayo (Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky freshman Bam Adebayo fouled out against North Carolina Saturday and also got in early foul trouble. He had 13 points and seven rebounds but played only 19 minutes.

Kentucky coach John Calipari will need him to play more against Louisville Wednesday to help offset the Cardinals’ interior size and physical play.

“Winning was important, but Bam has to understand you can’t go near people. Like when they’re driving in and they’re going to have a lay-up, then give them the lay-up. I keep telling them, this isn’t football. That is not a touchdown. We may score in four seconds. Give them the lay-up. Your foul kills us. That basket we’ll make up,” Calipari said.