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Pitino, Chris Smith Preview Friday's Game Against Kentucky

Chris Smith was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field, totaling 10 points in Louisville's win over Morgan State.

Chris Smith was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field, totaling 10 points in Louisville's win over Morgan State.

Dec. 30, 2010

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino and junior guard Chris Smith met with the media Thursday afternoon at the Yum! Center to preview Friday's game against 12th-ranked Kentucky on Dec. 31 at the KFC Yum! Center. Start time is set for 12:06 p.m. ET, and the game is being broadcast nationally on CBS, with Gus Johnson (play-by-play) and Clark Kellogg calling the action.

The Cardinals, ranked 20th in this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and 22nd in the AP Poll, are coming off their third-straight win to improve to 11-1 on the season, tallying a 104-74 victory over Morgan State on Dec. 27. It is Louisville's third 100-plus point performance this season - second-straight - as the squad improved to 104-0 all-time when recording 100 points or more.

On an impressive 9-of-14 shooting from the field, 6-of-9 from beyond the arc, Preston Knowles registered a game- and career-high 31 points. He also went 7-of-7 from the charity stripe. Kyle Kuric was just as lethal, shooting 7-of-10 from 3 en route to 25 points. Two other Cardinals - Terrence Jennings (15 points) and Chris Smith (10 points) - finished the game in double figures in points. Notably on offensive, Louisville held an 18-8 advantage in fast break points. Defensively, the Cardinals forced 26 turnovers and registered 37 points off the change of possession.

Pitino announced that sophomore forward Rakeem Buckles broke his left index finger during the morning practice. He will have surgery to repair the injury today at the renowned Hand Care Center at Jewish Hospital and is expected to be sidelined for six weeks. Buckles leads the Cardinals and ranks ninth in the BIG EAST Conference in rebounding, averaging 7.5 per game. He had made his last five three-point goals over the last two games and was averaging 8.2 points this season, scoring in double figures in five games.

Kentucky enters the New Year's Eve contest with a 10-2 overall mark after cruising by Coppin State, 91-61, on Dec. 28. Terrence Jones led all scorers with 18 points on 9-of-12 shooting, while Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb chipped in 17 each. As a team, the Wildcats shot 57.4 percent (35-of-61) from the field and limited the Eagles to just 36.1 percent (22-of-61) shooting and only 26 points in the paint compared to Kentucky's 46.

Under the direction of John Calipari, who's in his second year at Kentucky, the Wildcats have compiled a 45-5 record and reached the NCAA Elite Eight last season. Kentucky was picked to finish second in the SEC East and received a pair of first-place votes to repeat as SEC champions. Jones leads the team in points (18.2) and rebounds (9.3) per game, while Knight is second in scoring with 17.4 points per contest.

The Series - Louisville vs. Kentucky
Kentucky owns a 27-14 advantage in the all-time series, with the teams splitting the last four contests. Last season, the meeting fell on Jan. 2, with the Wildcats posting a 71-62 victory at Rupp Arena. DeMarcus Cousins had game-highs in points (18) and rebounds (18). Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa led the Cardinals in scoring, with 11 points apiece. In the last game that took place in Louisville, which was on Jan. 3, 2009 at Freedom Hall, Sosa buried a deep 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds remaining to lift the Cardinals to a 74-71 victory. Terrence Williams led the team with 19 points and eight boards, while Sosa recorded 18 points, two assists and two steals.

GAME FACTS - Louisville vs. Kentucky
Date: Friday, Dec. 31
Time: 12:06 p.m. ET
Site: KFC Yum! Center/Crum Court, Louisville, Ky. (22,000)
TV: CBS (Ch. 32 in Louisville) will televise the game, with Gus Johnson (play-by-play) and Clark Kellogg (color) calling the action.
Radio: WKRD (790 AM, 101.7 FM) will broadcast the game on radio, with Paul Rogers (play-by-play) and Bob Valvano (color) calling the action.
SIRIUS: Game will be available on SIRIUS Channel 125 and XM Channel 203.
Series History: Kentucky leads the all-time series, 27-14 (Louisville is 6-11 at home, 6-14 in Lexington and 2-2 at neutral sites).
Officials: Jim Burr, Michael Stephens, Mike Stuart
Next U of L Game: Jan. 5 vs. Seton Hall in the KFC Yum! Center, 7 p.m. ET (ESPNU)



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