Lamar (8-4) at (3) Kentucky (11-1)
Wednesday, December 28th, 8:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Rupp Arena (23,000) -- Lexington, Kentucky. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Lamar 5-0, Kentucky 8-0. Away Record: Lamar 3-4, Kentucky 0-1. Neutral Record: Lamar 0-0, Kentucky 3-0. Conference Record: Lamar 0-0, Kentucky 0-0. Series Record: Kentucky leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The third-ranked Kentucky Wildcats aim for their 43rd consecutive home win tonight, as the Lamar Cardinals come to Rupp Arena for a non- conference tilt.
Lamar enters this game with an 8-4 record, but none of its eight victories have come over an opponent of Kentucky's stature. The Cardinals did take on a national powerhouse the last time out as well, as they fell to Ohio State last Tuesday in a 70-50 final. Lamar will dive into a full Southland Conference slate in early January.
As for Kentucky, it is considered the favorite to win the SEC, which is loaded once again. The Wildcats have won their last three games since the lone defeat of the season, a one-point setback at Indiana. Last Thursday, the 'Cats crushed Loyola-Maryland in an 87-63 final as expected.
Kentucky has won both of its previous meetings with Lamar, including a 42- point romp over the Cardinals in 2008.
Lamar simply couldn't generate enough offense to keep things close against Ohio State last week, as the team shot a dismal 35.1 percent from the field in that affair and misfired on all 12 of its three-point attempts. The Cardinals finished with only six assists against 16 turnovers and would have lost by an even greater margin if not for the fact that Ohio State shot 42.1 percent from the foul line. Stan Brown posted 10 points and 10 rebounds in defeat, while teammate Devon Lamb added 10 points as well. Lamar is generating 72.1 ppg while allowing 66.8 ppg to opponents to 39.7 percent field goal efficiency. Anthony Miles is the top scorer for the Cardinals with his 16.1 ppg, and he is tops in assists (47) as well. Mike James provides 13.3 ppg, and Lamb checks in with 11.0 ppg and 8.7 rpg. As for Charlie Harper, he rounds out a foursome of double-digit scorers with 10.8 ppg and 7.4 rpg.
Kentucky has one of the youngest teams in all of college basketball, but that hasn't deterred John Calipari's group from achieving success. Doron Lamb, a sophomore, leads a talented squad with 16.1 ppg on the strength of his 50 percent shooting from three-point range. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist provides 13.1 ppg and 6.9 rpg, while Terrence Jones adds 12.4 ppg and 6.2 rpg. Anthony Davis brings 11.8 ppg and 10.0 rpg to the court for the Wildcats, and the standout freshman has blocked 52 shots already. Marquis Teague (10.9 ppg) and Darius Miller (10.2 ppg) round out a group of six double-digit scorers for Kentucky, which is generating 82.2 ppg while limiting foes to 58.7 ppg on 34.9 percent field goal efficiency. In the 24-point romp over Loyola-Maryland, the Wildcats shot 53.8 percent from the field and earned a 28-8 edge in points from the foul line. Kyle Wiltjer had a breakout performance in that affair, as the freshman tallied 24 points in 25 minutes of action off the bench.
There is no reason to expect an upset in this affair, as Kentucky figures to jump on top of Lamar early and never look back. The Wildcats have as good a chance to win the national title as any team in the country.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kentucky 89, Lamar 62
12/28 11:10:15 ET