Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rivals to use battle to measure progress

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Identity-building seems more important right now for No. 12 Kentucky and 16th-ranked archrival Louisville than claiming Bluegrass bragging rights.

The winner of today's noon showdown (Ch. 10) at Rupp Arena can take a big step in that process, along with giving its fan base something to feel good about entering conference play.

The young and talented Wildcats, replacing seven players who turned pro after last season, are still finding their way after opening at No. 2. They face an 11-1 Louisville squad with something to prove as well, and Kentucky junior guard Dominique Hawkins believes that beating another quality opponent provides more motivation than the rivalry.

"We know that they're a great pressing team and I'm pretty sure that's what we're going to prepare for," the Richmond, Ky., native said of the Cardinals. "It's just another game and we're just looking to win."

If the Wildcats are going to come away with a victory, they'll have to beat a Cardinals team that might be even hungrier than Ohio State. The Buckeyes were unfazed by Kentucky's height and hype in their 74-67 win last week in Brooklyn. Ohio State led throughout and withstood a second-half rally led by Jamal Murray's 33-point explosion.

Impressive as Murray's game was, Kentucky coach John Calipari seeks more offensive contributions. A presence in the middle will be needed on both ends against the quick, physical Cardinals.

As Kentucky works to establish continuity, its inside game could be helped with the addition of 6-foot-10, 255-pound forward Tai Wynyard from New Zealand. He has had only a couple of workouts, and Calipari has been coy about whether he'll play today because he's a work in progress — much like the Wildcats.

"We've got things that we've got to do," Calipari said. "We're still tweaking offensively exactly how we have to play. I saw some good stuff in the second half of that game (Ohio State). But, we're a ways away."

Rivals to use battle to measure progress 12/25/15 [Last modified: Friday, December 25, 2015 9:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Bay Downs full of high-paying races this season

    Parimutuels

    OLDSMAR — Tampa Bay Downs is green like never before.

  2. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  3. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.
  4. Quarterback Jameis Winston will start Sunday for the Bucs

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Jameis Winston hadn't thrown in practice since he injured his right shoulder in Sunday's loss at Arizona, and with that uncertainty, a wide line of TV cameras and reporters' cellphones were all out Friday morning, recording the moment as Winston tested his shoulder with his first throws early in …

    Despite a sore shoulder, Jameis Winston will be making his 38th consecutive start since being drafted first overall in 2015.
  5. Bucs journal: LB Kwon Alexander ready to return from injury

    Bucs

    TAMPA — LB Kwon Alexander, sidelined by a hamstring injury since the second quarter of the Bucs' season opener against Chicago, will finally make a healthy return Sunday against the Bills.

    Linebacker Kwon Alexander needs “to get my stats back up” after being out since the opener.