By Ken Howlett
As Wildcat fans prepare for Kentucky to take on the Boise State Broncos, here are the Game Notes.
The undefeated Boise State Broncos (8-0) visit the Kentucky Wildcats (7-2) for an ESPN televised tilt. The Broncos, coming off an 80-52 win over Carroll College, bring an up-tempo, dribble-drive offensive mindset to Rupp Arena, and will challenge the 'Cats with pressure defense.
Here are your game notes as UK prepares to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to the Baylor Bears:
- Tonight's game marks the first meeting between the two schools.
- Broncos head coach Leon Rice is in his fourth season as the leader of BSU's basketball program. Last season, Rice led the Boise to an at-large NCAA Tournament bid, the school's first such invitation. Rice, in two of his first three seasons at BSU, led the Broncs to two 20-win seasons, the first time since Boise became a Division I basketball program in the 1970-1971 season that a new head coach has accomplished that feat. Rice has a 64-41 in his three-plus years at the school.
- Rice spent 11 seasons working under Gonzaga's Mark Few -- one of John Calipari's close coaching friends -- serving as associate head coach from 2007-2010.
- Boise plays its home game in Taco Bell Arena. No, seriously.
- Boise and UK have one common opponent: Texas-Arlington. Boise bested UTA 116-87, while the 'Cats beat UTA by a count of 105-76.
- Boise has eight players averaging at least 12.1 minutes per game.
- Boise's long-distance triple-threat -- Jeff Elorriaga, a 6-2 senior guard has connected on 26-of-41 3-points shots on the season (63.4 percent); Nick Duncan, a 6-8 freshman forward has made 9-of-21 from distance (42.9 percent); and 6-5 senior guard Thomas Bropleh has been true on 8-of-17 from long-range (47.1 percent).
- Boise State's high pressure defense has been responsible for 75 steals on the season (9.4 per game).
- The Broncos boast five players a scoring in double-figures, led by 6-6 junior swing Anthony Drmic at 20.4 points per game (Drmic missed BSU's last game with an undisclosed illness).
- Ryan Watkins, a 6-9 senior forward, leads the Broncs in rebounding at 10.4 boards per game.
- Last season, BSU's conference, the Mountain West, was the nation's top RPI league.
- UK is 21-2 all-time when playing schools from the Mountain West.
- In BSU's last game, against Carroll College, the five Bronco starters combined to make 21-of-39 overall shots from the field (53.8 percent) and 9-of-16 from long-range (56.3 percent).
- BSU takes an average of 30.4 free throws per game, making 75.3 percent of its attempts from the stripe.
- Boise takes an average of 20.5 3-pointers per game, making shots from distance at a 40.2 percent clip.
- Boise State's 91.2 points per game scoring average ranks second in the nation.
- UK's all-time victory total now stands at 2,118.
- James Young has made multiple 3-pointers in five games this year, including two straight.
- Kentucky is eighth in the nation in rebound margin, posting a plus-12.0 on the boards.
- UK is seventh in the nation in blocks per game at 7.6 swats per contest.
- The Wildcats' lead the SEC in offensive rebound percentage, snagging 46.3 percent of available misses.
- When shooting a higher percentage than its opponents, UK is 7-0.
- When scoring less than 80 points the Wildcats are 2-2.
- UK is 1-2 when playing on ESPN this season.
- The 'Cats are 0-2 in games decided by five or fewer points.
- In their careers, when Alex Poythress scores in double-figures UK is 14-3; when Willie Cauley-Stein scores in double-digits Kentucky is 12-3.
- In Kentucky's last five games -- Julius Randle led the team in scoring at 15.8 points per game; the 'Cats made 37.8 percent of their 3-point shots (28-74), and 46.7 percent of their overall shots from the floor, while holding opponents to 38.2 percent field goal accuracy; Cauley-Stein had 24 blocks (4.8 per game) and Andrew Harrison averaged 4.2 assists per contest.
- Tip-off is schedule for 9:00 ET, immediately following Kansas vs. Florida.
Thanks for reading and Go 'Cats!