College Basketball

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(3) Kentucky (6-1) vs. Providence (7-1)



Sunday, December 1, 8:30 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Frank Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Site: Barclays Center (18,103) -- Brooklyn, New York. Television: FS1. Home Record: UK 6-0, PC 5-0. Away Record: UK 0-0, PC 0-0. Neutral Record: UK 0-1, PC 2-1. Conference Record: UK 0-0, PC 0-0. Series Record: Kentucky leads, 1-0.

GAME NOTES: Two teams off to impressive starts get together at the Barclays Center tonight, as the third-ranked Kentucky Wildcats clash with the Providence Friars.

Kentucky was the preseason No. 1 team in the land, and it jumped out to a 2-0 start following lopsided wins over UNC Asheville and Northern Kentucky. But then came a bout against Michigan State in Chicago, and it was the Spartans who came out on top in that one, 78-74. Since then however, the Wildcats have run off four straight victories, the latest being an 81-63 decision over Eastern Michigan on Wednesday.

Providence too has only one loss on the season, that coming in a 56-52 final versus Maryland last Monday. The setback snapped what had been a season- opening five-game win streak for the Friars, who bounced back from the recent loss to knock off Fairfield on Friday, 78-69.

Kentucky won the only other meeting between these two teams, slipping by the Friars, 79-78, during the 1976 NIT.

Kentucky's naysayers will tell you that outside of the Michigan State game, which they lost, the Wildcats haven't played anyone of significance this season. So with that, the team's gaudy scoring average of 85.3 ppg is somewhat hollow. Adding fuel to that fire is the fact that the young 'Cats are shooting just 28.9 percent from 3-point range and actually turn the ball over more than the opposition (13.0 tpg to 9.6 tpg). The team boasts four double-digit scorers, with Julius Randle putting up monster numbers in the first month of his collegiate career. Randle averages a double-double with 19.0 points and 13.3 rebounds per game, but he does give the ball away far too often, coughing it up 27 times, or nearly four times per game. Aaron Harrison (13.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg), James Young (12.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg) and Andrew Harrison (10.7 ppg, 3.7 apg) round out the offensive-minded quartet. UK recently logged the 500th win at legendary Rupp Arena with its double-digit decision over previously unbeaten Eastern Michigan. Aaron Harrison led four players in double figures, netting 22 points, while Randle finished with 14 points and 10 boards. Kentucky shot just 3-of-16 from long range, but held the Eagles to 36.4 percent field goal efficiency, which included a 4-of-19 showing from distance.

Providence has four double-digit scorers as well, with Bryce Cotton leading the way at 18.5 ppg. He also serves as the team's primary playmaker with 5.3 apg, but he is anything but a sure thing when it comes to shooting the basketball, connecting on only 37.1 percent of his field goal attempts, which includes a dismal 24.4 percent effort from beyond the arc. LaDonate Henton (13.6 ppg, 8.0 rpg), Kadeem Batts (13.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Tyler Harris (13.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg) have all been productive for the Friars, who put up 73.2 ppg while allowing only 61.5 ppg. They are shooting just 41.1 percent from the floor, knocking down a meager 29.4 percent of their 3-point attempts, but they lay claim to positive margins in both rebounding (+6.6) and turnovers (+1.0). Cotton poured in a game-high 24 points in the recent win over Fairfield, and he was joined in double figures by the other four guys in the starting lineup. Providence won the game despite knocking down just 41.3 percent of its total shots, which included a 2-of-11 showing from beyond the arc. A substantial 38- of-45 effort at the foul line certainly helped the cause, as did a defensive effort that held the Stags to 38.9 percent field goal efficiency.

Athletically speaking, Kentucky is the superior team to almost every opponent, but Providence isn't about to let that stand in its way of putting forth maximum effort in an attempt to secure an upset victory. In the end however, expect the Wildcats to prevail as they look ahead to even tougher bouts on the immediate horizon.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kentucky 81, Providence 72

12/01 10:37:12 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 2
DUR 9
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR
 
7:05pm Tuesday
PHI 0
ATL 0
7:05pm Tuesday
NYY 0
CHC 0
7:05pm Tuesday
BAL 0
TAM 0
7:08pm Tuesday
DET 0
CLE 0
Final
CIN 7
PIT 5
Final
MIA 11
WAS 2
Final
TEX 5
SEA 0
Final
CWS 2
BOS 1
Final
HOU 2
KAN 4
Final
MIL 1
STL 6
Final
MIN 3
TOR 9
Final
ARI 0
NYM 9
Final
ANA 9
OAK 10
Final
SDP 2
COL 3
Final
SFG 3
LOS 2
12:35pm Today
CIN
PIT
12:35pm Today
BAL
TAM
 
1:05pm Today
NYY
CHC
 
1:10pm Today
MIL
STL
 
3:40pm Today
ARI
NYM
 
7:05pm Tonight
PHI
ATL
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
CHC
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CLE
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
WAS
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
SEA
 
8:10pm Tonight
CWS
BOS
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
KAN
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
TOR
 
10:05pm Tonight
ANA
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
10:15pm Tonight
SFG
LOS
 
Final
BRK 98
NYK 109
Final
LAC 117
DEN 105
7:00pm Tonight
CHA
CHI
 
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
IND
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIL
ATL
 
8:00pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
 
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
DAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
DET
 
8:00pm Tonight
NOP
HOU
 
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
LAL
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIA
PHI
 
8:00pm Tonight
NYK
TOR
 
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
UTA
 
8:00pm Tonight
BOS
WAS
 
10:30pm Tonight
DEN
GSW
 
10:30pm Tonight
POR
LAC
 
10:30pm Tonight
SAC
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MON
7:30pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
Final
CHR 2
DUR 9
 
7:05pm Tonight
DUR
NOR