Cats face old rival Duke in Atlanta



By David Schuh| @KernelSchuh

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It’s been 11 years since they last met. It’s been 20 years since they played what some call the greatest game in college basketball history. And Tuesday night, they meet again.

UK and Duke square off at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta in a battle of two top 10 teams in search for a signature win early in the season.

Coming off Friday’s narrow win over Maryland, UK could be without sophomore guard Ryan Harrow, who is still recovering from flu symptoms that limited him to only 10 minutes of play against the Terrapins.

“Same,” UK head coach John Calipari said when asked about Harrow’s condition. “He had some blood tests and some different things. We have to get him to 100 percent; he’s got to find energy.”

Duke opened their season against Georgia State at home Friday, winning by 19. The Blue Devils were led by senior forward Mason Plumlee’s 19 points and 14 rebounds. As the leader of a fairly experienced squad, he will be a focal point Calipari’s game plan.

“Plumlee may be the best big guy we see all year,” Calipari said. “(Alex) Len is pretty good, but Plumlee is clearly better.”

A key matchup to watch will be at the guard position between Duke senior guard Seth Curry and UK freshman guard Archie Goodwin.

Curry averaged just over 13 points per game last season, shooting 42 percent from the three-point line. Goodwin’s 16 points on Friday were second on UK’s team. He was aggressive attacking the basket, shooting 9-11 from the free throw line.

“That’s why I like him at point guard,” Calipari said of Goodwin. “That’s the kind of stuff you want because the guy with the ball can score anytime he wants.”

A point of emphasis for the Cats will be improvement in rebounding margin. UK was outrebounded 54-38 by Maryland, also surrendering 28 offensive rebounds to the Terrapins.

“We just have to be more aggressive and want to get more rebounds,” freshman forward Willie Cauley-Stein said. “If we rebound, we are going to win the game. We just have to learn from it.”

The magnitude of the rivalry will be huge for fans. Even though these teams rarely play each other, fans from both sides generally despise the other.

“I don’t remember that rivalry as much as other rivalries,” junior Jarrod Polson said. “But in the minds of a lot of Kentucky fans this is a rivalry. So I think it will be fun to watch.”

The game, part of the State Farm Champions Classic, will tip off at 9:30 p.m. It will be broadcast on ESPN.