GAMEDAY: UK vs. UNC Asheville

Julius Randle

Kentucky opens its 111th season of college basketball on Friday night at Rupp Arena as UNC Asheville visits Lexington. This AllWildcats.com GAMEDAY feature gets you ready for what to expect as the Wildcats square off with the Bulldogs.

KENTUCKY vs. UNC ASHEVILLE
Friday, 7 p.m. ET
Rupp Arena, Lexington, KY.
TV: FOX Sports South/UK IMG Network

KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Record: 0-0, 0-0 in SEC
Rankings: No. 1 (AP)/No. 1 (Coaches Poll)
Last Game: Def. Montevallo, 95-72 (exh.)
Head Coach: John Calipari
Overall Record: 568-166 (.774)
at UK: 123-26 (.826)
Last Five Games: 2-0 (exh.)
Calipari vs. UNC Asheville: 1-0
All-Time Series: UK leads, 3-0

UNC ASHEVILLE BULLDOGS:
Record: 0-0, 0-0 in Big South
Rankings: n/a
Last Game: Def. Brevard, 86-45 (exh.)
Head Coach: Nick McDevitt
Overall Record: First Season
at UNC Asheville: First Season
Last Five Games: 1-0 (exh.)
McDevitt vs. Kentucky: n/a
Last Meeting: UK, 94-57, (11/30/2009)

KEYS TO THE GAME:
Kentucky begins its quest for a ninth national championship with a No. 1 ranking, but a roster that includes nine newcomers, so experience could be a big factor early in the season. The Wildcats played both of their exhibition tune-ups without starting point guard Andrew Harrison, who had been hobbled with a bruised knee. Will the Cats have cohesion with his return to the lineup? Aaron Harrison and James Young provide UK with a wealth of scoring pop from the wings, while preseason player of the year candidate Julius Randle averaged 18.5 points and 11.5 rebounds in the Cats' two exhibition wins. Keep a close eye on Calipari's rotation. He says he'd like to play no more than seven players the majority of the minutes, so who's in line for the top two spots off the bench?

UNC Asheville had good scoring balance in its 86-45 exhibition win over Brevard College, including 17 points from freshman guard Andrew Rowsey and 16 from junior guard Corey Littlejohn. Sophomore forward Will Weeks, a Big South All-Freshman selection last season, had only two points, but grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out eight assists. The Bulldogs held a 54-27 rebounding advantage, so UK must be prepared to box out and keep the smaller, but aggressive opponent off the glass. Calipari says the Cats will get a strong physical challenge.

ON THIS DAY IN UK HISTORY:
This marks the first time in program history that the Wildcats have played a game on Nov. 8. The earliest UK tipoff was a Nov. 6 matchup with Central Arkansas during the 2007-08 season. The infamous Gardner-Webb loss came the next day.

NOTES:
• The Wildcats are in their 111th season of basketball and are the national leaders in total wins with 2,111.

• UK is 90-12 all-time in season-openers. The Cats are 4-0 under Calipari in the first game of the season.

• Kentucky is 176-26 all-time while ranked No. 1 by AP. The Cats have won 18 of their last 19 games when holding the top ranking in the nation.

• UK holds a 494-62 (.889) all-time record at Rupp Arena.

• The Cats last met UNC Asheville during the 2009-10 season in a neutral-court matchup at Freedom Hall. Kentucky posted a 94-57 win with DeMarcus Cousins scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Patrick Patterson followed with 17 points and nine rebounds. John Wall added 12 points and 14 assists.

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