College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 31, 2010
Getting together for their annual contest to determine bragging rights for the state of Kentucky, Louisville coach Rick Pitino and his troops welcomed John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats into KFC Yum! Arena (sorry, that's what they're calling it these days) for a New Year's Eve celebration between the 11th (Kentucky) and 22nd-ranked teams in the nation.
It didn't take long for the Wildcats to feel perfectly at home in Louisville's venue, however, as the Wildcats raced to a 35-24 lead at the half and rode easy layups by Josh Harrellson and expert shooting by Brandon Knight to a 78-63 triumph.
Harrellson, conveniently left open near the basket on far too many occasions, dipped in 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting and snagged 14 rebounds as the Wildcats used their superior size and passing skills to dominate in the paint. The Wildcats outrebounded the Cardinals 36-24, and when Harrellson wasn't collecting easy entry passes, freshman Brandon Knight was making hay from the perimeter. Knight nailed 4-of-6 three-pointers en route to a game-high 25 points. Both Knight and Harrellson recorded career highs in scoring for the 'Cats.
Both Louisville and Kentucky have compiled 11-2 records thus far in the season.
Notable: There's still no love from the pollsters for the Cincinnati Bearcats, who went to 14-0 with a blowout, 70-53, win over Seton Hall. The Bearcats are also 2-0 in the Big East, and while they've beaten only DePaul and Seton Hall, they've been by huge margins. Come on, Man! 14-0 has to count for something.
An unbeaten team that hasn't escaped the purview of the polls is #7 San Diego State, now 15-0 thanks to a 93-50 bombing of Occidental. The Aztecs have never been ranked so high.
After losing their Big East opener to Pitt earlier in the week, #4 Connecticut had to go into overtime to down the upstart Bulls from South Florida, 68-61. Kemba Walker, still leading the nation in scoring at 26.7 points per game, had 24 for the Huskies, now 11-1.