By Don Phillips
No. 1 Kentucky Wildcats (7-0) at UCLA Bruins (4-3)
Thursday, December 3
Venue: Pauley Pavilion (13,800)
Tipoff Time: 6:02 p.m. (PT)
TV Talent: Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas
Radio: AM 570
Radio Talent: Bill Roth (play-by-play), Darrick Martin (analyst)
SIRIUS Radio: Ch. 84
Kentucky is the top team in the land according to the Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Wildcats landed at No. 1 in both major polls for the second consecutive week. The Wildcats picked up 59 of the 65 first-place votes in the AP Top 25 and 29 of the 32 first-place votes in the Coaches’ Poll. UK and John Calipari have been tough to beat playing the role of the hunted: The Wildcats own an all-time record of 218-28 (.886) as the nation’s top-ranked squad. UK has won 63 of its last 66 contests as the AP’s top team. The Wildcats are 66-5 (.930) as the AP No. 1 team since Calipari’s first year at the helm, the best record in the ountry by a top-ranked team during that span. Calipari is 107-10 (.915) all-time as head coach of the AP’s No. 1 team.
John Calipari has called sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis possibly the best floor general he’s ever coached. Even amid lofty company (i.e. past Calipari point guards like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall and Brandon Knight), the numbers back it up.
The Chicago native has posted 79 points and dished out 26 assists in the first six games of the season. He sat out the game vs. Illinois State with a right elbow injury. With a solid game against Boston University, Ulis achieved two noteworthy milestones: He became the first UK player with at least five assists in four consecutive games since Brandon Knight in 2010-11. He was the first Wildcat with at least 15 points and at least five assists in three consecutive games since John Wall in 2009-10.
The Bruins have posted a 35-4 overall record at home in two-plus seasons under head coach Steve Alford. Last season, UCLA went 16-1 at home. The team’s only home loss came against Gonzaga (87-74) on Dec. 13, 2014. In 17 home games, UCLA averaged 80.7 points per game. Since UCLA re-opened renovated Pauley Pavilion (Nov. 2012), the Bruins gone 49-7 at home. Two of those seven losses came against teams ranked in the AP top 25 poll. UCLA’s regular-season schedule in 2015-16 features 17 home games.
UCLA entered the 2015-16 campaign with eight players who had played in at least one collegiate game for the Bruins. Senior forward/center Tony Parker has competed in 111 career games (50 starts), the highest total among any returning player. Following Parker on that list is junior guard Bryce Alford, who has played in all 80 games the past two-plus seasons (44 starts).
[G] 11/30/2015 – Tyler Ulis “?” Thursday vs. UCLA ( Elbow )
[F] 11/20/2015 – Isaac Humphries out indefinitely ( Foot )
[F] 11/14/2015 – Gyorgy Goloman out indefinitely ( Leg )
Selection: Kentucky No Line