Kentucky tests Notre Dame's 8-0 record

By: Joe Freda | Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Ben Hansbrough

Ben Hansbrough leads Notre Dame in Wednesday’s clash with Kentucky.

The No. 23 Notre Dame Fighting Irish have begun their season with an eight-game win streak, cashing at 3-1 against the spread in the four ‘board’ games of that span.  Mike Brey’s squad travels to Louisville’s Freedom Hall for Wednesday’s SEC/Big East Invitational battle against the No. 17 Kentucky Wildcats, who have a 1-2 spread record in three neutral-site matchups.

The contest is Wednesday's only pairing of ranked schools.  Notre Dame moved into the No. 23 slot of the latest AP poll while Kentucky slipped to 17th on the same list.

Notre Dame has been idle since Nov. 30, when Brey’s crew posted an 81-72 win as a 15 ½-point home favorite against the Indiana State Sycamores.  The Fighting Irish connected on 53.8 percent of their field buckets, while sinking 16-of-22 free throws.

Fighting Irish guard Ben Hansbrough logged a season-high 24 points, while adding a team-high five assists.  The senior hit 8-of-12 from the field, draining all four of his shots from the foul line.

Notre Dame’s Carleton Scott notched a team-high eight rebounds and logged four of his squad’s five blocks.  The forward finished with 11 points and added four assists.

The duel’s combined 153 points soared ‘over’ the ‘total’ of 133.  Notre Dame outrebounded Indiana State, 32-20, while holding the Sycamores to 44.3 percent field-goal shooting.

The Fighting Irish are 3-0 ATS in their three neutral-site contests, with the ‘under’ going 2-1.

Kentucky was edged out, 75-73, as a one-point road dog in Saturday’s game against the North Carolina Tar Heels.  The Wildcats were held to 38.7 percent shooting from the field, while being outrebounded, 40-32.

Wildcats guard Doron Lamb came off the bench to notch a season-high 24 points.  The freshman drained 3-of-4 from beyond the arc while adding three assists.

Kentucky’s Darius Miller and Josh Harrellson logged seven rebounds each, uniting for 17 points.  Miller sank 3-of-5 from downtown, while Harrellson connected on both of his field goals.

The tight affair’s combined 148 points ‘pushed’ the closing ‘total.’  Kentucky allowed 41.4 percent of North Carolina’s field buckets to connect, including 1-of-11 from beyond the arc.

Kentucky was 2-0 ATS last season in its two games that followed an SU defeat.  The ‘over’ also cashed at 2-0.

The Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings against Notre Dame, with the ‘over’ going 3-2.

The foes last met in the 2009 NIT Quarterfinals, with the Fighting Irish prevailing, 77-67, as 3 ½-point favorites.  Kentucky edged out Notre Dame in rebounds, 28-27, while both teams combined to hit 19-of-37 from three-point land.

Wednesday’s tip is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (PT), with ESPN providing the national television coverage.

Both squads will be off for two days, returning home as part of Saturday’s college basketball slate.  Kentucky will face the Indiana Hoosiers, while Notre Dame hosts the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

 
 
 
 
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