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November 30, 2012
With Notre Dame loss still fresh, Cats face Baylor
The Wildcats need a push.
After being bullied at Notre Dame Thursday night, Kentucky wants to get back to its winning ways, but that might not be an easy task Saturday when Baylor comes to Rupp Arena.
UK head coach John Calipari expects the Bears to push back.
"They have big guys," Calipari said. "Their guard play (Pierre Jackson), he's tremendous. They run pick-and-rolls, get up and down the court, isolations."
Both teams will head into Saturday's matchup coming off a loss. The Irish beat Kentucky 64-50 on Thursday, and College of Charleston upset Baylor last Saturday, though the Bears played without sharpshooter Brady Heslip, sat out the game due to an emergency appendectomy.
He's listed as a game time decision for Saturday, but Calipari expects him to play.
"The shooter who was out last game, which is probably why they got beat, I imagine he'll be back," Calipari said. "He can really shoot. If he gets it off it's in."
Heslip averages 11.6 points per game, and nearly three three-point field goals.
The Cats and Bears played each other for a trip to the Final Four last season, with UK beating Baylor 82-70 in Atlanta.
Shutting down Heslip - the junior only attempted two threes and was held to three points - was key to UK's win.
Heslip and Jackson are the team's only two returning starters.
"They're a little different (than last year)," Calipari said. "They're a good team."
But the Cats won't have much time to prepare for this season's Baylor team. The Cats will only have 39 hours from the end of the Notre Dame game until tipoff against Baylor.
Calipari said the team would film and go through a walk through, and that will be the extent of UK's Baylor prep.
"I wish we had nine days, but we don't," Calipari said. "We have one afternoon."
The Cats will need to be wary of Baylor's scoring attack and expect a fast-paced, high-scoring affair. The Bears are averaging 79.2 points per game, compared to UK's 79.3. And like UK, Baylor has a plethora of players that can put up big numbers in any given game.
Four Bears have had games scoring at least 16 points. And Jackson and Heslip have had 31- and 29-point games respectively.
Calipari said Baylor could, "go for 100."