What you need to know: No. 10 Kentucky vs. Notre Dame men's basketball matchup

Tom Noie
ND Insider
Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) averages a double double for points and rebounds for a Kentucky team that gets to the backboard better than any Division I team in the country.

MEN’S BASKETBALL 

WHO: Notre Dame (3-4) vs. No. 10 Kentucky (7-1) 

WHERE: Purcell Pavilion (9,149) 

WHEN: Saturday at 5:15 p.m. 

TICKETS: A limited number of lower- and upper-arena seats available.

TV: ESPN 

RADIO: WSBT (960 AM) 

ONLINE: Follow every Notre Dame game with live updates from Tribune beat writer Tom Noie at twitter.com/tnoieNDI 

NOTING: Power forward Oscar Tshiebwe scored 23 points with 14 rebounds and guard TyTy Washington added 14 points and five assists in Tuesday’s home victory over Southern, 76-64. The Wildcats scored 34 points in the paint and finished with a 41-25 rebounding advantage. … Kentucky leads the nation in rebounding advantage (+19.0). … Four Wildcats average double figures for points led by Tshiebwe, a West Virginia transfer, who averages 15.3 points and 15.4 rebounds. … Kentucky averages 82.6 points per game; Notre Dame averages 69.0 and has scored over 72 once the first seven games. … Kentucky returns one starter off last year’s team that finished 9-16 overall, 8-9 and eighth place in the Southeastern Conference. It was UK’s first losing season since 1988-89 when it went 13-19 in Eddie Sutton’s final season. Kentucky was picked this preseason to finish first in the SEC. … In 114 seasons of college basketball, Kentucky has won at least 20 games 61 times and won at least 30 15 times. …. Former Iowa guard/transfer CJ Fredrick is expected to miss the season after undergoing hamstring surgery. He’s the nephew of former Irish guard Joe Fredrick. … Both teams enter Saturday’s game having not beaten a Power Five team this season. Kentucky is 0-1 with an opening-season loss to No. 3 Duke. Notre Dame is 0-2 with losses to SEC member Texas A&M and Illinois. … This is Kentucky’s first true road game. … Kentucky leads the all-time series 43-20. Notre Dame is 9-5 at home. The Irish shoot for victories over the Wildcats in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1945-46. … Notre Dame has won two of three and three of the last five in the series. The teams meet again next season to close out a three-year series agreement. Next year’s game site remains TBD. … Last year’s win by Notre Dame was its first ever at Rupp Arena. … This is Kentucky’s first visit to Purcell Pavilion since a 64-50 Irish win on Nov. 29, 2012. … Kentucky is the first ranked team Notre Dame plays this season. … The Irish snapped a 28-game losing streak to ranked teams last season when it beat then-No. 11 Florida State in the regular season finale. … The Irish have lost three straight and four of five. … This is Notre Dame’s third home game this season and first in 25 days after five consecutive games away from home. … The Irish are coming off a 73-57 loss to Boston College in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Dec. 3. … The Irish rank 10th or worse in 11 ACC statistical categories, including 13th for steals (5.0), 14th for field goal percentage defense (.443) and 15th – last – in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.426). Out of 350 Division I teams, Notre Dame is 346 in 3-point field goal percentage defense. … Notre Dame gets another week off from game action before a Dec. 18 game against Indiana in the annual – and final – Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis.  

QUOTING: "Now is big-boy time. So, we go fight. Like Coach (John Calipari) says, if you're not willing to fight then go be a cheerleader on the bench. We know now it's tough to work hard, but it's a good time to work hard, to go fight. We're going to go and fight to get better. I know we're going to be ready for this upcoming game." 

— Power forward Oscar Tshiebwe on Kentucky’s upcoming slate of games against Notre Dame, Ohio State, Louisville and Missouri. 

— TOM NOIE

Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI