Kentucky-Notre Dame Preview

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey has his own one-and-done plan when it
comes to No. 8 Kentucky.

He wants to limit the number of offensive rebounds the Wildcats
get, but it was an apt choice of words considering the opponent.
The game Thursday night pits two programs that have starkly
different philosophies.

Notre Dame (6-1) has five starters back from last year’s team,
two seniors – including sixth-year player Scott Martin – two
juniors and a sophomore. Kentucky, known for coach John Calipari’s
acceptance of one-and-done players, is expected to start three
freshmen, a sophomore and a transfer. The Wildcats (4-1) lost six
players from last year’s national championship team, which saw four
players drafted in the first round and two more in the second
round.

That’s almost as many players as Notre Dame has had drafted the
past two decades combined. Thirty NBA scouts are expected at the
game, and most are expected to be watching Kentucky.

“They’ve been one-and-done the past couple of years and guys in
this program most of the time go all the way through,” said Irish
guard Jerian Grant, son of former NBA player Harvey Grant.

Brey hopes experience will be an advantage, saying it’s what the
Irish have depended on since he arrived at Notre Dame in 2000.

“It’s been a big thing that’s helped us over the years is we’ve
stayed old,” Brey said. “We’ve not had to rely on playing a lot of
young guys.”

Brey said it’s not that he wouldn’t take a one-and-done player,
saying he’s recruited some, but said Notre Dame is more likely to
keep players four or five years.

“When you’re redshirting guys and taking transfers, you’re able
to stay old. I’ve always said I don’t want to be in a position
where I’m going to the Carrier Dome starting three freshmen,” he
said. “Thankfully I’ve not been in that position yet. That’s why I
think we’ve been consistent year to year.”

Kentucky junior forward Jon Hood said the Wildcats know great
players aren’t going to stay in college.

“If any team had players that were able to go one-and-done,
two-and-done, whatever, and be a first-round pick, then they would.
Don’t let them lie to you, that would cross their minds,” he said.
“What works for them works for them, and what works for us works
for us.”

Notre Dame is 40-1 in its last 41 home games and 105-7 at home
overall since the start of the 2006-07 season. The streak includes
wins over then-No. 4 Alabama in 2006, No. 5 Louisville in 2009 and
against top-ranked Syracuse last season.

The Irish have been playing under the radar most of the season,
with their own fans focused on the top-ranked Irish football team.
But with the football team on a six-week break waiting for the BCS
title game, the basketball players are hoping an enthusiastic crowd
will show up for the Kentucky game.

“I think for a lot of people it’s our season-opener,” Brey
said.

For Kentucky, the game means the return of sophomore transfer
point guard Ryan Harrow, who missed the last four games – two for
an undisclosed illness and the last two to handle a family matter
in Georgia. Calipari said he doesn’t know if Harrow is up to game
speed.

“He has done good in practice, but to say that he is ready for
that, I don’t know. We will see. I may throw him in that Notre Dame
game just to see where he is,” he said.

Harrow said he is ready.

Kentucky is 11-1 in the past 12 games against Notre Dame dating
to 1990.

AP Sports Writer Gary Graves in Lexington, Ky., contributed to
this report.