Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie was
surprised when a reporter told him that North Carolina senior
All-American Tyler Hansbrough won't play on Tuesday when the
Wildcats take on the top-ranked Tar Heels.
But for Gillispie, it didn't really matter.
"Then they're down to four or five pro players instead of six
or seven," Gillispie said.
The Wildcats (0-1) head to Chapel Hill, N.C., trying to bounce
back from a stunning 111-103 loss to Virginia Military Institute
The Keydets' run-and-gun style caught the Wildcats flat-footed.
The bad news is the Tar Heels (1-0) may be even faster.
"Their speed is tremendous," Gillispie said. "I don't think
anyone has done as great of a job of really emphasizing and really
instilling their will upon you as far as their transition
Kentucky struggled on both ends of the floor against VMI, which
controlled the tempo and exploited Kentucky's inexperience at point
Guards Michael Porter and DeAndre Liggins combined for 12 of
Kentucky's 25 turnovers and had trouble covering VMI's shooters as
the Keydets hit 14 3-pointers. Yet the Wildcats know they have to
put the game out of their mind quickly.
"We can't go into North Carolina still thinking about that
game," forward Ramon Harris said. "We have to go in there and be
prepared to win."
Gillispie said he thinks his players have made strides over the
last three days but added there's still plenty of work to be done.
"We have to do everything better," Gillispie said. "But I'm
sure we will."
Keeping up with the Tar Heels will be an issue for Kentucky.
Gillispie said the Wildcats will have to try and slow things down
whenever possible. That means getting the ball inside to forward
Patrick Patterson, who had just eight points against VMI.
"Every time we get the opportunity to pass the ball to Pat, we
need to," Gillispie said. "And we don't need to get in the habit
of missing him too often. We need to get it to him when he's
Aside from Hansbrough, North Carolina will be without senior
guard Marcus Ginyard. Gillispie praised their replacements,
freshmen Tyler Zeller and Ed Davis, who helped lead the Tar Heels
over Penn on Saturday. Even without the two seniors, the coach
isn't expecting North Carolina to miss a beat.
"I don't think anyone's ever caught Carolina at a good time,"
Gillispie said. "There's a reason they're No. 1 in every poll and
a unanimous choice. They have not one good player, they have a
Kentucky will look to avoid opening the season 0-2 for the first
time in eight years and snap a four-game losing streak to the Tar