Speculation Swirls Around Gillispie As Cats Head To Omaha

Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie says he's
happy coaching the Wildcats even as rumors persist about his job
security.
The second-year coach spent 10 minutes answering questions about
his job status on Sunday, one day before the Wildcats (21-13)
travel to Creighton (27-7) for the second round of the National
Invitation Tournament.
Gillispie dismissed speculation he met with top university
officials on Friday to talk about his position.
"I would say there have probably been a few rumors," Gillispie
said. "I don't worry about it much. I worry about the things that
I can control. And what we can control is how we prepare for
Creighton."
Gillispie added that he enjoys his job as the coach of college
basketball's all-time winningest program.
"Shoot I love it here," he said. "I love this place."
Gillispie added the players love it to despite the Wildcats
missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in 18 years.
"Our guys are having fun and I'm having fun, and they're very
determined to play," he said. "We'll just go out there and see
what we can do."
Kentucky not making the NCAA tournament was a learning
experience for his young players, Gillispie said.
"Unfortunately we didn't make the NCAA tournament like we all
wanted to do," Gillispie said. "I think it hit hard when we
weren't in there and that has forced us to mature dramatically. And
it will pay dividends, if it hasn't paid dividends already."
Those dividends include what Gillispie described as motivation
to spur next season's team, a team he said could win anything with
the talent Kentucky has and will bring in.
"Experience is the best teacher," Gillispie said.
When asked if he himself had learned anything as a coach from
not making the NCAA tournament, Gillispie said he hadn't reflected
on his time at Kentucky and was only focused on preparing for a
Creighton team that is fired up to play the Wildcats.
Kentucky last played at Creighton on Dec. 19, 1940.
The Bluejays are led by senior guard Booker Woodfox, who
averages 15.7 points games.
"They're good in every area," Gillispie said. "They're a very
sound team."
Gillispie said that junior guard Jodie Meeks, who has seen his
shooting percentage fall the last few games, has been worn down by
the stresses of the season and opposing defenses. Gillispie said
opposing defenses have been the culprit in sophomore forward
Patrick Patterson's drop in productivity underneath the basket.
The Bluejays have given Kentucky potential bulletin board
material, outlining in their media guide that they will play a home
game on March 25 against Notre Dame.
The winner of Monday's game will play the Fighting Irish in the
quarterfinals.
As a lower seed, if Kentucky wins Monday they will travel to
Notre Dame.


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