Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Notebook

Alex Poythress remains "day to day" with a sore right knee, Coach Cal says Tyler Ulis may be college basketball's "MVP," and the Cats avoid getting docked in the polls after the infamous loss at Tennessee. All part of this week's edition of the UK Basketball Notebook.

Alex Poythress, who sat out Saturday's 80-61 win over Florida at Rupp Arena after experiencing pregame soreness in his right knee, remains questionable for Tuesday night's home game against Georgia.

Kentucky head coach John Calipari said Monday night during his weekly radio call-in show that Poythress was not able to practice earlier in the day. The senior forward had tests done to determine if the knee -- which was not the one that underwent ACL surgery last year -- had any damage. Those scans came back negative.

"He's day to day," Calipari said. "There's been swelling. They're just trying to figure it all out. It swelled on him on Thursday, but he practiced great on Friday, and then Saturday when he got up it was tight and swelled up a bit. So right before the game the doctor came and said, 'Cal, he's out.'"

Poythress is averaging 10.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.

In Poythress' absence, freshman center Isaac Humphries took advantage with his first significant playing time since Dec. 3. The Australian 7-footer scored four points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked two shots in 15 minutes off the bench.

Calipari indicated that, if Poythress cannot play against Georgia, freshman power forward Tai Wynyard may also be in line for his UK debut. The 6-foot-10, 255-pound New Zealand product has yet to log a minute since joining the program in January.


Sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis turned in yet another dazzling performance in the win over Florida, recording 18 points and dishing out a career-high 11 assists with only two turnovers in 38 minutes of action.

While a handful of other players are getting more attention for national honors, including Oklahoma's Buddy Hield and LSU's Ben Simmons, Calipari said Monday that no player means more to his team than his 5-foot-9, 160-pound floor general.

"This guy is so unique," Calipari said. "He plays with a will to win, a fight to win, an emotion to win, that is just not normal.

"Please don't compare anybody to that little guy. It's just not fair to anybody. He is ridiculous. Right now, when you talk about most valuable players to a basketball team, I don't know of any player in college basketball more valuable to their team than he is to ours."

Ulis, a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award honoring the country's top point guard, is averaging 16.2 points, 6.1 assists per game and 1.4 steals per game. He has 10 games of at least 20 points and five assists, the first player in program history since assists became an officially tracked stat category in 1972 to accomplish that feat.

He's been even better against top competition, averaging 21.7 points and 7.3 assists against ranked opponents.


Many suspected Kentucky may drop out of the polls after blowing a 21-point lead and losing 84-77 last Tuesday to a Tennessee team with a 10-11 record. The new polls, however, were kind to the Cats. UK dropped from No. 20 to No. 22 in the AP Top 25, while sliding from No. 19 to No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

Perhaps the details of losing early in the week were lost on voters? Or maybe the Cats earned back a bit of respect by crushing a Florida squad that had won five of its previous six games?

Villanova is the nation's new No. 1 team in the AP poll, followed by Maryland, Oklahoma and Iowa.

UK receives even more respect in ESPN "bracketologist" Joe Lunardi's latest NCAA Tournament projection. The Cats are a No. 4 seed in the South region alongside No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Xavier and No. 3 Michigan State. The tradition-rich region would also include Duke (6) and Indiana (8).

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