Utah, the sixth seed in the Austin Region, has had their season ended by the Wildcats five times since 1993. Yet despite that fact, the cocky and confident ‘runnin' Utes have made it perfectly clear they are not intimidated nor are they afraid of the ‘big bad bullies' of the South.
"(Kentucky)'s just the next opponent on our schedule. I don't think it's anything to even address, to be honest with you," coach Ray Giacoletti said of the 5 season-ending losses by an average margin of 18.4 points.
Whether it's to sell tickets or to make the matchup bigger than it already is, Utah's team and its media have made it a point to tell the nation they will be ready for whatever UK has in store.
"We match up well against them," senior Marc Jackson told the Salt Lake Tribune. "Definitely, we have a great inside presence with Bogut, and our perimeters . . . I think with the defensive pride that our perimeters have, we've held a lot of good perimeters to limited points."
Most evident from Utah's bunch is the unwillingness to concede anything to Tubby's formidable freshmen, whom have carried the team to this point and have received much praise in doing so.
"It gives us a big advantage," Hawkins told the Tribune. "I mean, their freshmen are pretty good. But experience sometimes is little better than just talent, because you're a little smarter and know what to do in certain situations."
"It's a different situation," All-American Andrew Bogut said about UK's freshmen. "It's not conference, it's not the conference tournament. It's nothing like those two put together."