Forget the 11 losses the Cats have already suffered this season. Forget the SEC Tournament loss to Mississippi State last week. Perry still believes the Cats can not only beat Villanova, but go on to challenge a team as highly regarded as No. 1 seed Kansas — and more.
"This team can go as far as it wants to. I know that for a fact. If guys play like Randolph (Morris) did in the (SEC) tournament, then we can really make some noise," Perry said. "Joe (Crawford) has stepped his play up. The way Jodie (Meeks) has been playing, he can be a big-time player.
"We can still be a dangerous team. We just have to regroup. We have to make sure we focus on nothing but winning won game at a time. We still have a bigger prize ahead of us that I know we can win."
Admire his optimism, but question his logic. Kentucky has not shown yet it can beat high-level opponents. Sure, the Cats have played top teams close, but another close loss and UK's season will end.
Perry doesn't think the bizarre loss to Mississippi State caused in part by a free throw lane violation will haunt UK this week in Chicago when it plays Villanova Friday.
"I think we can move past it. We felt we had the game won. It was just one play that pretty much took it all away. We didn't play our best, but we fought back and that shows how we can come back. We have to get over it and move on," Perry said. "I know not many people are giving our team a chance to do well in the tournament. But that doesn't mean we can't get on a run.
"I'll never believe this team doesn't have talent. I will never believe this team cannot have a good tournament. We are not that far away from being a high quality team. If we can just get everyone playing well at the same time, then we can beat anybody we go against in the tournament and win that big prize that we all want."