"There was a time I probably did have some doubts, but it sure is nice to be there now," said the Kentucky junior Monday after the Wildcats received all 65 first-place votes to rise to No. 1 in the AP rankings.
"It feels good. We have worked all year to be No. 1 and we earned it. Now we have to try and keep working to get better because I think we will get even better shots from most teams now because we are No. 1, it's still Kentucky, we have John Wall and all that stuff. Everybody is going to want to beat us even more, but even that is kind of nice."
The unbeaten Wildcats (19-0) play at South Carolina Tuesday and Patterson said the key is for UK to continue to play the way it has, especially the way it did while beating Arkansas by 31 points Saturday.
"I figure we are still the big game for everybody. The only thing different is that the crowds might even get a little crazier because we are No. 1," Patterson said. "We always get the best shots people have. I can't see that changing. We always get an opponent's best shot.
"The good thing is that coach (John) Calipari embraces being No. 1. Coach Cal talks about being No. 1 and how other teams he's had that were No. 1 kept it and ran with it. We want to do the same thing."
Calipari hopes that will happen.
"I think our kids are excited (about being No. 1). They wanted to be No. 1 and now I am trying to teach them what that means," the UK coach said.
He said he has warned his players about distractions and obstacles that will include "people coming out of the woodwork" to talk to them, increased ticket requests and even more media demands.
"Guys that were not good looking just became beautiful," Calipari joked. "Guys went from ugly to hunk.
"But this is a really level-headed group. They are not machines, not robots. They will have bad nights. They will play flat. You just have to hope when that happens it is still against a team we can beat. But when it is time for them to show up (in a big game), they play."