Hoop Team Taking on No. 2 Kentucky

Penn State is ready for a dogfight in Saturday's matchup with the Wildcats.

So what does Penn State guard Cammeron Woodyard expect when the Nittany Lions take on No. 2 Kentucky in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-off Tournament at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., Saturday at noon.

“A dogfight,” Woodyard said. “We've got to bring our 'A' game. … We have to prepare like we're playing a bunch of dogs out there.”

Woodyard apparently needs to brush up on his mascots. The UK players are called the Wildcats, which -- since they are playing the Lions -- would seem to make this more of a catfight.

Both teams enter the contest undefeated. But even at 3-0, Penn State, with only one starter back from last season, is considered to be at the beginning of a rebuilding process under first-year coach Pat Chambers.

Kentucky, under John Calipari, is fresh off a Final Four appearance and once again reloading for a national title run. The Wildcats (2-0) handled No. 12 Kansas 75-65 at Madison Square Garden Tuesday night.

Even so, Chambers claims he is looking at the game as just that --another game.

“We just need to keep getting better,” he said. “Kentucky just happens to be the next team on our schedule. … One game's not going to make our season.

“They're a great team, he's a great coach,” Chambers added. “Great program. Lot of tradition. But I'll tell you, it's the next game on our schedule, and we've got to take steps.”

Kentucky figures to be the first opponent that has the sort of athletes who can match up with PSU junior guard Tim Frazier. Through three games, he is averaging 20.7 points and 8.7 assists. He is coming off back-to-back double-doubles.

“It's going to be a great game for us, a great opportunity,” Frazier said.

Chambers has emphasized playing with high energy, and the Nittany Lions have done that. They are averaging 10 steals per game and have already forced their opponents to make 55 turnovers. Deflected passes and floor burns are common.

For this matchup, though, Chambers is worried that his troops might be a little too amped.

“That's my job, to reel them in a little bit,” he said. “They're going to be crazy the first couple minutes.”

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