Patterson's out

The biggest problem facing the top-ranked Tennessee basketball team Sunday at Thompson-Boling Arena will no longer be 6-9, 225-pound Kentucky standout Patrick Patterson. It will be overconfidence.

Patterson, the only freshman ranked among the SEC's top 10 in both scoring (16.4 points per game) and rebounding (7.7 per game), will miss Sunday's game at TBA. A Friday morning x-ray revealed a stress fracture in his left foot that will sideline him for the remainder of the season.

The loss of Patterson is, in a word, devastating for the Big Blue. He played a huge role in the Wildcats' 72-66 defeat of Tennessee Jan. 22 in Lexington, thoroughly outplaying the Vols' big men.

Patterson hit 6 of 11 shots from the floor and 8 of 9 from the foul line that evening en route to a 20-point, 8-rebound, 3-block, 3-assist effort. He also helped limit UT's Wayne Chism (3 of 8 from the field, 5 of 6 from the line, 12 points, 6 rebounds) and Brian Williams (0 of 2, 1 of 2, 1 point, 2 rebounds) to a combined 13 points and 8 rebounds.

When Tennessee began focusing more attention on Patterson, 6-9, 195-pound UK teammate Perry Stevenson went off on the Vols. Stevenson made 6 of 7 from the floor and finished his evening with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks and 2 assists.

Stevenson, normally a backup, is expected to assume Patterson's role in the starting lineup Sunday against Tennessee.

The Vols bring a 25-3 overall record, an 11-2 SEC record and a No. 1 ranking into the game. The Cats bring a 16-10 overall mark and a 10-3 league record into the annual border battle.

Tipoff is set for noon with CBS providing television coverage.

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