While noting how games against North Carolina and Miami served as preparation for Southeastern Conference intensity, Kentucky Coach Billy Gillispie said, "You've got 16 in a row now. You can't take a day off or you get bombarded."
Speaking of bombardment, Vanderbilt put a 93-52 whipping on Kentucky the last time the teams played. The Cats haven't forgotten.
"You know, you've got to think about it a little bit," guard Michael Porter said. "Losing by that much is never pretty. ... Yeah, we want to get them back. But we want to win anyway. If they only beat us by two, we'd want to win. But it does hurt a little bit."
The UK players have been talking about that 41-point loss — UK's most-lopsided in conference play — the last few days. But, Patterson added, the Cats did not think Vandy rubbed it in.
"They just put a whipping on us," he said. "There wasn't that much trash talking going on. They were just playing basketball."
Vandy big man A.J. Ogilvy expects Kentucky to be motivated by the loss.
"One of those games we came out and played well right from the get-go," Ogilvy said. "We gave them a bit of a shock more than anything. They never recovered from it.
"I feel like Kentucky definitely feels they have some stuff to make up. It's definitely a motivator. That's how it'd be for me."
Kentucky wants to get off to a good start, in part because the SEC race appears wide open. Each victory and defeat could make a big difference.
"Almost anybody can get first and anybody can get last," Porter said.
With four of the next five games on the road, UK feels added incentive to win the opener.
Ogilvy makes a difference
Ogilvy played his first SEC game in Rupp Arena last season. Vandy Coach Kevin Stallings recalled it as a nerve-racking experience.
"That was a real shock to A.J.'s system, in particular, to see a crowd like that for the first time," Stallings said. "I think he was overwhelmed."
Ogilvy, a native of Australia, acknowledged the "shock value" of Rupp Arena.
"Before I came to America, a big crowd back home would be a couple hundred," he said.
Ogilvy, who scored 16 points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked five shots at UK last season, said he worked in the off-season on improving his conditioning and perimeter shot.
UK Coach Billy Gillispie noted how Ogilvy's knowledgeable play "really slows the game down. ... He puts himself in position to score before he catches it, which takes a great deal of understanding."
Patterson credited Ogilvy's play as a factor in Vandy's 41-point victory over UK last season.
"I wasn't moving my feet," Patterson said. "He was able to establish deep post position."
Ogilvy participated in double-teaming Patterson. Then on offense, Ogilvy was "two dribbles and over his left shoulder," Patterson said.
Vandy's Beal the real deal
Vandy point guard Jermaine Beal led the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio last season: 3.06 to 1.
Now he's better. Beal's still leading the league in that category (2.3 to 1), but now he's making 47.1 percent of his three-point shots (24-for-51) after coming into the season as a 29.9-percent shooting from beyond the arc.
"He's really having a terrific year so far," Vandy Coach Kevin Stallings said. "Our fortunes will go in direct correlation to how those two guys (Ogilvy and Beal) play. They've played solidly, and at times better than that. That's what we need."
Freshmen show flash
Vandy has gotten big contributions from two freshman starters at guard.
Jeffery Taylor, a native of Sweden where his father played professionally, was the SEC's second-leading freshman scorer (12.5 ppg) in non-conference play. Only Arkansas guard Rotnei Clarke (12.7 ppg) averaged more.
Brad Tinsley, a native of Oregon City, Ore., who picked Vandy over such schools as North Carolina and Wake Forest, has made a league-leading 42.7 percent of his shots.
Forward Lance Goulbourne gives Ogilvy a playmate around the basket.
Vandy freshman Jordan Smart, a Lexington Catholic grad, is redshirting. ... Tom Hammond and Larry Conley will call the game for the SEC network.