After Kentucky won Saturday night, point guard Brandon Knight welcomed the week off before the next game.
"The rest will help us get back, get our legs back," Knight said after the 81-62 victory over Indiana.
When asked if he was tired, Knight said, "Just a little bit."
Then, as if to allay any fears, he added, "If I had to go out and play another game in a couple days, I'd be able to do it."
Knight had good reason to feel tired. Only four Southeastern Conference players average more minutes than his 33.7.
With teammates DeAndre Liggins and Terrence Jones also ranking among the SEC's top 10 in minutes played, should Kentucky harbor long-term concerns about fatigue? After all, UK has only 10 players. So far, just the starters and Doron Lamb off the bench are consistent contributors.
With three of those players being freshmen, and rookies supposedly destined to hit a metaphorical wall at some point this season, Kentucky would seem to have reason for concern.
Earlier last week, Knight brushed off questions about fatigue.
"Everybody's doing fine," he said. "We have a lot of well-conditioned guys. That's what we worked on this summer, a lot of running."
Knight suggested that a mental resolve can help the Cats. "Guys have to be mentally prepared," he said. "You've got to get through it."
Players logging a large number of minutes does not automatically translate into a lack of success. Kentucky won the SEC championship last season with John Wall and Patrick Patterson among the top 10 in minutes played in league games.
Mississippi State, which tied for the Western Division title, had three players in the top eight in minutes played. One of those players, Dee Bost, led the team in scoring. Another, Jarvis Varnado, led the SEC in rebounding and blocks.
Knight noted how basketball can be more taxing on the college level.
"In high school, you didn't have a great player on the other side of the court every time," he said. "So you could maybe take possessions off. At this level, every possession counts."
After the victory over Notre Dame last week, UK Coach John Calipari noted that the schedule now falls into a comforting routine. No more trips to Maui, which had the Cats playing four games in six nights. It's one or two games per week the rest of the way, except perhaps during the SEC Tournament.
Josh Harrellson expressed confidence that Calipari will use the schedule to maximize the potential for rest.
"Coach is really smart about that," he said. "He's not going to kill us between those two (games). Because he's going to need us, and we only have 10 guys who can play."
There's at least two possibilities for reinforcement.
Kentucky is attempting again to persuade the NCAA or an appeals panel to grant big man Enes Kanter his eligibility. Earlier this fall, the NCAA ruled Kanter permanently ineligible because he received excessive compensation while playing for a professional team in his native Turkey. UK expected to learn this week or next if "new information," believed to be the surprising NCAA ruling affirming Auburn quarterback Cam Newton's eligibility, would provide the grounds for allowing Kanter to play.
Then the Web site zagsblog reported Friday that heralded prospect DeAndre Daniels might leave IMG Academy and enroll in a four-year college in January.
"Because of his hard work and success in the last three and one-half months, his dad (LaRon) and DeAndre and us are contemplating sending him somewhere at the semester," IMG Coach Andy Borman told zagsblog. "It's not set in stone. We have sped up his recruiting process so that if he does find a home at the semester that he and his dad are very comfortable with, then he's gonna go."
Borman could not be reached.
Daniels, a 6-foot-9, 197-pound small forward, is averaging 26.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and three steals for IMG Academy. He visited UK this past weekend. He also recently visited Kansas and Oregon.
Other schools expressing interest include Alabama, Texas, N.C. State, UCLA and Baylor, Borman said.