Kentucky Coach John Calipari did not sound optimistic Thursday about freshman Trey Lyles playing at Florida on Saturday.
"I don't know if he'll travel with us," Calipari said. "You know, I don't know. But he looks good. His weight is fine, which was what my worry was."
Lyles has missed the past two games because of an undisclosed illness. Earlier in the week, Calipari said Lyles would not play at Florida if he did not practice Thursday and/or Friday.
Of Lyles practicing Thursday, Calipari said, "I doubt it."
Then he added, "He looked good, though."
Since UK did not practice Wednesday, it was difficult to understand how Lyles looked good.
"He walked in and had a big smile on his face," Calipari said.
Willie Cauley-Stein noted how UK has been missing Alex Poythress, whose season ended in mid-December when he tore an anterior cruciate ligament.
"He just picks up slack," Cauley-Stein said. "That's the biggest part. He just picks up stuff. You don't have to do it every time ... . The one time you don't do it, well, Alex probably did it. So it doesn't look back on you."
When asked whether Georgia's 36-24 rebounding advantage reflected how Kentucky misses Poythress, Cauley-Stein said, "Absolutely."
Cauley-Stein said Poythress was in good spirits as he rehabilitates the knee.
"The first two nights (after the injury), it really struck him," Cauley-Stein said. "Now, he's on a mission. Like he's on a grind himself. I feel he doesn't really think about it" anymore.
In 2014, Florida became only the second team since World War II to beat Kentucky three times in a season (Tennessee did it in 1978-79).
Cauley-Stein did not warm to the idea of revenge.
"I don't even think that's in anybody's head, for real," he said. "I just thought about it now just from you saying it.
"This is just about going and playing against ourselves. It's not playing against (anybody) else. And do what our team goals are."
Calipari echoed the sentiment. Revenge? "I don't think so," he said. "Nah."
Florida Coach Billy Donovan downplayed that angle.
"I would say watching Kentucky play, they're an inspired team and play very motivated ... ," he said. "Everybody plays up against them because they're the No. 1 team in the country. I would envision that they come in here and play a great game. I think we're going to get Kentucky's best game."
Picking up slack
Calipari noted one of Kentucky's great strengths this season: Its abundance of options. If a few players struggle, there are always more than a few who can compensate.
The coach noted that the team's two most reliable perimeter shooters, Devin Booker and Aaron Harrison, combined to make only one of 10 three-point shots against Georgia on Tuesday.
"Who picks up the slack?" Calipari said of an issue UK wants to resolve. "Is it Andrew (Harrison) and Tyler (Ulis) who do a little more? Or Karl (-Anthony Towns) is going to do his thing?
"Well, the better guy to do that is Willie."
Towns has gained a reputation for being a diligent worker and a player eager to improve. "A sponge," assistant coach Barry "Slice" Rohrssen said this week.
That led to Calipari being invited to confirm what was termed a "professional approach." The UK coach playfully declined.
"He's like my son," Calipari said. "He's about 14 years old. He does not have a professional approach."
After a pause, Calipari added, "He and Brad (Calipari) watch TV, and their heads move together."
Donovan welcomed the idea of the ESPN GameDay show originating from the O'Connell Center on Saturday.
"I always think for college basketball, especially here in the state of Florida, it's a great thing," he said. "It's probably a little bit of a takeoff of what they are doing in College GameDay for football. And I think the hoopla, the enthusiasm, the excitement is always a good thing for the game, and we're happy that they are here for this game.
"How much we will be able to partake and do all that stuff, probably not a whole lot. But I do think it's good for the college game."