UK Men's Basketball

Two Kentucky players logging heavy-duty minutes. Is that a concern for Calipari?

Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (22) and Kevin Knox (5) are among the SEC leaders in minutes on the court since the beginning of conference play.
Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (22) and Kevin Knox (5) are among the SEC leaders in minutes on the court since the beginning of conference play. aslitz@herald-leader.com

Injuries can mean more playing time for healthy players. But can there be too much of a good thing?

When asked if he was concerned about the minutes Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Kevin Knox have played, University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari said, “I am. But they’re happy as heck.”

Knox has averaged 32.4 minutes per game, which is the fourth most by a Southeastern Conference player.

Counting only league play, Gilgeous-Alexander ranks fourth with an average of 35.5 minutes.

Kentucky takes a roster thinned by injuries to Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Calipari suggested that he might be calling more timeouts than in previous seasons. Not because UK needs more strategies.

“To give guys a rest,” he said.

A moment later, Calipari acknowledged that strategy might also lead to more timeouts.

“I may call timeouts that in the past I haven’t,” he said. “In other words, play through it. Figure it out yourself. That may not work with this group.”

Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on playing 39 minutes against Texas A&M.

Injury update

Calipari said he had no update on three players sidelined by injury: Jarred Vanderbilt, Jemarl Baker and Quade Green.

Green, who sat out the victory over Texas A&M on Tuesday because of a back strain, had not practiced through Thursday, Calipari said.

Baker, who has been sidelined all season because of a knee injury, has started rehab. “I don’t know what that means,” Calipari said.

Weather update

UK planned to fly to Nashville on Friday. But because of weather concerns, the team rode a bus Thursday night.

Vandy was closing its campus at 3 p.m. CST on Friday because of the forecast of icy, snowy weather, Calipari said.

Attendance

Nashville’s daily newspaper, The Tennessean, reported that Vanderbilt has its lowest average home attendance in 53 years.

Vanderbilt has averaged 8,734 per home game this season with eight home games remaining, the newspaper said. Vandy has not averaged a lower home attendance since the 8,235 figure in the 1964-65 season.

The game against Kentucky is expected to boost this season’s average attendance. The official capacity of Memorial Gym is 14,316.

As for Kentucky, the average announced attendance through 11 home games this season is 21,445. The turnstile count in that time is an average of 16,826, according to a response to an open records request. Rupp Arena’s official capacity is 23,000.

Etc.

▪ Vandy has three 1,000-point scorers: seniors Jeff Roberson, Riley LaChance and Matthew Fisher-Davis. Vandy hasn’t had three 1,000-point scorers since the “F Troop” in 1975-76 (Butch Feher, Joe Ford and Jeff Fosnes).

▪ Bob Wischusen, Dick Vitale and sideline reporter Allison Williams will call the game for ESPN.

Jerry Tipton: 859-231-3227, @JerryTipton

Saturday

No. 21 Kentucky at Vanderbilt

When: 4 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN

Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1

Records: Kentucky 13-3 (3-1 SEC), Vanderbilt 6-10 (1-3)

Series: Kentucky leads 143-47

Last meeting: Kentucky won 73-67 on Feb. 28, 2017, in Lexington.

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