UK Men's Basketball

Cats, Gators off for a week, but it's hardly off week

A weekend with no games does not mean a break from Kentucky's never-ending quest to be better. The current three-game losing streak is coincidental.

"We have many things to work on," UK Coach Billy Gillispie said on a Southeastern Conference teleconference on Thursday. "We had many things (to improve) when we were 5-0. When you lose, things are definitely exposed and come to the light in a hurry."

Gillispie targeted basically all areas as in need of work: offense, defense, transition offense and defense.

"Just continue to try to make better decisions," he said, "(and) compete on every possession."

Florida, which plays at Kentucky on Tuesday, also has this weekend off. Coach Billy Donovan said that a gap in the schedule must be handled delicately.

"I always think of taking a week off as a little tricky," he said.

Teams can use the time for extra work. Yet a breather, especially in February, might also be beneficial.

"Coaches most of the time like a week off because there's so much you can work on to get better," Donovan said. "How to balance between keeping sharp and getting rejuvenated mentally and physically (and becoming) excited about playing, that will be our balancing act."

Until Jan. 31, Florida had been on an uninterrupted roll. Since Dec. 7, the Gators had lost only at South Carolina 70-69 on a freakish last-second, full-court play. Then Tennessee battered Florida 79-63 on Jan. 31.

Kentucky won its first five SEC games, then lost the last three: at Ole Miss, then at home to South Carolina and Mississippi State.

Finding more scoring help for Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson has occupied many minds in Kentucky. Of the options, Josh Harrellson has the best shooting numbers: 46.9-percent accuracy overall and 36.4-percent on three-pointers. But he's averaging only seven minutes in SEC play.

His 13 minutes against Mississippi State marked an SEC high for Harrellson.

"He'll probably continue to get a few more minutes as we go (forward)," Gillispie said. "The problem we have is trying to match up defensively."

Gillispie noted how many SEC teams can spread the floor with perimeter shooters. He saw Perry Stevenson as the better perimeter defender.