UK Men's Basketball

Patterson ignoring the pundits

After a 77-59 loss at South Carolina on Wednesday, big man Patrick Patterson had a simple one-word plan for how Kentucky could bounce back.

"Win," he said.

The first chance comes Saturday against Louisiana State, which has clinched at least a tie for the Southeastern Conference regular-season championship.

Apparently Patterson brings a recalibrated team goal into the rest of the regular season. That re-evaluation does not include the incessant could-be's and what-if's involved with NCAA Tournament bid speculation.

"Oh, I'm not worried about that," Patterson said. "My main goal is to win the SEC Tournament. That's all I want to do. That's all I'm going to concentrate on.

"I'm not worrying about whether we're in or out (of the NCAA Tournament). I'm not listening to all the analysts on ESPN."

UK Coach Billy Gillispie took a philosophical view of the program's most lopsided loss to South Carolina: These things happen to all programs. With its shaky point guard play and heavy reliance on two players, Kentucky is no exception.

The Cats "got their tails kicked tonight, guys," Gillispie told reporters in his post-game news conference. "Everybody gets their tails kicked every once in a while."

Gillispie likened the loss to the meltdown at Vanderbilt last season. The 93-52 setback was Kentucky's most lopsided loss to an SEC team.

The Cats took a step back after shaking off the recent injury to Patterson to play inspiring basketball.

While saying "we stunk" at South Carolina, Gillispie all but promised immediate improvement by his team.

"I'm not going to try to spin it into something it's not," the UK coach said. "That's the way I am. Good, bad or ugly, I'm going to tell you what I believe to be the truth every single time.

"The world's not ending. We got our tails kicked. We'll be better next time we play."

LSU, which hasn't won at Kentucky since 1989, surely does not expect an easy victory. Forward Tasmin Mitchell acknowledged that UK's likely foul mood won't make the task any easier.

"It's always harder catching a team after a loss," he said. "We're not going to worry about that. What happened to them happened to them. Kentucky's never an easy place. They're not an easy team."

South Carolina's school-record 16 blocks jumped off the stat sheet. Many came against Patterson, who admitted that he should have varied his approach rather than simply trying to attack the rim every time.

"A bunch of times, I should have pump-faked," he said before adding, "A couple times, I should have looked to dish it. I rushed it a bunch of times."

Several questions in the post-game news conference involved Kentucky's effort. Perhaps it was semantics, but Gillispie said he had no problem with the effort. He did find the players' "competitive nature" insufficient.

"We didn't take it personal enough to try to stop our guy we were guarding," he said.

Meanwhile, South Carolina has its own bounce-back questions. The Gamecocks took satisfaction in claiming first place in the SEC Eastern Division. They noted that a pre-season media poll picked them for fifth place.

Point guard Devan Downey played the no-respect card when asked whether USC might have problems handling prosperity.

"There's no pressure," he said. "Nobody thought we'd be where we're at except the guys in the locker room. So there's nothing to handle. People are probably still just waiting for us to fold."

On an SEC teleconference Thursday, South Carolina Coach Darrin Horn, the former Tates Creek High star, said prosperity wouldn't be a problem.

"Before Kentucky, people asked if we could handle a big game," he said. "Now, the question is how we'll handle bouncing back from a big game.

"We're not going to change our approach whether the outcome is good or bad."

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