UK Men's Basketball

UK notes: Patterson rejects talk of NIT

A 90-85 loss to last-place Georgia on Wednesday night raised the specter of a post-season trip to the National Invitation Tournament, an event for teams that do not quality for the Big Dance (i.e. the NCAA Tournament).

UK big man Patrick Patterson expressed his preference to stop playing rather than participate in the NIT.

"No, I really wouldn't want to," he said. "Everybody wants to go to the NCAA Tournament."

Teammate Michael Porter found it difficult to even say the words "no thanks" to the NIT.

"I just don't even want to talk about that," he said. "I don't want to even think about it."

Kentucky players noted that the NIT is not the Kentucky way. UK has been to every NCAA Tournament since 1992. The players feel a weight of responsibility.

"We don't want to be the team that people say, 'Hey, they didn't make it,' " Patterson said. "(A bid to the NCAA Tournament) is real important. We want to play basketball in March, at the end of March and early April."

Meeks tired

Since his 45-point explosion at Arkansas, Jodie Meeks has averaged 21 points in five games. In that span, he's made 32 of 84 shots (11 of 40 from three-point range).

UK Coach Billy Gillispie noted how much the team depends on Meeks for scoring and perimeter defense.

"I thought Jodie was tired," the UK coach said. "He looked tired."

Meeks, who made six of 16 shots (two of seven from beyond the arc) acknowledged fatigue. "I was a little tired," he said. "... I just have to suck it up."

UK salutes TV crew

Appropriately, UK chose a television timeout to recognize the announcers calling the game, Tom Hammond and Rupp Runt Larry Conley. During the third TV timeout of the first half, Hammond and Conley stood to be recognized by the crowd.

Hammond and Conley are in their last season calling games for the SEC network. ESPN assumes the television rights next season and is not expected to keep the venerable crew.

Conley is completing his 22nd year on the SEC telecasts. Hammond is working his 30th season as the play-by-play man.

To mark the crew's final game in Rupp Arena, a UK delegation led by Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart took Hammond and Conley to dinner Tuesday night.

The only other school to salute Hammond and Conley in their final season was Florida. Athletics Director Jeremy Foley and Coach Billy Donovan sent the two a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner the night before a Florida game.

All-Access in house

ESPN's All-Access crew worked the game. The crew attended part of practice on Tuesday and got a behind-the-scenes look at UK on game day.

This marked the second week of getting a behind-the-curtain glimpse of UK basketball. The result will air on ESPN's College GameDay on Saturday.

UK honors Florence

UK honored Van Florence at halftime. Florence, the basketball program's Man Friday and long-time president of the Committee of 101 service group, is retiring after being associated with the program for 43 years.


Patterson had a career-high eight blocks. But he also missed several shots around the basket. "He probably needs to dunk it a little more rather than lob it up there," Gillispie said.