UK Men's Basketball

Cousins sees good chance of perfect season

If Kentucky beats Drexel on Monday, the occasion will mark not only the program's 2,000th victory. It will be the first time since 1983-84 that UK has begun a season with 12 straight victories.

Coincidentally, the Cats famously hoped to be recognized as the greatest team ever assembled in 1983-84.

Kentucky's goal this season is less lofty but still quite formidable: Go undefeated.

After UK beat Austin Peay 90-69 on Saturday to improve to 11-0, DeMarcus Cousins said he and his roommate, fellow freshman John Wall, discussed the possibility of an unbeaten season that morning.

"We've got a real good chance," Cousins said.

No Division I college basketball team has gone unbeaten since Indiana in 1975-76. That third-of-a-century gap did not faze big man Patrick Patterson.

Although no one brought up the fact that Kentucky's storied history includes only one unbeaten team (25-0 in 1953-54), it likely would not have given Patterson pause. He noted the motivational benefits of seeking an unblemished record.

"We think it's pretty realistic," said Patterson, who noted that teams such as Kansas and Texas should consider unbeaten seasons, too. "If we continue to improve offensively and defensively, we believe an unbeaten season can happen."

Knight time

When asked about Bob Knight questioning Kentucky Coach John Calipari's integrity, Patterson shrugged.

"I've heard a lot worse things said about Coach Cal," Patterson said. "People judge off of what they hear rather than what they know."

Patterson declined to say what exactly he had heard about Calipari that was worse than Knight noting the UK coach's past brushes with NCAA justice, which included having to vacate Final Four appearances in 1996 and 2008.

"I don't believe anything," Patterson said. " ... There's always haters out there."

Patterson said Calipari talked to the team about Knight's comments. Calipari told the players the same thing he told the media: He respects Knight but disagrees with having his integrity questioned.

"He feeds off the negativity," Patterson said. "He feeds off people downing him. He turns it around and uses it as positive energy."

'Soft 21 and nine'

Calipari was not impressed with the numbers Patterson posted.

"I have never seen a softer 21-and-nine than what Patrick had," the UK coach said.

Patterson's 21 points and nine rebounds led Kentucky. He also had a season-high three assists and would have had a fourth if Daniel Orton had not fumbled a lob pass.

When asked to differentiate a "soft" 21-and-nine from a "hard" 21-and-nine, Patterson said, "Not getting my shot blocked, dunking a couple more times, more energy and effort and diving on the floor."

Liggins scores

Sophomore DeAndre Liggins scored his first points of the season (a putback), grabbed his first rebound and handed out his first assist.

Liggins did not play in the season's first nine games for a still-undisclosed reason. Calipari said he hoped to play Liggins more than 12 minutes, but Ramon Harris continued to play too well to be removed from the game.

Calipari facetiously suggested Harris belonged in Guinness World Records after grabbing six rebounds in seven minutes.

Wall's grades

Calipari continued to trumpet John Wall's academic performance. The UK coach said Wall had two A's and three B's in the fall semester. Now, Calipari said, Wall wants to increase his academic load in the spring in order to advance quicker toward a degree.

Cousins' hat

DeMarcus Cousins wore a ushanka to interviews. It was one of five ushankas he bought on Friday, Patterson said.

What's a ushanka? A Russian military bomber hat. Cousins said he was looking for a new look. He also wore glasses (clear glass rather prescription lenses).

Etc.

UK made 18 of 18 free throws. UK has made more free throws without missing only twice: 19 of 19 against Mississippi State on Feb. 8, 1983, and 19 of 19 against Duke on March 3, 1930.

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