Marcus Lee on Saturday night continued to supply the kind of energy Kentucky wants from him. But after UK's victory over Alabama, he admitted he could use some rest.
When asked if he'd rather practice or, as UK is doing, playing three games in six days, Lee said, "I'd rather sleep than practice. I'm tired (laughs). I'm going to let you know, I want to go to bed. It is rough, and that's just how the season goes. Sometimes you have a whole lot of games. And sometimes you have a patch where it's just one game a week and then another one game a week. And that's when you're striving to play three games in a row."
Lee made no promises of waking up in time to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday.
"I'm (going to) just sleep," he said. "I don't know about the Super Bowl. I'm going to go spend time with family, because my mom's finally here. So we'll see if the Super Bowl can measure up tomorrow."
Lee, who scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in 17 minutes Saturday, said he's getting comfortable with the role of supplying energy off the bench.
"I wouldn't say 'settled,' because that makes it sound like you're backing up," he said of the role. "But I'm definitely feeling more comfortable being that guy and helping out my team that way."
Lee acknowledged needing time to understand the role UK Coach John Calipari envisioned.
"That first year, you kind of don't really understand what he's trying to say," he said. "Or it takes you awhile to figure out what he wants you to do. And, right when you figure it out, that's when you know you're doing great things.
"I'm definitely feeling comfortable on the court right now."
Cal's lone lament
Perhaps the strain is beginning to show as Calipari looks for ways to prod a better performance from his unbeaten and No. 1-ranked team.
"One thing this team is not doing: Putting teams away when they have that opportunity," he said.
Aaron Harrison seemed puzzled.
"I think we're beating teams pretty handily," he said with a slight grin.
Kentucky came into the game leading the nation in average victory margin: 23.8 points.
So what is Calipari complaining about?
"That's Coach for you," Harrison said. "Everybody knows that he's pushing us. Of course, we like being pushed."
Both teams played without key players. Trey Lyles did not play for UK because of an undisclosed illness. Calipari said he could not be sure if Lyles would be available when Kentucky plays Georgia on Tuesday.
"He's pretty sick," the UK coach said.
Alabama played without point guard Ricky Tarrant. He sustained a lower leg injury Tuesday against Florida. Alabama is hopeful he can play Wednesday against Missouri.
Tarrant, a 6-foot-2 junior, is Alabama's second-leading scorer (13.1 ppg). He scored 1,013 points in two seasons for Tulane before transferring to Alabama.
Alabama Coach Anthony Grant is perceived to be on the metaphorical hot seat.
Going into the game, his Alabama teams had lost 20 straight to ranked opponents. The Tide had also lost 18 of their last 19 games on an opponent's home court.
Grant is in his sixth season as Alabama coach. He's taken one team (2011-12) to the NCAA Tournament. The Tide lost its first-round game (to Creighton). Alabama has also played in two NITs with Grant as coach.
Grant has four years remaining on his contract. A buyout clause calls for Alabama to pay him $1 million for each year remaining on his contract.
A former Florida assistant, Grant is 0-9 against Billy Donovan's teams. Florida is the only SEC team he has not beaten.
Former UK standout Reggie Hanson watched the game from a front-row seat opposite the Alabama bench.
Hanson said he had coached the last two seasons in Japan, where he played seven seasons after completing his UK career in 1991.
Aside from attending the game, Hanson came to Lexington to see his daughter, Tesh, who is a UK student and a manager on the women's basketball team.
Sportswriter Cecil Hurt continued his custom of bringing a book to games. He reads during timeouts and other pauses in the action.
The book he brought to Rupp Arena: Blue Angel, A Novel by Francine Prose. It's about aspiring college writers.
Calipari, who earlier in his coaching career guided UMass and Memphis to No. 1 rankings, improved to 87-9 when leading a No. 1 team. He improved to 46-4 at UK in such circumstances.
Alabama fell to 4-7 against No. 1 teams. The Tide has not beaten a No. 1 since defeating UCLA on Jan. 28, 1983. Coincidentally, that was the same day iconic football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant was buried.
The loss was Alabama's 21st straight when playing a ranked opponent.