Sidelines with John Clay

Three quick things from Kentucky basketball’s Boston U preview

Kentucky Wildcats guard Isaiah Briscoe (13) underneath Wright State Raiders guard Joe Thomasson (32) for a basket as #2 Kentucky played Wright State on Friday November 20, 2015 in Lexington, Ky.
Kentucky Wildcats guard Isaiah Briscoe (13) underneath Wright State Raiders guard Joe Thomasson (32) for a basket as #2 Kentucky played Wright State on Friday November 20, 2015 in Lexington, Ky. Lexington Herald-Leader

Three quick things from Kentucky basketball's media opportunity in preparation for Tuesday night's game against Boston University.

1. Reacting to being No. 1 -- again

The new Associated Press college basketball poll is out and as expected after North Carolina's loss over the weekend, Kentucky is No. 1 once again.

Assistant coach John Robic subbed for head coach John Calipari at the Monday press conference. When asked what the staff wants the team to react to being the No. 1 team, Robic said it's an honor, but not all that important at this point of the season.

"Not to make a big deal of it," Robic said. "It's November, but that's great. . . . It's kind of a neat thing to be honest with you."

“It’s just a number,” said junior forward Marcus Lee.

It's the fifth time in the seven seasons that Calipari has been at Kentucky that UK has been ranked No. 1 at some point in the season. That's pretty amazing.

Associated Press college basketball poll

2. Isaiah Briscoe is a sponge

Robic was asked which player on the team has impressed the staff with his willingness to learn. The coach didn't hesitate with his answer.

"Isaiah Briscoe," he said. "He's a sponge. He listens to everything you say. He's really smart. He does what coach asks him to do. Still learning. Impressed of how he's playing defensively. When he's aggressive, he's a tough out, he's a tough matchup."

It should be noted that Duke guard Grayson has scored 116 points in the four games he has played against a team other than Kentucky. That's an average of 29 points per game. Against UK, which primarily had Briscoe guarding Allen, the sophomore scored six points.

3. What about Boston U?

So what about the Terriers, who play Kentucky in a 9 p.m. start on Tuesday night? This is the second straight year coach Joe Jones has brought his team to Rupp Arena. Boston U. trailed just 40-35 at the half last season before losing 89-65.

"Watching the game last year, they have everybody back off that team," Robic said. "They have two players that are out right now that haven't played yet -- (Cedric) Hankerson and (Eric) Fanning. Last year they really spread us out and tried to drive us, probably because of our size. They mixed it up man and zone against us. I would anticipate that again. They are 2-2. They should be 4-0 after watching the tapes."

Hankerson, who led last year's team in scoring at 15.9 points per game, is recovering from a torn ACL. The 6-foot-5 junior scored 24 points against UK in the game at Rupp Arena.

Fanning, a 6-5 junior guard, was suspended indefinitely before the season started for a violation of team rules. He was BU's second-leading scorer last season.

In case you didn't know, BU is part of a five-team Hall of Fame Classic round-robin with Kentucky, NJIT, Albany and South Florida. The Terriers opened with an 87-84 overtime loss to Northeastern before beating Albany 69-54. After a 90-76 loss to NJIT, Boston won 78-66 at South Florida.

Boston is shooting 41.7 percent from three point range. The Terriers are averaging 27 three-point attempts per game compared to 17 for the opposition. Boston has been outrebounded by an average of six per game.

Official web site for Boston University basketball

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