Kentucky freshman Kyle Wiltjer knows Kentucky can’t look ahead to Louisville.
“We have to be ready every game, because every team we’re going to get their best shot, so we have to be ready mentally and physically every game,” Wiltjer said Tuesday.
“We haven’t talked about this weekend at all,” he said “They may have been looking at it or seen it but I don’t think so. We’re still trying to get better. We’re going to play a well-coached (Lamar) team that’s going to come in and play to beat us and are not going to be intimidated as seniors. If we don’t play well, we lose. Our focus is us getting better.”
Wiltjer has received a taste of the series with Louisville since he arrived on campus, but added that he’s not looking ahead.
“I’ve been here a while now and know there’s a big hatred between the fans — it’s definitely a big game,” he said. “We have a game (tonight), we have to focus on first, don’t want to overlook Lamar they’re a good team, so we want to focus on that.”
However, before thinking about Louisville, the third-ranked Wildcats take on Lamar in a mid-week contest tonight at Rupp Arena. The Cardinals are coached by Patrick Knight, son of ESPN¿commentator and former Indiana and Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight. Lamar is 8-4 and lost to Louisville 68-48 on Nov. 13, but has won four of their past five games. Knight’s team suffered a 70-50 loss to No. 2 Ohio State before the Christmas break on Dec. 20.
“The games that I’ve watched, they’ve been in every game, including Ohio State and Louisville,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “The game with Texas Christian, they had them beat. Rice on the road they won. At Rice they made every shot. I watched the game and thought, ‘We can’t win this game.’ They are very good. Pat (Knight) does a great job. I’ve always had great respect for them, not only as a person, but also as a coach. He’s got them playing. They are playing hard and they’re a good team.”
Calipari isn’t sure whether or not Terrence Jones will return to the lineup after missing the past two games because of a dislocated finger. Jones returned to practice Monday, but was withheld from contact.
“We (practiced) twice (Tuesday), so we’ll figure out whether he’ll be able to go or not tomorrow,” Calipari said. “We’ll figure out whether he’ll be able to go or not tomorrow.”
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist also returned from Christmas break after spending time with his mother. Kidd-Gilchrist admitted that it was “tough” playing the previous game — an 87-63 win over Loyola of Maryland — because of his mother’s illness, but “fought through it.”
“It was hard, I mean, it was my mother,” he said. “But she’s fine now so it’s all good. I spent (Christmas) at my house. I was with my mom and that’s all that matters.”
Like the rest of his teammates, Kidd-Gilchrist is ready to return to the court.
“I’m just ready to go now — I’m ready to get it going,” he said.