Top-Ranked Cats Host Boston on Tuesday

Robic, Lee, Mulder Quotes | Robic Video | Lee, Mulder Video

John Robic has been around college basketball long enough to have a healthy perspective about almost everything.

So who better to ask about Kentucky’s ascendance to the No. 1 ranking on Monday, marking the fifth time in John Calipari’s seven seasons the Wildcats have claimed the top spot?

Kentucky vs. Boston University
Fri., Nov. 24 - 9 p.m. ET
Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | Boston U. Get Acrobat Reader
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TV: SEC Network
Radio: UK Sports Network
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UK 2015-16 Team Stats BU
4-0 Record 2-2
0-0 Conference Record 0-0
.494 FG% .466
.378 Opp FG% .436
.276 3FG% .471
.689 FT% .611
79.2 PPG 76.8
41.0 RPG 29.0
6.3 BPG 2.8
13.5 APG 16.5
6.5 SPG 5.0

“It’s kind of a neat thing to be honest with you,” John Robic said. “For each team that we’ve had here to have a grasp of that. But knowing it’s November, doesn’t mean a whole lot. I’m proud of it. I think our team would be proud of it as well.”

The team, however, is more focused on the knowing it’s November thing.

“I mean, it’s honestly just a number,” Marcus Lee said. “Each team is just as equal right now. It’s the beginning of the season, it really doesn’t even matter. It’s not really going to—rankings don’t even really matter until March. And then at that moment it really doesn’t matter until the last four teams.”

The new No. 1 ranking comes at an interesting time for UK. The Cats are fresh off a week in which they delivered arguably the most impressive performance of the early college basketball season in easily dispatching Duke, which actually moved up in the Coaches’ Poll to No. 3. To follow up on that, UK struggled to a 78-63 win over Wright State, prompting Calipari to proclaim “there’s got to be 20 teams better than us right now.”

The message didn’t surprise Lee in the least.

“He has an image of each and every player and how great you can be,” Lee said. “Two games ago we showed how great we were able to be. So the expectation grew at that moment and we took a step backwards. That’s not something we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to take another step forwards and continue with where we went.”

What Calipari demands seems like a lot, but Lee doesn’t see it that way. The junior – who followed a double-double against Duke with a scoreless effort against Wright State – knows Coach Cal isn’t asking him and his teammates for anything they’re not perfectly capable of.

“All you really have to do is just keep working hard,” Lee said. “All he really asks of you is energy and to be into the game, to be totally focused. That’s what we’re really trying to focus on right not, is just staying focused and that’s what we’re really trying to focus on right now, is just staying focused and staying in the moment and staying energetic the whole time. We’re getting there.”

The next step on that journey comes Tuesday at 9 p.m. against Boston University. The Terriers (2-2) will bring a veteran team into Rupp Arena, one that remembers well its 40-35 halftime deficit against a UK team that was ranked No. 1 all season in 2014-15. The Cats would go on to win, 89-65.

“Last year they really spread us out and tried to drive us, probably because of our size,” Robic said. “They mixed it up man and zone against us. I would anticipate that again. They're playing a little bit of both this year. They're 2-2. They should be 4-0 after you watch the tapes. Very impressed by their personnel, what they run and their players have gotten better since last year and that's a credit to Joe (Jones).”

Regardless of personnel or UK’s new ranking, Lee knows Boston will be motivated.

“I expect it from them like I expect from every other team, to come and bring us their best,” Lee said. “When people come in to play the University of Kentucky they know they have to bring their best. We know that they’re going to be energetic to play and we can’t back off and think any different from any other team.”

Kentucky Returns to the Top

Kentucky is the top team in the land according to the Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll. The Wildcats landed at No. 1 in both major polls that were released Monday.

The Wildcats picked up 59 of the 65 first-place votes in the AP Top 25 and 28 of the 31 first-place votes in the Coaches’ Poll.

UK and John Calipari have been tough to beat playing the role of the hunted:

• The Wildcats own an all-time record of 215-28 (.885) as the nation’s top-ranked squad
• UK has won 60 of its last 63 contests as the AP’s top team
• The Wildcats are 63-5 as the AP No. 1 team since Calipari’s first year at the helm, the best record in the country by a top-ranked team during that span
• Calipari is 104-10 all-time as head coach of the AP’s No. 1 team
• Kentucky has lost just twice at home as the AP top-ranked team in the history of the program and just once in Rupp Arena. Both losses came by just one point

Ulis Named SEC Co-Player of the Week

UK sophomore guard Tyler Ulis was named the Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Week on Monday after leading Kentucky to a pair of victories last week, including a 74-63 victory over No. 5/4 Duke in the Champions Classic in Chicago. Ulis shared the award with Georgia’s Kenny Gaines.

The UK guard was the catalyst behind the Wildcats’ 2-0 week. Ulis averaged team highs in points (19.5), assists (5.5), steals (2.0) and free-throw percentage (.889) to lead Kentucky to a 4-0 start to the season.

Returning home to Chicago in one of biggest games of the nonconference season, Ulis dazzled on the big stage vs. Duke. Against the defending national champions, Ulis scored a game-high and career-high 18 points while dishing out a game-high six assists with no turnovers in 40 minutes of play. In doing so, Ulis became the first Wildcat since Kyle Macy on March 1, 1980 to post at least 18 points and at least six assists in a topfive Associated Press matchup.

Ulis followed that remarkable performance with a game-high and career-high 21 points and a game-high five assists in the victory over Wright State. He became the first UK player to score 18 or more points in consecutive games since Devin Booker had 18 vs. Montana State and 18 vs. UT Arlington in November of 2014.

It’s the second weekly SEC honor of Ulis’ career but his first SEC Player of the Week award. Ulis won SEC Freshman of the Week honors last season on Dec. 29.

It’s also the second straight week a Wildcat has picked up an SEC honor. Freshman forward Skal Labissiere was tabbed SEC Co-Freshman of the Week last week.