Top-rated and unbeaten Kentucky says they're not looking past any team, including its next opponent, Hampton. But the Wildcats do have some homework to do.
Wildcat freshman guard Tyler Ulis said Wednesday, "We actually have not watched them yet."
Still, the 34-0 Wildcats know that as they begin the final stretch of their quest to become the first undefeated national champion in program history, they have to take every opponent seriously, starting with the 16th-seeded Pirates (17-17).
"If you lose, you are done," Kentucky 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein said. "If you win, you keep on going. That is what propels those teams, not only us. Everybody's going to fight that fight."
The ring's the thing
Bobby Hurley casually slipped the big shiny ring off the finger of his right hand and offered it to someone to hold.
"Kind of heavy, right?" Hurley says, referring to the gleaming gold keepsake topped with a large gem-encrusted No. 1 set on upon a Duke Blue-colored background.
This, of course, is the ring Hurley and his Blue Devils' teammates were awarded in 1992 after winning consecutive NCAA tournament championships. And it's one Hurley kept in storage until shortly after opening his second season as Buffalo's coach in November.
"I started at the Kentucky game with it. It was the first time I wore it as coach," Hurley said, referring to a 71-52 loss to the top-ranked Wildcats in Buffalo's third game of the season.
"I felt like I need a little something extra in that game to go in there with a little more confidence playing a team like that," he said. "And so I decided to keep with it the rest of the year."
Lucky charm or not, Hurley will be wearing that ring in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday, when his Midwest Region's 12th-seeded Bulls (23-9), make their tournament debut facing fifth-seeded West Virginia (23-9).
Best coach on wheels
Getting around on a torn Achilles' tendon is just part of the challenge coach Ron Hunter faces in leading Georgia State (24-9) against Baylor (24-9) in the NCAA tournament.
He thinks he's got that part figured out, at least for now planning to use a rolling chair when he's not in his customary sideline stance.
"I'm not sitting down. I haven't sat down in 23 years as a head coach," Hunter insisted Wednesday. "Some guy just made a new crutch he wants me to try out, [and one company] said they've got this roller board they want to give me for the game. I'm saying yes to all that. So just send it to me for free, and we'll try all of it."