A quick three-spot from today’s UK basketball media opp previewing Saturday’s game at Auburn:
1. Don’t expect Willie Cauley-Stein to play Saturday night. Or at least John Calipari said that he is operating under the presumption that the freshman forward will not play. UK announced this afternoon that Cauley-Stein underwent a minor procedure on his left knee on Thursday after an old injury began bothering the Kansas native. Calipari said the injury occurred in high school.
If Cauley-Stein cannot play, the Cats will have one less big man for the trip to Auburn. Alex Poythress could play the power-forward spot in place of Cauley-Stein. But Calipari pointed out that Cauley-Stein played just six minutes against Duke and was not much of a factor against Maryland in the season-opener.
Cauley-Stein played 15 minutes against Tennessee on Tuesday night, scoring seven points and grabbing five rebounds. Calipari said his play has been affected by the nagging injury so they decided to get it checked out.
2. Everybody’s Super Bowl. That’s the Calipari mantra and was a big topic of discussion after Texas A&M’s Elston Turner scored just four points in the Aggies’ blowout loss to visiting Florida on Thursday night. Turner scored 40 points in A&M’s win at Rupp Arena last Saturday, the game before.
There is a similar scenario Saturday. Auburn has sold out its new(ish) arena and the school is retiring the jersey of late Auburn star Mike Mitchell before the game. Calipari claimed the Tigers were talking about playing Kentucky before they lost in double overtime at Arkansas 88-80 on Wednesday night.
3. Kyle Wilter’s confidence. The sophomore forward is usually pretty guarded with the media, careful not to say too much. But you would have to think Wiljter’s confidence was helped by his 17-point performance in Tuesday night’s win over Tennessee. Wiltjer shot the ball well, but also made nice drives to the baskets, blocked a couple of shots and scored some late baskets inside.
UK could use a repeat of that performance on the road, especially since Cauley-Stein may not be available.