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Cats focused on getting better, not North Carolina or Louisville

Dominique Hawkins had three assists Sunday. (Hofstra Athletics Photo)

Dominique Hawkins had three assists Sunday. (Hofstra Athletics Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

After beating Hofstra 96-73 Sunday, Kentucky is now 9-1 with games against North Carolina in Las Vegas and at Louisville next.

That could help determine where UK, which shot 51 percent from the field Sunday, might be as far as contending for a national championship in March.

“That’s a long way from now. Like you said, we’re still in the beginning of the season. Guys are still getting better,” UK sophomore Isaiah Briscoe, who had 19 points and six assists Sunday, said after the game.

“We’re still jelling as a team and we just focus on getting better every day collectively as a team. When March comes around, we’ll focus on March. But right now we’re focused on the next game and just getting better.”

Okay. So what will it be like facing North Carolina and then Louisville?

“I was focused on playing Hofstra,” Briscoe said.

Maybe freshman Malik Monk, who had 20 points and four assists, would answer.

“We never focus on the next game. We just got to focus on this one first before we play them,” Monk said.

Kentucky coach John Calipari certainly agrees. He found plenty of reason to still fret after the Hofstra victory.

“We have a long way to go. We still have some players (who) aren’t playing with the confidence they have to play with. I’m not sure what it is about them. I did tell them this: I am so happy because Wednesday will be our last final (exams). I don’t have to worry about anything academically. Nothing. We’ll go 29 straight days four-a-days. Got nothing to worry about except basketball,” Calipari said.

“Right now, we gotta get through Wednesday. They’re off tomorrow, get through these finals. But we have a lot of work to do. Literally, I tried to play two bigs to see what it looked like and I just wasn’t happy with it. We went to four guards and Dom (Hawkins) fouled right away. I wanted to see what that looked like. We just have a ways to go. Just got a ways to go.”

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