By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky assistant coach Kenny Payne says forget the record, Tennessee is good enough to beat UK tonight in Knoxville — something the Vols did last year.
“They’re going to be hungry and aggressive against us. We’ve got to go out and play well to beat them. It is what it is. They’re a good team. They’re a tough, scrappy team. We’ve got to defend and rebound and play Kentucky basketball and be efficient,” said Payne Monday.
Many fans are worried with No. 1/2 Kansas coming to UK Saturday night along with ESPN GameDay that the Cats might overlook a not so significant SEC game. Payne says that would be a big no-no.
“Every time we step out on the floor you can see it. They’re coming with their best game whether it was Mississippi State, whether it is Tennessee. We can’t afford to look ahead to anybody. We know that we can be beat by anybody,” Payne said.
“I mean if you look at everybody that we played, especially on the road – the crowd is there. It’s going to be a dog fight. We’re expecting it. Coach Cal has talked about how they beat us last year, how scrappy they are, and how physical and hard they’re going to play against us. They’re very well coached and have a great coach in Rick Barnes. They’re going to be ready for us.”
What about the 9 p.m. start? Does that concern Payne?
“I think as adults we worry about it. I think as kids they could care less. They probably have more energy at 9 p.m. than we will,” Payne said.