By LARRY VAUGHT
Kevin Knox isn’t buying the theory that Kentucky has an easy path going into the South Region semifinals.
“I don’t think we’ve had an easy path. I mean, every game you’ve got to be able to come out and fight. You see a lot of upsets, so there’s a lot of teams coming out and trying to knock you off,” Knox said.
Kentucky plays Kansas State tonight after Buffalo and Loyola-Chicago play hte first game. The winners play Saturday for a spot in the Final Four.
“I think every game we’ve got to come out and fight for 40 minutes. I don’t think we’ve had an easy path at all so far. Some top seeds got knocked out but we’re not focused about that.,” Knox said. “We are just focused about us and just making sure we go out and fight and just play to win.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari tried to sell a similar message at his press conference Wednesday.
“After the tournament unfolds, right now, seeds don’t matter. We’ve all advanced. There’s 16 of us, and the four in this region is the only four I care about,” Calipari said.
“And really I only care about Kansas State right now. Where they’re seeded, who cares. If they come out and play well, do you think I’m thinking about, they’re an 8 seed or a 7 or a 9, whatever it is? It doesn’t matter.
“This is a basketball game of two teams that are still standing that will fight until the death to win a basketball game. And that’s going to happen in every one of these games. ”
Kentucky has to prepare for Kansas State not knowing if leading score Dean Wade, who has missed the last three games with an ankle injury, will play or not. It sounded Wednesday like he would at least play some unlike UK’s Jarred Vanderbilt who seems doubtful after missing the last five games.
“We know he’s a really good player. He really knocks down the shot and really scores in the mid-range,” Knox said about Wade. “But us not knowing if he’s going to play or not, we are just really focusing on us.
“We don’t really care if he plays or not. We just want to go out and do what we defensively and offensively. Hopefully, he plays so they have no excuse, but we’re just going to go out and just play our best basketball.”