Kentucky's No. 1 ranking will have others 'trying to take our heads off'

Jerry Tipton, Lexington Herald-Leader on

Published in Basketball

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Sophomore Immanuel Quickley drew a big laugh when asked his reaction to Kentucky being voted No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll released on Monday.

"Well, we haven't been No. 1 that long," he said. "I think it's been, like, 20 minutes."

When the reporters' laughter subsided, Quickley acknowledged that a No. 1 ranking can inspire opponents. For instance, it inspired Kentucky against then No. 1 Michigan State in the season's opening game.

"Definitely," Quickley said. "Just the atmosphere of that game. We knew it was a big game. ... We knew what was on the table."

Teammate Kahlil Whitney said he expected Kentucky to be voted No. 1. He, too, saw that meaning inspired opponents.

"I think people are trying to take our heads off," he said. "We have to watch our P's and Q's."


At this early stage of the season, Quickley declined to take a bow for Kentucky being No. 1.

When asked if the Kentucky players felt like they were the best team, he repeated the question. "Do we feel like the best team in the country?" he said. "I don't know. I really haven't seen no one else play, to be honest. I'm just worried about me and my teammates."

When asked about EJ Montgomery playing against Evansville, UK Coach John Calipari sound more cautious than optimistic.

"I doubt it," he said. "It's day to day."


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