Injuries and 3-point shooting are the areas getting the most focus as the University of Kentucky gets ready for Mount Saint Mary's on Friday night.
The No. 9 Wildcats are playing and practicing short-handed while both Immanuel Quickley and EJ Montgomery work on getting healthy enough to return to the Rupp Arena court.
Quickley is a starting guard who missed the Utah Valley game with a chest injury suffered in practice. He is listed day-to-day.
That day-to-day designation is the same for Montgomery, who has been out with an ankle injury since the first half of the Michigan State game.
Kahlil Whitney is available after dislocating a finger against Utah Valley. Starting guard Ashton Hagans is also working through a leg injury that has slowed him down some.
"When you talk about the kind of obstacles that we've had to go through in practice with guys being injured, sometimes the games now are different than practice," said Joel Justus, a UK assistant coach. "Whereas typically you're able to have your practices look like the games or emulate the games and sometimes be tougher, and that's why our teams have been good here and great here because the practices sometimes have been tougher than the games. Until we can get back to that where we have a full complement and our full roster, I think we're going to take some learning opportunities in the games."
Evansville beat UK 67-64 the night the Wildcats achieved a No. 1 ranking. Utah Valley put up a 3-point shooting barrage that kept things interesting with UK until the last minute on Monday. UK beat Utah Valley 82-74.
Mount Saint Mary's doesn't figure to offer much of a challenge for UK, but the Wildcats are trying to find some range with 3-point shooting, along with defending the 3 better.
UK also needs to match the intensity of the underdog teams it's been playing.
"We just gotta get back to what we were doing in Madison Square Garden," freshman forward Keion Brooks said. "Just going out and competing with the mentality that we have nothing to lose. Just got out playing hard and remember to have fun at the same time.
"To start off the season the first games the defense was tremendous. We came out with a fire and a passion to get stops. I feel like we kind of got complacent. We gotta get back to our defensive energy like what we were in Madison Square Garden, making it hard for opponents to score, taking them out of their stuff.
"We're going to get back to it. It's just a matter of focus and a matter of time."