By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky doesn’t need national media members picking No. 12 seed Davidson to beat UK Thursday night in the NCAA Tournament South Region to get John Calipari’s team focused on its first-round opponent.
“We let you guys look ahead and we focus on the task at hand. We know obviously from the four-game losing streak that we’ve been through we can’t overlook any team,” Kentucky sophomore Wenyen Gabriel said. ” Any team, they have the ability to beat you. If you don’t come in with the type of focus that you need to win the game, you can eventually lose. So we gotta focus on winning the game, each game one game at a time.”
Gabriel admits UK is in a “tough bracket” but unlike some UK fans, he knows March Madness means having to play good team.s.
“We got Davidson coming up and we know they can really shoot the ball. That’s a good team we gotta focus on right there and I’m not trying to look too far down the bracket after we play Davidson,” Gabriel said. “Hopefully we win, then we’re going to look on to the next game.”
Gabriel was one of UK’s bright spots in the SEC Tournament win as he went 11-for-15 from 3-point range. Going into NCAA play, he’s like a first-year player because he played only sparingly on last year’s Elite Eight team in NCAA games.
“My message to them (teammates) is just focus on the game at hand. The intensity that we brought to this tournament, we gotta play the next game just like that,” Gabriel said. “The tournament gave us some kind of experience to sit on. It’s been great for our confidence, especially being a young team, and hopefully we’ll use this firepower to keep going on.”