Calipari won't change lineup vs. UNC

December, 3, 2009
12/03/09
12:54
PM ET
Kentucky coach John Calipari said Thursday that he won't change his starting lineup for the North Carolina game Saturday at Rupp Arena. But he did want to reiterate that outside of junior forward Patrick Patterson, the Wildcats are playing players who don't exactly have a lot of college experience. He said the Kentucky faithful desperately want to win this game against fellow blue blood UNC, but he said "we've got to learn what we are still.'

Calipari said the Wildcats have been fortunate to this point and could easily be 4-3 instead of 7-0.

"We could have lost to Miami of Ohio, Sam Houston State or Stanford,'' Calipari said. "We need a stretch like this coming up.''

Kentucky follows the Carolina game by going to New York to play Connecticut in the SEC/Big East Invitational and then goes to rebuilding Indiana on Dec. 12. "This is all good because I always say you learn against good teams that [are just] as big, quick and athletic,'' Calipari said.

A couple of other notes:

* Fairfield coach Ed Cooley will receive a three-year contract extension, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com. The school is expected to announce it later Thursday. Cooley now has five more years on his contract. Fairfield is 4-2 so far this season after Monday's loss at Hofstra. The Stags are expected to be a middle of the pack team in the MAAC.

* The Big East is out promoting itself, as it should after a stellar November. The league has seven ranked teams in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, three teams ranked in the top eight and six in the top 18. So much for a rebuilding year, eh? In November, the Big East won 87 percent of its non-conference games (79-12), won the first 41 games, was 50-2 at home, 6-2 away, 23-8 on neutral sites and 6-3 vs. ranked teams. Six teams were undefeated in November, eight others had only one loss and every team had a winning record.

Villanova won the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic, Syracuse won the Coaches vs. Cancer in New York City, West Virginia won the 76 Classic in Anaheim, St. John's won the Philly Hoop Group Classic, Cincinnati lost in the Maui Invitational final, Marquette lost in the Old Spice Classic Orlando final and UConn lost in the NIT Season Tip-Off final. Pitt lost in the CBE Classic final to Texas, although all it had to do was beat a depleted Wichita State. Providence won a not-so-tough World Vision Invitational and Louisville won all four games in the Hall of Fame Showcase, but none came against a team that will be in the NCAA tournament.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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