Darius Miller knows what to expect when Kentucky travels to North Carolina.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun especially in the atmosphere that we will be playing in,” Miller said Thursday. “It will probably be like a tournament atmosphere, and it will be great experience for us as a young team. Hopefully it will make us better.”
Kentucky (5-1) rebounded from the team’s first loss of the season with a 91-57 rout over Boston University earlier this week at Rupp Arena. Miller said the team’s ability to get back on the winning track will prove to be beneficial against the Tar Heels.
“I think that it will help us a lot especially with the speed they play with,” he said. “We will be better prepared, since we have already played several quick teams this season.”
Miller admitted that North Carolina’s bigger front court is a concern, but likes his team’s chances against the Tar Heels.
“It’s going to be a pretty big challenge, we are just going to have to prepare and work on it,” he said. “I think that Enes (Kanter) has done a great job of preparing us for how it is going to be this Saturday.”
As one of the veterans on the team, Miller is experienced when it comes to playing in a hostile environment, but is confident the young players will come through in the team’s first real test of the regular season.
“We have been playing great teams already so I think the young guys know what to expect, so I have all the confidence in the world in them,” he said.
Because of foul problems, Miller played just 19 minutes in the win over Boston University. Miller logged seven minutes in the first half, but did most of his production in the second half against the Terriers. Miller scored eight points, connected on a pair of 3-pointers, dished out three assists and had a pair of blocks and one steal.
Kentucky assistant coach John Robic said it was hard for Miller to get into the flow of the game with foul trouble and quipped it was difficult for the junior guard to “shoot if from the bench.
“I think he is improving every day,” he said. “I think our whole team has since we have returned from Maui.”
Miller said he’s trying to compete aggressively without going over the proverbial limit, like he did in Kentucky’s previous encounter.
“Coach has talked to us about it, with me being in foul trouble a lot lately,” he said. “It will have to be something where we make smarter decisions on the defensive and the offensive end.”
Miller expects the team to compete as a unit against the struggling Tar Heels and continue to bond on both ends of the court. Miller said Carolina’s 4-3 record won’t be matter once the contest begins and added that the Wildcats must be ready to compete in order to come out with a win.
“No matter how either of the teams are doing, we have to be ready to go,” he said.
Story by Keith Taylor