Sports

No. 11 Kentucky remains a work in progress but moves forward with No. 18 North Carolina next

  • Kentucky's Julius Randle, left, attempts to drive under the defense of Boise State's Nick Duncan during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky defeated Boise State 70-55. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

    Kentucky's Julius Randle, left, attempts to drive under the defense of Boise State's Nick Duncan during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky defeated Boise State 70-55. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)  (The Associated Press)

  • Boise State's Anthony Drmic, right, ties up Kentucky's Julius Randle during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 70-55. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

    Boise State's Anthony Drmic, right, ties up Kentucky's Julius Randle during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 70-55. (AP Photo/James Crisp)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein, right, charges into the defense of Boise State's Anthony Drmic during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 70-55. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

    Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein, right, charges into the defense of Boise State's Anthony Drmic during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday Dec. 10, 2013, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 70-55. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)  (The Associated Press)

The happiness expressed by Kentucky players after Tuesday night's victory over Boise State wasn't just because they played the type of game indicative of their abilities.

For once, the 11th-ranked Wildcats had a performance to build from.

That's a big issue for Kentucky (8-2), which faces another measuring stick on Saturday at No. 18 North Carolina. The game will mark the young Wildcats' first on-campus road test after going 1-2 in neutral-site games.

They enter having shown signs of growth in a 70-55 victory featuring execution on both ends. Though the Wildcats' highly touted freshmen remain a project with plenty of lessons to learn in a challenging month before Southeastern Conference begins, they took a step forward and look forward to what's next against the Tar Heels (6-2).