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).