By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky plays Saturday at Vanderbilt and Tuesday at Florida before closing the season by hosting LSU. On Friday, Kentucky coach John Calipari said that schedule will make it hard for UK to win the conference title despite having a one-game lead.
“We’re gonna play the games, and I’m more concerned about us getting better. We have two tough road games and a team that beat our brains in down there. So we could lose all three. But if we’re playing at a high level and doing what we’re supposed to, we’ll be going into the tournament, we’ll be fine,” Calipari said.
“We’ll build in the SEC tournament. So you can’t really tell. Right now, it doesn’t look promising, but we’ll see.”
Kentucky has been without at least one scholarship player in 20 of 28 games this season and figures to be missing Derek Willis at Vandy due to his sprained ankle.
“With what we’ve been through, and we don’t talk about injuries and all that stuff. We just play ball games. The biggest thing is like a guy like Tyler Ulis. Early in the year there was no one talking about him for player of the year. Now he’s talked about (as) player of the year,” Calipari said.
“You look at Jamal (Murray). There was big question marks on Jamal two months ago. Now all of a sudden, he can play with anybody. This is the best guard tandem.
“You look at Isaiah (Briscoe) and the question marks they had. Now they’re saying, ‘Geeze, just make one or two shots. He doesn’t even have to make them all. Just make one or two. This kid defensively and rebounding…’ You look at Isaac (Humpries) and you say, ‘What?’
“Dom (Hawkins) has been hurt. We need Dom to make a couple shots, but he’s not even – that’s the best thing about when you’re doing this: Basically every day we embrace the process. Just embrace it, and the guys that embrace the process you see them improve. The guys that don’t, the delusional guy – ‘I’m just going to do what I do and that’s going to work’ – just doesn’t work. It’s hard to get better. Having Alex back playing like he is, and Marcus Lee seems to be kicking in gear.”