By LARRY VAUGHT
One thing has jumped out to Tennessee coach Rick Barnes as he has watched Kentucky play recently.
“I think chemistry has been good. I think that’s the one thing, the fact that they’ve got terrific guard play. I still think they’re looking to establish an inside presence, too. It looks like they’re wanting Alex Poythress to be that guy that they can get to. (They have) excellent guard play,” Barnes said Monday on the SEC coaches teleconference.
Barnes said he knows that Calipari will keep “fiddling and meshing” until he gets the team where it wants it to be.
“IIf it means shortening your bench to do that, he’ll do that. They’ve just continued to improve,” Barnes said. “When you think of Kentucky, they’ve got to be on every night. Some kids take a little bit longer trying to figure that out. I don’t care how many stars you put by a recruit’s name. They come in, it’s never as easy as they thought it would be.
“I think (John Calipari) does the best job of anybody at working those guys in there early. The environment they live in is incredible. I think it takes some guys to adjust to that as well, but on the court, his teams have always gotten better. They’ve never stayed the same.”
Calipari indicated that he thought Tennessee might use the same triangle and two defense on UK that Kansas had success with late in Saturday’s game when it beat the Cats in overtime.
“We’ve used it this year. We’ve used a triangle, we’ve used a one-three and a chaser, we take guys and try to take a couple guys out and replace with some other people. When you’re small like we are, we trapped the post different ways. John knows, we’ve played against each other a couple times and he knows that we’ve done things like that,” Barnes said.
“We’re not going to catch them off guard. When we got back, I got to see the tail end of that game, and I saw Kansas was in a triangle-and-two, and what they were doing. I know John knows I’d rather play man-to-man, but he knows we’re going to do whatever we think we can to win a basketball game.”