By LARRY VAUGHT
Well, at least Marcus Lee is saying the right things after Kentucky’s perplexing loss at Tennessee after it had a 34-13 lead late in the first half Tuesday.
“Emotionally I think we’re ready to be the aggressors now, and I’ve seen that in practice. A loss is like those, you see players kind of regretting practice and kind of just hesitating and not really excited for it. It’s been the total opposite,” Lee said.
“We’ve all come into practice trying to get better. Our practice was through the roof the other day. That’s just the way I saw it and that’s the way you get over games like that the best.”
Too bad the Cats weren’t excited to practice before Tennessee or they might not have given away a victory that would have made reaching the NCAA Tournament much easier. Now they are a 4.5-point favorite Saturday over Florida, a team that has won five of its last six games.
“Yesterday was a rough-house practice,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said Friday. “Marcus Lee was really good yesterday. I don’t know. Don’t ask ask me. ‘Why wasn’t he into the game?’ I don’t know. But he was really, really good yesterday to the point of like the old Marcus Lee from earlier this year.
“Will he be that tomorrow? That’s the hard thing about what we’re trying to do with coaching. If he really does his thing, it kind of puts everything in a spot that we’re good with. If you’re on the side scrambling, who’s next? How do we do this? It just makes it hard.”
That’s the challenge Calipari faces. Who will play well when? Will defenders score? Will scorers defend? Will big men rebound?
” I’m not looking at this other than, I’m blessed to be here and have this opportunity. I’m not like woe is me. Ain’t no way. It’s just figure it out and accept the challenge of this and know that we can beat anyone in the country. And, we can lose to anybody in the country.”