By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky starts regular season play tonight against Stephen F. Austin, a team that has experienced recent NCAA Tournament success.
Kentucky coach John Calipari admits he probably did “overschedule” considering the youth he has on this team. Kentucky plays Michigan State Tuesday and will face UCLA, Arizona State, North Carolina and Louisville before starting conference play.
“Our first game is against a team that has been to three NCAA Tournaments back-to-back-to-back who will come in here with the idea that they’re beating a young team. They have veteran players even though they have lost some players. The players that are going to play in that game all were in the NCAA Tournament the last couple of years. I don’t like to overschedule. And again, as we go forward, like next year’s schedule, there’s a couple of things we have to figure out,” Calipari said Thursday.
“Home-and-home and do we start something on the road? Where are we with this schedule? It just happened (overscheduling). When you add a Big 12 Challenge (against Kansas in late January), when you throw that in, and you have a couple other neutral events, you have a couple of home-and-homes we’ve been playing, now all of sudden it’s going to be rough. It’s going to be rough.
“I’m just anxious to get started. I’m there and it’s like, OK, another season. The next time I turn around we’ll be going somewhere for Christmas. Then I’ll come back and the next time I turn around will be the conference tournament. And then the time I turn around – it’s just how it goes.”
Calipari likes the way Stephen F. Austin plays defense and spaces the floor on offense.
“They stretch out the court, they deny wings and they make entry passes tough. They like to go high-low. They like to go at their big guys and try to get our big guys in foul trouble. I’ve been talking to Bam (Adebayo) for two days now. ‘I’m not fouling.’ You just move around and you foul. He’s that big,” Calipari said.
Sophomore Isaiah Briscoe said the team is playing well together in practice and getting a feel for each other’s game.
“We’re sharing the ball a lot and we’re just running out in transition and just trying to fly,” Briscoe said. “I’m looking forward to the season starting, of course. Everybody else is and, like I said, I can’t wait to get out there and just get it going.”