Calipari on what Alabama thinks: “Let’s punch them in the mouth”

LSU had no trouble getting inside the UK defense Tuesday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky not only had a three-hour practice as John Calipari promised after Tuesday night’s win over LSU, but the Cats also apparently had a much harder than normal practice Thursday to prepare for Saturday afternoon’s game at Alabama.

“They know we gotta create some habits that we’ve gotten away from and they know that. We did what we have to do. I feel much better with the direction. When it takes you three weeks to get to a point, it’s going to take you time to get out of it’s because you’re trying to create different habits, both offensively and defensively,” Calipari said Friday.

“Some of it was just plain energy, effort and enthusiasm. And others it was some little technical stuff, both on offense and defense, that we had to do different things. It’s not always just play hard. Some of it is. I thought it was – we’re on a good path.”

So is Alabama. It’s coming off a four-overtime win at South Carolina that knocked the Gamecocks out of the SEC lead. Alabama had a 17-point first-half lead in the game.

“They’ll probably go at us like Florida did. Let’s go right at them. Let’s punch them in the mouth. Let’s shoot balls and forget about missing them; just shoot them and we’ll go rebound them. Let’s move the ball a little bit; make them stay in a stance long, see what they do,” Calipari said. “Throw them into some pick-and-rolls. They’ll probably go off that game plan. Hopefully we are little different team from that game down there (when UK lost by 22 points last week).”

Calipari was impressed that Alabama outhustled South Carolina.

“It’s unusual for me to tell you that South Carolina got beat to all the 50-50 balls. They had one player that just took the team on the back, and that’s how they even survived. They got beat to a lot of balls, and it shows me that Alabama is going to fight. They’re going to battle. They play,” Calipari said. “They do a lot of isolation post-ups because they’re big. Their guards are 6-7 and 6-8. And their point guard is big, too. They’re a big team.”

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