By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky can claim the Southeastern Conference championship by winning its final four games starting with tonight’s game at Missouri.
The Tigers have struggled most of the season and Kentucky is a big favorite tonight on the road.
“I think every game we play, I think it’s important that we play to our standards. It’s not about the other team, and that’s no disrespect to any team we play in this conference. They all are good teams. Our standard is higher,” said Kentucky associate coach Kenny Payne.
“We are demanding as coaches. This is a demanding program, and when you step on the court, you’re expected to play a certain way. Lately you’ve been hearing Coach (John Calipari) talk about confidence and energy. You’re expected to win when you hit the floor.
“As hard as we work on your games, the skill development, the going over the film sessions, there’s no reason you should play basketball and not be confident.”
Kentucky has faced a similar situation against Missouri before.
“If I remember, the last time we were at Missouri the first half for like 12, 14 minutes it was touch and go and then we spread it out a little bit. But I fully expect – I’m going to say it again, when I’m looking at coaches it’s not when a guy is on a 10-game win streak, it’s when stuff goes bad. How does your team – do you keep them together, do they keep growing, do they keep trying, do they stay positive?” Calipari said.
“That’s what he’s doing. Like I said, I know what their record is so I expected to see something different when I started watching tape. But I fully expect that they’re going to come and play. You know what they do, they shoot the ball better than you give them credit for. Like, if you’re like, OK, how do they shoot? You know what, they’re dangerous because they can make perimeter shots.”