Calipari on opponents: “They’re coming out like a cornered animal.”

Malik Monk (Jeff Houchin Photo)


If there is one thing Kentucky coach John Calipari wants to see from his team in NCAA Tournament play it is playing all out for 40 minutes.

“There are things that we’re doing in games that are letting people hang around. And if you’re going to do something in this thing we’re walking into and you give a team hope, and it’s life or death, they’re coming out clawing. They’re coming out like a cornered animal. You can’t give them hope,” Calipari said.

“We do that a lot. That’s where I say, we’re getting better, but what we’re doing we gotta try to do it for 40 minutes. Thirty-eight minutes. I would take 35 minutes, but right now we’re at like 30, sometimes less.”

While Kentucky has a young team, Calipari said bad habits are as much to blame for not putting teams away as a lack of experience.

“You can say experience, but not all experience is good now. I don’t want bad experience. That doesn’t help you at all. The experience is doing it on the court, creating new habits, whether you’re young or old, that are going to put you in a position to be more consistent in your effort, in your focus – are you locked in? – all those things that, when we are, we’re really good,” Calipari said.

“When we’re not, we’re really bad. So, that’s what it is. But I’m pleased with where all these guys are at this point. Now, we just got to collectively be totally locked in for a game and when the game ends we talk about it.”

Kentucky plays Northern Kentucky University Friday night in Indianapolis. If the Cats win, they will play either Dayton or Wichita State on Sunday.

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