By LARRY VAUGHT
Get ready for another infamous John Calipari tweak going into postseason play.
Remember back in 2014 when the highly-touted UK team struggled all season but then went from a No. 8 seed in the NCAA to playing Connecticut in the title game.
“We’re going to tweak some stuff the next couple days, we got some good stuff that I think – like I’m in a great frame of mind because I had time here yesterday, I spent three or four hours just in the office thinking of where we’ve come from, where are we going, what do we bring back, what do we talk about and how are we trying to do this?” Calipari said Monday. “I’m in a great space right now and I want my players in the same frame and same mindset that I’m in.”
Kentucky has had a wacky season. Earlier in the year Kentucky got on teams and pounded away. That later changed to getting a big lead but then letting opponents make big runs at the end of games. Recently, UK has fallen behind by 12 or more points early in games before coming back to win.
“There’s two things that we had to do. If you remember early in the season, no one knew our team – we didn’t know our team – and we were so fast, and scoring so quickly, and getting shots so fast that everybody adjusted and made us have to grind it out. And guess what, we’ve become a pretty good grind-it-out team,” Calipari said.
“Then, all of a sudden these teams came in and tried to get us early in the game and played like out of their minds early in the game and we were a little bit not on point, ready for the onslaught. It doesn’t mean we weren’t ready to play, we just weren’t ready for the onslaught that was coming at us and that’s happened for three games in a row. Yet, we’ve found a way to win and fight and stick together.
“There’s two things you have to do as a team: You have to learn to fight and that every possession matters, and then you have to learn to stick together. You have to stick to the script. You cannot break off and just do your own thing.
‘You can’t do it. Not when you get down. So, we’ve learned how you have to play for 40 minutes, we just haven’t done it yet. We’ve done it 20 minutes.”