Most Recent Posts
- ESPN.com’s Jason King seems to have logical rankings going into next season
- Mark Stoops on John Calipari: “I love being around him”
- UK football coach Mark Stoops understands that hiring Vince Marrow was a home run for Kentucky
- Video: Larry hears cowbells, makes a chocolate cow and soaks up the culture in Switzerland
- Video: UK offensive coordinator Neal Brown talks about recruiting the home state of Kentucky
- What role did Drew Barker’s mother play in his athletic development?
- Calipari will be keynote speaker at Iba Awards June 3 in Tulsa
- D.J. Eliot understands coach Mark Stoops “very well” can bring new ideas to UK defense
Kentucky coach John Calipari believes his team is “improving in all areas.” He just worries that tonight it might not all show at No. 7 Florida.
“This a worthy opponent, well-coached team, a tough team, a physical team. I’m watching them, they bang and bump and grind,” said Calipari Monday.
“Their guards really attack. I mean, if you’re in a cool mode, you’re getting killed in this game. You’ve got to be trying to survive every bounce of the ball, every trip up and down. You’re trying to survive. If you’re in a cool mode, like I’m going to bounce it high, you’re getting killed in this game.
“You got to know what the game is, accept it, not be selfish, know what the team needs you to do and just go out and do it. You do it for 40 minutes, you get a chance. It’s just hard to do it because they put a lot of pressure on you. They’re a very good team.”
Kentucky had to survive a physical game with Auburn Saturday that Calipari hopes prepared his team for what the Gators might do.
“Florida plays that way anyway, naturally. Auburn did a great job of trapping quickly on Nerlens (Noel). I expect that’s what we’ll see Florida do,” Calipari said. “They also did a job of switching defenses. I also expect Florida will throw some of that at us.
“But mainly, they’re just going to come try to maul us and blitzkrieg. It’s good. We’ve got to withstand it. We’ll find out where we are. We all know we’ve gotten better, everybody that’s watched us. Individual players have gotten better. Now, are we ready for this kind of challenge? We will see.”
Arkansas handed Florida its only Southeastern Conference loss last week. However, Calipari said there was not much he could learn from that game to help his team.
“The best thing I can tell you: If you come out and you make nine out of your first 10 shots, you really have a chance of getting them,” Calipari joked.
Kentucky’s depth could be tested in this game. Junior Jarrod Polson played 20 minutes against Auburn, a SEC career-high for him. Calipari has indicated at times that some games might be too physical or athletic for Polson. However, he said he can “absolutely” count on him to help against Florida.
“You stick him in the game, and he just plays his butt off. Then everybody says, ‘Why won’t the other guys watch that and do that?’ He’s doing it. It doesn’t mean he makes every shot. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t turn it over. Once a game he’s going to get stripped. Accept it, don’t get mad coach,” Calipari said. “He’s going to dribble down, the guys going to take it from him and shoot a layup.
“But, his energy, his effort, his toughness, everybody watches. Just guys, play like that. ‘I don’t have to.’ Why? ‘I’m better than that.’ Well, not really. That’s the kind of stuff we’re fighting every day.
“It’s like Kyle (Wiltjer) in practice. Why should Kyle practice like that and no one else? Same deal. What’s happened is everybody is starting to elevate because of Willie (Cauley-Stein)’s energy, Jarrod’s energy, Kyle’s practice habits. All of the sudden — because of Archie’s practice habits — we’re starting now to take that climb that you have to have to have a chance to do something.”