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Calipari’s insights on today’s game

Here’s what John Calipari had to say Thursday night about today’s game with Alabama:

On Alabama’s energy level after having played a game today ?
“They’re going on adrenaline right now, so they will be fine. After today, we’re all in back-to-back situations. For everybody in the country, there are no days off now. There’s no disadvantage, and they don’t want their season to end, and they’re going to bring it. Alabama could come out of the gate making shots and making plays, playing inspired. We just have to remember they will have to play that way for 40 minutes, and that’s difficult when you’re on adrenaline. That’s why you better bring it and you better look at this and see what the level of the game is. You can’t say you’re playing hard if he’s playing harder than you. Because then you’re going to lose.”

On how Kentucky will come out to start the game ?
“Until the ball is thrown up, you don’t know how this young team is going to respond. We haven’t been in this environment. We haven’t been in a tournament setting where it’s this type of a competition where every possession truly matters. You cannot come in and start the game how you did at Tennessee because you’ll be down 18-4. This is all new to them.”

On Alabama’s game plan against Kentucky ?
“They’ll press us some. They’re a team that will spread the court and press. If they do that, it will open up lanes for us. The games that they’ve played well in are games that they have pressed. I’m not sure if that’s the best thing they do against us, but if it’s working for you, you don’t worry about us. You do what you do. They played some zone against us last time, and I imagine they’ll do that again. It’s more than winning for us, it’s how we play. It’s about getting us in the right frame of mind for a post-season run. Teams are getting knocked off in tournaments, but the good news is it’s not one-and-done yet.”

On playing inspired basketball ?
“When you’re playing a team like that, you have to have the same energy and you have to have the same mentality. You have to be playing for something that’s important to you, and for us it’s the seed in the NCAA Tournament. I’ve done this a long time, and if anybody tells you seed doesn’t matter, they’ve never coached in the NCAA Tournament. Seeding does matter. If that’s more important to us than them playing their season beyond this, we’ll be fine. If it’s more important that they continue their season than it is for us to lock in our seed, then we’ll get beat.”

On Kentucky’s experience from the regular season ?
“We haven’t had an easy game all year. Every game we’ve played, there was something attached. These guys responded. We lost a couple of road games, and in both of those games with a minute to go, we could’ve won the game. I will say there are another ten games we could’ve lost in the last two minutes that we ended up winning. I’m pleased, I love my team. I know they’re young, they’re inexperienced, they do dumb things, but they also have a will to win and they want to win. Again, we’re playing Alabama. These guys never think the game is over, and if you think the game is over, you’re going to lose.”

On having the mentality of playing to win ?
“My one comment to my team is that if you play not to lose, more than likely you’re going to lose. You’ve got to play to win. If you’re going to hold the ball to try to get out of a game, in these environments, you’re going to lose. That’s why we almost got back in the game at Tennessee. I imagine that, without watching the tape, is what South Carolina tried to do today. All of the sudden, the momentum turns and you can’t stop it.”

On how DeAndre Liggins practiced ?
“He was good today, he and Darnell (Dodson) were good in practice. I showed him tape today, and I’m not a big tape guy for our team, but we watched three minutes of our Alabama game because I wanted to show them that Alabama came out of the gate and played harder and played more inspired than we did. Then I stuck DeAndre in the game and the tape showed him diving on the floor, offensively rebounding, and I said ‘where is this guy?’ He dove on the floor, and the team busted out laughing. I think he gets it, and I think he’ll be fine.”

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  1. KC

    It’s not about how Alabama plays. It’s about how Kentucky plays. If the Cats keep their kool while playing their game we’ll be doing this again on Saturday and Sunday.
    Nice job Larry.

    GO BIG BLUE!!!

  2. David in Decatur AL

    Folks in AL think they will beat us. Lets prove them wrong.

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