Kentucky coach John Calipari does have one major worry — Louisville’s energy level.
“Let me tell you the one thing with them, they play extremely hard, way harder than we’ve played, like way harder,” Calipari said about the Cards after the Belmont win. “And again, they’re a Final Four, national championship team this year — those guys are back. They know how hard to play; they’re not rattled late, all the things that this team is still learning about.
“Three games, we lose. Three minutes to go, it’s a one‑point game, and we don’t win any of them, and not only don’t we win any of them, almost lose double digits in each of them. Could have easily in each of them. One‑point game with three minutes to go. So we have a lot of learning to do, and that’s the next one.”
Was Calipari trying to motivate the Cats or does Louisville play that much harder than UK?
“I guess we are going to have to see,” Randle said when asked about the comment. “We just got to continue to get better at communicating and I think we’ll be fine. We just have to bring energy and make sure everybody is excited to play, and we will be.”
“Well, that’s what Cal says,” Polson said. “I hope we will play harder. That’s our goal.”
Calipari let players go home for Christmas after Saturday’s game for a holiday break before full practice resumes Christmas night.
“That could go either way, it would be nice to have a full week to prepare and scheme and stuff but it’s gonna be good (to go home). We haven’t been home for months so it’ll be good to step back and really evaluate yourself and come back fresh and ready to go,” Cauley-Stein said.
“We’re really excited about the break. A lot of guys haven’t been home in a while just because they live so far away, so we’re going to enjoy this three or four days and then we’re getting back on Christmas and working for obviously Louisville,” Polson said. “We’re all looking forward to it and I think all the fan base is looking forward to it, so it’ll be a war.”