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UK down to one-game season and players have to show who can be part of program


John Calipari says Kentucky is down to a “one-game season” starting with Saturday’s game against Florida.

“And it will be every game we play from here on out. It’s a one-game season. That’s what it is: a one-game season. Now are you going to fight like heck, play through the ups and downs of a game, or are you going to die? I can’t put it any more plainly or bluntly,” Calipari said before Friday’s practice after spending time earlier at the state tournament watching Madison Central standout Dominique Hawkins.

Calipari is not making things complicated for his team, which is coming off a disappointing effort that Georgia that has put its NCAA Tournament chances in jeopardy.

“But this team, we’re going to make it real simple what we’re trying to do. I watched the tape of (the previous Florida) game on the plane coming back. Got tobe better versus the press, and we gave them four 3’s just not talking,” Calipari said. “Other than that, we played good. I watched the tape. It wasn’t Nerlens (Noel) playing that great. We were fine. Got it to 10, had our chances, did some stuff, but we’ve got to have better structure against the press. We’ve got to be more consistent and disciplined in what we’re doing defensively. And we just can’t have the breakdowns we had down there.”

I just want to win games, so it doesn’t matter who we’re playing. To be truthful, if we beat Georgia, we still had to win this game. I didn’t want to say that down there, but that was the truth. We had to win. This is the game you’ve got to go and say, ‘All right, it’s a one-game season. How are you going to play?’ And you’re playing against a team that’s vying for a  one seed (in the NCAA). They’re playing for something, too, now. They’re trying to get a  one seed. So it’s going to be a hard ballgame. But that’s what we need.

“We need to keep the eye on this program, the far-reaching parts of it, not just tomorrow’s game. Where is this going? Who can be a part of it? Who can’t? When this kind of game comes, this is what playing at Kentucky is about. You’re at home. You’re going to have 25,000 crazy fans with you. Go ball. You’re not holding anything back.”

That obviously is a challenge for players to play with passion or move on. Maybe the NBA. Maybe another school. Maybe the bench next year when new players come in.

Calipari never knows what kind of effort he’ll get from his players, but he knows what he expects from UK fans.

“Our crowd has been great. They’ll be there. I’m not worried about our crowd. That’s the least of my worries,” Calipari said.

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  1. Jim Boyers

    We will be rowdy and vocal tomorrow. I have no doubt of that.

    1. Jim Boyers

      I have NEVER attended a game, involving one of my teams, whether it be high school, pro or college and thought that they would lose. I have known that they COULD lose, but never thought they WOULD lose. Tomorrow that will change. I don’t have much confidence at all that this UK team, playing with its’ current intensity, will come within 15 points of Flori-duh. That really sucks.

      I will still be there though, cheering and hoping for that tiny little chance of a miracle, because that is what a fan does. Even when all seems hopeless, there is always that nagging little belief that your team WILL make it happen. I am a fan and I will hold up my end of the deal. I just hope this UK team holds up theirs’.

  2. LindaS

    Great seeing you and Heidi last weekend, Jim. I have spent better times with you but other then what we watched on TV, it was really good to see y’all.
    Larry, you will not believe this. I was offered a free ticket to the game tomorrow. I turned it down. I could not see paying for gas, parking, food and possible souvenir and then crying all the way home. I cancelled my SEC trip and now I have done this. I hope I am not going crazy. Still Livin’ Blue and Lovin’ It!

    1. Jim Boyers

      It was great to see you too.

      If you came to the game tomorrow it might bring them luck.

  3. Robert

    I think we have some players that after the season are going to have some really hard decisions to make because with the class coming in next year playing time for some of these guys is going to be very little because coach Cal has already seen that some of them won’t fight to win I don’t know why they won’t do it maybe they are having a hard time adjusting to college play just not sure what it is and if coach can’t figure it out then it is over my head to try to but I think you will see some of these freshmen transfer rather than risk not getting to play next year if they stay then maybe they are up to the challenge we need some guys with experience going to be very interesting what some of these freshmen decide to do Nerlens is gone we have seen him play his last game at UK and Willy may go pro also but I hope he stays the rest of them thought have a lot of thinking to do because I’m not sure that any of the rest of them can play in the nba and just not sure how the will fit in next year since they haven’t gotten it this year will another year of experience help them don’t know all I can say is stay tuned to see what happens

  4. Karen Sprinkle

    It sounds to me like the rest of the season is a tryout for next year’s team in Coach Cal’s eyes. Perhaps that will lend each player a sense of urgency. I’ll be cheering, albeit in a different set of lucky clothes since frankly, the old lucky clothes aren’t getting the job done, from my seat in Danville. Go get ‘em, Cats! I believe you can do it!

  5. Larry T Clemons

    Florida Got, ” Willie – Mays’d “……Thank You Wildcats and Thank You Rupp Arena’s BBN !

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