By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari understands why more than 25 NBA scouts will be at Kentucky tonight to watch Mississippi guard Terrico White.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They want to see him against our team. He is a pro,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Calipari. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He can get his own shot. He can score when he wants to. HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s physical.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Of course, White has to go against KentuckyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s backcourt of John Wall and Eric Bledsoe, who are both mentioned as first-round NBA draft picks, and frontcourt players DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson, two more potential first-round picks.
Mississippi lost 80-73 at home to Arkansas Sunday in a game that was delayed one day by weather conditions.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a quick turn obviously. We have one day of preparation for an outstanding Kentucky team,Ã¢â‚¬Â Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said.
If thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not enough trouble, the Rebels will again be without center Reggie Buckner Ã¢â‚¬â€their best and most physical interior player.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have to anticipate where we are supposed to be. Arkansas did a good job playing angles and overpowering us,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kennedy said even though his team won the rebounding battle 45-32. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Kentucky is outstanding with Cousins, Patterson, (Daniel) Orton and (Perry) Stevenson, who played a lot last year and is not getting much time this year. We have to be one step ahead to neutralize any of that inside strength we can.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Kennedy says that will be hard without Buckner, especially with the way Cousins has been dominating games when he has not been in foul trouble.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He (Buckner) is physically the only player we have with a chance to match up with some guys wearing big blue. We have to do better job off the ball and get more ball pressure and not allow people to throw it in their cleanly. Arkansas was our first game without his presence at the basket and obviously it was exploited,Ã¢â‚¬Â Kennedy said.
Still, Calipari sound leery of the RebelsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ potential against his Cats, who dropped to No. 4 in the AP rankings this week.
He says the Rebels are not a grind-it out team like Vanderbilt that Kentucky beat Saturday.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“They play more physical, have a few more athletic guys and run more breakdown offense. They donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get you off patterns,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said.
The Rebels (16-5, 4-3 SEC) had a three-game winning streak snapped by Arkansas and was the first time Ole Miss had lost when it won the rebounding battle.
Kennedy felt his team had a letdown against Arkansas, a team UK beat by 31 points. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I am anxious to see how we respond,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We have to find a way to hold our own up front. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a great opportunity to play in a legendary arena on national TV. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why kids come to the SEC to play. I just hope our guys bounce back and come in with the right approach.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Calipari has no doubt Ole Miss will do that.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When you talk about (Chris) Warren and White, you are talking about two of the best guards in the country. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re inside people are active, block shots and they are physical,Ã¢â‚¬Â Calipari said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“They shoot 3Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s and they shoot them well. They are a top-20 team. They are a good team.Ã¢â‚¬Â