In addition to his weekly SEC teleconference this morning, Cal met with the local media this afternoon to preview tomorrow night’s game against Tennessee. The theme of the day? Buying in. Cal said that this team hasn’t done that and they probably never have had to before. That, along with the lack of a defensive stopper, are why the Cats have been prone to giving up big runs this season.
– Remember Jarnell Stokes’ claim that he would win in Rupp Arena? Cal does, and he’s using it to light a fire under his players: “Stokes says, ‘We’re winning in Rupp Arena. We’re not losing in Rupp Arena.’ All right, how do you take on that challenge? Because I imagine he will be ready to play.”
– If this team “buys in” and changes? “If we get it right, nobody will want to play this team by the end of the year. Right now, everyone wants to play this team.”
– During both the teleconference and the presser, Cal applauded the Rupp Arena crowd for their support on Saturday night, calling it one of the best crowds he’s seen during his time at Kentucky. He especially liked how fans gave Elston Turner a standing ovation.
– Who could be that defensive stopper like Liggins and MKG, whose pride in their defense drove them to the NBA? Cal said maybe Archie, but the solution may just be working on the zone, which they’ve spent more time on in the last two weeks than in Cal’s entire career. Cal still hates the zone, but says that he wants “this team to have the chance to win.”
– On Alex Poythress’ performance Saturday: “Alex played fine, but it’s about sustained effort.” Cal met with the team yesterday and asked them if they’ve ever played better or harder in their career. Each player said no, that this was the best and hardest they’ve ever played. Cal believes that, but at Kentucky, “it’s still not enough.” +5 points if you had “warp speed” and “steroids” on your Calipari Catchphrase Bingo Card.
– Willie Cauley-Stein told reporters that the team moved forward during Camp Cal but reverted when games started back up. Now, he says they have to rally together behind the criticism: “Now we’re going to be the only ones to have our backs in the whole thing, so we have to stick together.”
– Fans aren’t the only ones surprised at the Cats’ 10-5 record. Willie Cauley-Stein admits when he first came to Lexington, he never expected to lose five games: “No, I mean, it’s Kentucky.”
On this morning’s radio show, Matt and Ryan recapped the Texas A&M loss, a big weekend in recruiting, and whether or not Matt was too mean to a caller on the postgame show on Saturday.Get your podcast at TalkRadio1080.com. Or, after the jump.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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