As hard as it is to believe, Kentucky’s regular season is winding down. Sure, there are still nine remaining games on the schedule, but there isn’t much room for teaching behind the scenes before March Madness pops up.
Take the team’s weekly schedule: Sunday, rest and film from the day before; Monday, preparation for the next day’s game; Tuesday, game; Wednesday, rest and film from the day before; Thursday, regular practice with the opportunity to add more; Friday, preparation for the next day’s game; and Saturday, game. Make room for travel surrounding the away games and, oh yeah, going to school. It’s a busy time for the Wildcats.
So as you can see, only Thursdays provide time for John Calipari and his staff to introduce new things to the team. And there are only four of those left before the postseason, which means only four times for Calipari to tweak what they’re doing.
“What do we add?” Cal asked, in Tuesday’s postgame interview with Tom Leach. “You can’t add 30 things, so what are the two or three things we want to work on?”
I hope you’re sitting down because you won’t believe what he said next.
“I think we have to be ready to play a zone.”
“I think we have to be ready to play a zone because there are some teams out there that don’t shoot the ball,” he explained. “Do you remember my 2010 team? We faced that zone and we went 0-for-18 from the three-point line and lost. My guess is we would’ve won a national title that year, but we also knew there was a chance we could have a shooting night that way.”
Too soon, Coach. Way too soon.
“So now I’m saying, let’s get a zone ready. But I don’t have a whole lot of time if we need some offensive things too. That’s where we are, and as a staff we just have to figure out what we have to add as we wind this down.”
The team is beginning to feel empowered, he said, although he thought he had to do too much coaching in Tuesday’s game against South Carolina. The game before that, at Florida, the team saw some slippage, too.
“You can’t get away from what is working. You don’t mess with happiness. Just don’t mess with it. You mess with a happiness and you always look back and say, what was I thinking? When things are going good and you’re playing well, don’t mess with it. Just ride it and get better at that. Then you don’t feel as much and you’re going to play to your strengths.”
“I think we got a team full of guys who are starting to do that. We’re getting a better feel — I am — like, what do we do offensively? We’re still not there offensively. We’re really not.”
My goodness… If the defense adds a zone and the offense gets even better, look out.