How ’bout that game? There’s the Kentucky Wildcats we’ve been looking for! Today was a huge win for the team. They’re finally putting it together and the defense looked great. But why am I telling you this? I’ll let Coach Cal tell you. Here are a few quotes from Cal’s presser after the big win (in the KSR mandated list format)…
— Coach Calipari admitted that he was fearful coming into this game. “The reason is because I’ve seen how we defended in the last three games,” he said. “But I saw how we defended early in the game and knew we were fine.” He said that the team watched tape of the way they had been defending the three and it was “almost hysterical.”
— Kentucky finally played with a sense of urgency defensively, and no one played better on defense than Ramon Harris. Calipari said he was very pleased with the play of Ramon. He didn’t score in the game but was everywhere on defense. Coach Cal told him that no baskets is fine, but “if you start making shots, you’ll be cutting into Darius’ minutes.” Obviously, Darius is in the game to put up points, but if Ramon can contribute on the offensive end, I bet we’ll be seeing a lot more of the Alaskan Assassin.
– Eric Bledsoe played sloppy today and finished with five turnovers. Coach Cal said five turnovers is three too many. “I’ll allow him to have two per game, but five is too high,” he said. I say let him turn it over as much as he wants, as long as he continues to knock down the three. He was 3-6 from downtown today and is 8-13 in the last two games. Who predicted that one?
— Daniel Orton played great in the first half and started the second half over Demarcus Cousins. Calipari said that he sent assistant coach John Robic over to Demarcus at halftime and asked him if he wanted to start or let Daniel take his spot. Cousins acknowledged that Orton should be in the game and he volunteered to sit. Calipari said it shows how unselfish his players are and it’s not about individual achievements.
— Orton may have started off the second half but Coach Cal said he loved the way Cousins and Orton played in there together. “Daniel Orton deserves minutes. Demarcus Cousins deserves minutes. And Patrick has to be in there,” he said. No word on why the Microwave only ran for one minute today, but you have to assume it’s because of the unbelievable talent ahead of him on the rotation, and that talent showed today.
— Speaking of Cousins, did you see him nearly airball that last free throw? After the first one, Calipari yelled to him, “You’re shooting too high!” Well apparently, Cousins heard “Shoot it higher!” That explains why he nearly hit the roof of the arena on the second attempt. Oh, Boogie…
I also made a few rounds listening in on some of the players. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch any classic quotes today but every one of the guys was very excited about the team’s performance and looking forward to Cancun. Not for the beach, but to get down to business.
— John Wall and Patrick Patterson constantly batted off questions of vacationing in Mexico and said they are strictly focused on getting better as a team and winning basketball games. You have to love that attitude.
— Wall and Patterson also admitted that they had their eyes on the stat sheet during the game. Patterson said he knew he was two rebounds shy of 20 with five minutes to go. He said jokingly that he asked John to drive in the lane and miss a few on purpose.
– On a serious note, Ramon Harris was relieved to get the win today. He said Rider’s win over Mississippi State got their attention and that they knew the Broncs were a legit team. “They could’ve come in here and beat us,” he said. Not today, Ramon.
I guess that’s about it. So far, it’s been a great day to be a Cats fan. Now let’s beat the Dawgs!