Cal’s been a busy bee this morning, appearing on The Dan Patrick Show and the SEC Coaches’ Teleconference to talk about the Cats. The highlights:
— Cal started off by praising the other coaches in the league for their coaching jobs this season, Mark Fox, Johnny Jones, Cuonzo Martin and Kevin Stallings in particular. Echoing his comments from after the Georgia loss, Cal took the blame for his team’s struggles this season: “If one guy’s one a crap job with his team, it’s me.”
— Despite the fact that this team still has some work to do to get into the NCAA Tournament, Cal reiterated his dislike for postseason conference tournaments: “I wish none of us played in the (SEC) tournament. Let’s go on to the next tournament.” Cal’s main gripe? Potentially playing three games in three days. He did concede that the tournament does have importance for seeding and his team’s possible NCAA bid. To cover his bases, he also tweeted that he understands the importance the tournament has to the BBN, so refrain from sending him an angry tweet about how much you’re paying for your hotel room.
— About the tournament. Cal said it will be “crazy” and that Kentucky’s quarterfinal matchup will be a challenge regardless of who they face: “We had two games that could have gone either way with Vanderbilt, and Arkansas smashed us.” Cal said that he would normally give his team the day off today, but since they’ve struggled so much with inconsistency, he’s going to run them “really hard.” Over the next few days, Cal is going to stress consistency with the group, who he said “laid two eggs” after beating Missouri.
— Cal was asked yet again why he decided to play Willie Cauley-Stein with four fouls. “How about I wanted to win the game. I was more afraid about losing the game.” Cal praised Willie’s improvement, which he said is a result of growing confidence :”I can see him have a 25(point)-15(rebound)-7 block night. His feet and hands so good. It’s just he gets tired out there”
— Despite all their adversity, Cal said that he’s still proud of what this team has accomplished. All in all, “we’re still fighting that’s what tournament time is about.”
— One miscellaneous note: for some reason, all of the reporters on the teleconference seemed to think that Vanderbilt would be the one that would benefit most from a “home-town advantage.” Leave it to Frank Martin to be blunt. When asked what he thought about Vandy’s “edge,” Martin showed that he’s learned some things in his first year in the league: “You can put Kentucky to play overseas and they’ll probably outdraw whoever they play against.” Duh.