Following their massive upset victory over Arizona, Buffalo head coach Nate Oats called John Calipari a whiner for always complaining about his team’s lack of experience.
“Calipari’s been whining about no experience, young, young, young, we don’t have that problem,” he said.
Buffalo guard and former Missouri transfer Wes Clark said he was going to “redeem himself” in his game against the Cats tomorrow, as Kentucky went undefeated against the Tigers in the three years Clark played.
“I’ve got a lot of history with those Kentucky guys so I’m trying to redeem myself,” Clark said, via Darrell Bird. “They dominated me, beat me every time I played them and I’m not feeling too good about that.”
Buffalo big man Nick Perkins says Kentucky lacks on the inside and can’t keep up with the Bulls in transition.
“I think we match up pretty well with their guards. They’ve got some guards who are pretty good on the ball screen and stuff like that. But I also think they’re lacking on the inside with defending and stuff like that,” he said.
“But I don’t think they can stay with us in transition and stuff like that. They’ve got a lot of big guys, they play a little bit too much, and I think that will play to our favor.”
Needless to say, Buffalo is feeling pretty confident about their chances tomorrow night.
And according to Coach Cal, they have every right to be, as they remind him of his former UMass teams.
“If I were on their team I’d feel very confident, too,” he said. “The way they played, I watched about six tapes of them, and they remind me of my UMass teams. Hard-nosed, tough, swagger, chip on their shoulder.”
Calipari says the Bulls are fast, tough, and (his favorite term) positionless, and the game is going to be a big challenge for his Kentucky team.
“And that’s what I see in them. The ability to score the ball, they score 85 points a game. They play fast. But they’re tough defensively. They’re not afraid to mix it up and be physical. And they’ve got players that come off the bench and give them a jolt defensively. They’ve got those kind of players that are positionless.
“So their record indicates that what they are, which is they are an outstanding team. They’re well-coached. And we understand it’s going to be a hard game. We’re walking in with all freshmen. We know it’s going to be a tough game. It will be a hard one for us.”
Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo, however, is tired of the “youth” comments, and he’s ready to come in tomorrow and take care of business.
“I feel like we’ve been getting that statement all year. That statement is kind of old,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re all basketball players, we’re going to try to come out and compete and show the world what kind of basketball team we are. That’s what it’s all about.”
Kentucky forward Wenyen Gabriel says his team has a distinct advantage in their length, athleticism, and defensive ability.
“I think our length is what bothers teams, and our athleticism,” he said. “And we’ve been able to defend the rim. So we’re going to continue with that. And I think as the season, our communication has picked up as a team. As young players, we’ve been coming together and that’s helped us defensively.”
Calipari and his Wildcats may have taken the high road when it came to the Buffalo trash talk, but you better believe it’ll be discussed behind closed doors.
If you may remember, a similar situation happened a few years back in the tournament when West Virginia guard Daxter Miles talked trash before his team’s Sweet Sixteen matchup with the near-perfect 2014-15 Cats.
“Salute to them getting up to 36-0, but tomorrow they’re gonna be 36-1,” said Miles. “To me, they don’t play hard. To me, they don’t play as hard as we play. Nobody is invincible, so their time will come and I think we’re going to pull it out.”
The end result: a 78-39 blowout victory, sending the Mountaineers home in embarrassing fashion.
Keep it coming, Bulls.