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From the Pressbox: Bilas on "Midweek Madness"

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Big Blue Nation - and the rest of the nation, too - got a behind-the-scenes look at a Kentucky basketball practice this week. ESPN's Jay Bilas got that opportunity earlier this season and fans may find it interesting to compare their takes with what Bilas observed then.

"The thing that's different between Cal's practices is his personality. Every coach has a different personality and runs things differently," Bilas said. "It's not like the drills are drastically different or that there is some secret that Kentucky has that nobody knows about. The best coaches are the ones who get their teams to do the simple things well together. John is one of the best coaches in the game, period at any level.

"The more competitive you can be in practice, the sharper you can be throughout the duration of a season. I think what coaches are dealing with right now is not having enough bodies so your first few may be playing against a second unit that is nowhere near as good and that affects how competitive they can be, how sharp they are, how much resistance there can be. Some teams don't have 10 really good players."

Davis' impact not limited to defense


Anthony Davis has had a tremendous impact on the game at the defensive end from day one of this season. But now, his offensive presence is causing increasingly more problems for opponents.

"It's good because you can't really just play him, because of the rest of our guys. And for the rest of our guys, you can't just play him one-on-one. If you leave him, we're dunking, dunking, dunking," coach John Calipari said in a recent pregame interview on the UK radio network, adding the opponents' fear of the lobs to Davis opens up other areas of the court for the rest of the team.

"You get middle lane, which you wouldn't have. The (rest of) the players are helping him and he's helping them."

Jones reasserting himself


"He knows what he felt like three or four weeks ago and he knows what he feels like now."

That's Calipari's explanation for the recent resurgence of sophomore Terrence Jones.

"It doesn't mean he's going to play great every night but his mentality of being aggressive and going after balls and aggressively attacking the rim - he and Darius both," Caipari said.  "It makes us a different team."

Jones' free-throw shooting has shown marked improvement of late and Calipari says Jones is being more accountable to his teammates in that area.  Cal says the rest of the players don't have to run for the free throws they miss as long as Jones makes 80 percent or better on his free throw attempts.

Long-time AP reporter impressed by Cats


Veteran Associated Press college basketball writer Jim O'Connell watches probably more basketball than any media member in any given season.  And even though he didn't cover the UK win at Vandy, he still came away with an even stronger opinion about how good this Wildcat team is.

"The best thing that happened to them was they lost the lead (at Vandy) and you get to see how they'll respond," he said.  "From the perspective of a national writer, everybody had questions and you check them off as you go along (in the season) and there aren't many left (for UK)."

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