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UK-Baylor pregame notes: Calipari second-guesses movie choice

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UK held a press conference on Saturday before Sunday's Elite Eight matchup with Baylor. (Chet White, UK Athletics) UK held a press conference on Saturday before Sunday's Elite Eight matchup with Baylor. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
March Madness is not the time for a college basketball team to be playing the blame game, but that was happening on the dais as Kentucky held a press conference ahead of an Elite Eight matchup with Baylor.

The stakes, though, weren't all that high.

The Wildcats weren't pointing fingers at each other for a bad turnover or questionable shot selection that put an end to their NCAA Tournament run. John Calipari had a bone to pick with Darius Miller for his choice of movie as the team headed to theaters Thursday night.

"Darius picks the movies," Calipari said. "It was '21 Jump Street.' "

Calipari wasn't so fond of the flick.

"The movie was awful," Calipari said. "But it did get us out. They may have thought it was funny. I'm thinking I'm a 53-year-old man sitting in this movie theater watching this movie theater right here."

Miller didn't agree with Coach Cal's assessment of the movie or that he had been the one to pick the movie in the first place.

"He said I picked it, but I didn't pick it," Miller said. "I let (Anthony Davis) pick this time. We liked the movie. We thought it was pretty funny. I actually had already seen it before so I thought it was a pretty funny movie. He blamed it on me, but I didn't really pick it."

It's team tradition for UK to catch a movie the evening before a late-night game on the road, which is what the Cats did before their Sweet 16 win over Indiana. However, there was an added benefit to getting out of their hotel (and away from the television).

"The added thing was they could also not watch the games," Calipari said.

Calipari is asking his team to focus solely on their next game. He doesn't want them watching too many other NCAA Tournament games. Based on early returns, it's hard to argue with the approach.

"We just don't really watch it," Miller said. "We do little things together, most of the team, whether it's going out to eat, going to see a movie or stuff like that. We try to focus on our next opponent and focus on the day we have at that point. We're just trying to have fun with it, take everything day by day."

'Team no sleep' indeed


The buzzer didn't sound on UK's win over Indiana until well after midnight on Saturday morning and the team didn't head back to the hotel until after 1 a.m. due to media responsibilities. Less than 12 hours later, players and coaches headed back to the Georgia Dome for more interviews and practice.

Add to it that Sunday's tip time was announced at 2:20 p.m. and the Cats will have barely 36 hours between games.

Upon arriving back at the hotel, Calipari and his staff got right to work on scouting Baylor.

"I got about three hours' sleep," Calipari said. "I broke down last night's game, and I've watched a couple tapes on Baylor."

Calipari admitted the quick turnaround will be a challenge, but it's not one he or his team is afraid of.

"It will be hard," Calipari said. "It's going to be hard on us. But Baylor has four or five hours sleep on us. That's what it is."

Quincy Miller faces team that recruited him

Quincy Miller, a freshman forward for Baylor, wasn't far from being a part of Coach Cal's latest top-ranked recruiting class. The Big 12 Freshman of the Year maintains a close relationship with Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and long thought he would suit up alongside them in college.

"We call each other brothers, and we have really good chemistry," Miller said. "I was planning on going to Kentucky with him and Gilchrist. We always talked about (going to Kentucky), but I ended up choosing Baylor."

Ultimately, Miller felt Baylor was the place for him.

"When I met Coach Scott Drew and the (Baylor) team, I just felt like I clicked with those guys from the start," Miller said. "I visited Kentucky about five times and I was close to committing to them, but I thought Baylor was a better fit."

Miller has started 34 games this season for the Bears, averaging 10.8 points and 4.9 rebounds. The 6-foot-9, 210-pounder has the kind of blend of size, skill and athleticism Calipari looks for in his recruits.

"I liked, again, his athleticism, his length," Calipari said. "What a great young man, too, just a wonderful person."

There aren't any lingering negative feeling on either Miller's or UK's part, but make no mistake, Miller wants to beat his friends.

"We respect each other, but we always talk smack to each other," Miller said. "I know the game is going to be a lot of fun."

Neon uniforms no more for Baylor

There was plenty of high level basketball played in the Georgia Dome on Thursday night, but the seemingly fluorescent "electric" yellow uniforms Baylor was wearing got as much attention as anything else.

"I only saw it on TV because I couldn't understand why everybody was coming in the arena wearing sunglasses on," Calipari said.

Baylor unveiled the uniforms first during the Big 12 Tournament but only got to wear them once. The Bears were forced to wear black uniforms with yellow trim since they were the lower-seeded team in the conference tourney, but they broke them back out of the closet for their first three NCAA Tournament games. With Kentucky being the top-seeded team, Baylor will once again wear black with yellow trim.

Superstition abounds in the NCAA Tournament, so some have wondered whether switching out of the yellow uniforms will hurt Baylor's chances. The Bears think not.

"There's no difference," Quincy Acy said. "It still has Baylor across the front, and we are still the same players. We don't like to believe in that superstition."

Louisville claims first Final Four spot


Should Kentucky defeat Baylor on Sunday afternoon, the Bluegrass State figures to be on the brink of a meltdown all next week. A UK victory would set up a Final Four matchup with archrival Louisville, a team the Cats defeated 69-62 on New Year's Eve.

The Cardinals used a dramatic comeback to overcome a double-digit lead against seventh-seeded Florida. Former UK coach and current Louisville head man Rick Pitino will coach in the Final Four for the sixth time.

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