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Transcript: Coach Cal talks 'buying in' on SEC teleconference

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It's another Monday during Southeastern Conference play, so that means John Calipari and coaches from throughout the league joined the week Coaches Teleconference. Calipari talked about his team after dropping a game against Texas A&M on Saturday as the Wildcats prepare for games this week against Tennessee (Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET) and at Auburn (Saturday at 9 p.m. ET).

Check out what he had to say about his team needing to buy in to what he's selling, as well as a few quotes from UT's head coach.

Coach Cal

Opening thoughts ...
"We're playing a Tennessee team that's dropped a couple, but when you watch them play, their perimeter play, obviously they got some guards back. (Jordan) McCrae is really, really talented. Obviously (Jarnell) Stokes is a beast, the player that can score on you inside. I would imagine they're coming in here hyped up and it's going to be a really hard game for us."

On if there will ever be an undefeated team again in college basketball ...
"Yeah, I hope so, and I hope it's us. But it's a very difficult thing. One, you have to have a talented team. Two, you have to have some veterans on that team. And three, they have to be a mentally tough team that's really in tune with each other. In other words, they all have to buy in. That team I had last year, when Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist take your fourth- and fifth-most shots, they bought in to how you have to play to win. That's a difficult thing. Having the most talent, having a few veterans, having them totally tuned in where they've all bought in, that's the challenge. And then you have to have a little luck. You have to have a ball bounce your way here and there. The last few years, if you asked me, there was a North Carolina team that had a chance, maybe a Syracuse team. We had a couple teams that had a chance to do it. I've had a couple opportunities to have teams - a team at Memphis, a team at Massachusetts and a team here - that had a chance, but very difficult."

On next year's team possibly going undefeated ...
"Ha, I'm worried about today's practice. You're talking about next year. Let me just tell you with our team. A good friend of mine, Mike Gottfried was here. Mike's a football coach and a football analyst, and he said the one thing your team (is doing), they're trying, they want to please you and all that, you're coaching them, but there's a little lack of trust, and basically that comes back to buying in. And the trust is between each other where you (don't) take chances, you don't come down and really execute because you're looking at each other and there's not enough trust to really figure out, and all come together and everybody do their job, and no breakdowns the last three minutes. That's what we don't have and that's the challenge I have with this team is to get us to that point where we all buy in, both feet it. Now let's trust each other so we can finish off these games."

On the mood at Rupp coming off a rare loss ...
"I don't know. It's still going to come down to two teams playing, who plays better on that given day. Our fans have been great. The crowd, the game with Texas A&M, our fans, since I've been here, other than maybe a North Carolina game or a Louisville game, something crazy, one versus two, something like that, our crowd with Texas A&M was outstanding. As a matter of fact, our fans gave the (Elston) Turner a kid an ovation when they took him out of the game. It's not the arena. It will be our team. What is the frame of mind of our team? Are we beginning to buy in to how we have to play to finish off people? We've give up runs of 16-1, 16-0, 13-0. From Maryland to Duke, we've done it over and over, and that's what we've got to address, which we've been addressing, but we're not totally bought in yet."

On how to address the recent rebounding problems against Tennessee's frontline ...
"We're going to have trouble. That's one of the issues we'll talk about and deal with. You've got today's practice to get ready for it. We've got to check out better. Some of it is you've just got to be tougher. You're going to have to be more physical because those guys get after it."

On whether it's frustrating that not everyone has bought in by mid-January ...
"Sure, sure. And the only thing that brings about a change is crisis. Now I'm hoping that (the crisis) is Texas A&M, but it may not be. We maybe need to get hit on the chin three or four more times before they look at each other and say it's not working this way. You can tell a young man that this is how you have to play for us to win, and he may look at that and say that's not how I want to play. He'll nod his head yes, 'OK, I'll do it, I'll do it,' but in the crunch of the game he doesn't do it, which, it costs you There's no one here - I've got great kids and they want to please me and they are looking for affirmation, there's no question, but it's the point of totally buying in to how you have to play. I see DeAndre Liggins last night, 11 points, nine rebounds and guards the player that he has to show out. Well, you know and I know that he bought in here. He bought in that he was going to be the stopper versus I've got to be the point guard and have the ball and do all the shooting and all that. It took three years now, but when he changed, it changed his life. You look at Josh Harrellson. When he changed and bought in, it changed his life. But it takes time. Josh Harrellson almost got thrown off the team before he bought in. So we've got some guys here, they're good kids, but part of buying in means change how you play, and you've got to play harder and compete more and you've got to do it full possessions. They've never done that, so it's what we're going through. But again, that's part of the growth of a young team and a young team like we have."

Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin

On this week's games ...
"Obviously lost a tough one to a talented Alabama team. They played well down the stretch, made the plays to win the game. This week, of course Kentucky speaks for itself. Talented across the board, good length on the block, perimeter guys that are quick, athletic and can score the ball. We have to do a really good job of keeping them off the glass, making their shot attempts tough, boxing out, making them work for possessions and not allow those guys to get out in transition and make easy plays."

On Kentucky's defense ...
"I think you start first and foremost with (Nerlens) Noel, the way he blocks shots and also (Willie Cauley-Stein). You got two guys 6-11, 7-feet tall but also mobile, can switch out on different guys. They alter shots, they get rebounds, they can move in ball screens so you gotta keep those guys where they're moving constantly. You can't allow those guys to sit around the rim and make plays and block a lot of shots and make you alter shots. So you gotta get those guys out of their comfort zone. And I think even with their guards, they're quick and athletic. You gotta move that ball and then attack the rim. I don't think you can come down one pass and then go inside when their defense is set because they're tough to beat that way."

On how Tennessee is playing defensively in the last week or two ...
"Not bad. I didn't think we played well at all in the Memphis and Ole Miss game. I think we got back to form against Alabama. They scored quite a few points in the second half and they shot a good percentage in the second half. We had some minor breakdowns there, but I thought after the Alabama game that was the old Tennessee team I was used to seeing from an effort standpoint and competing and we just came up short. And then we had a good practice (Sunday) for about an hour. So it's just a case of playing defense the way we're capable but also being able to put points on the board."

On whether the slippage against Memphis and Ole Miss is just part of a long season ...
"I would imagine sometimes things happen but I think in those two cases ... In the Memphis game, I think the transition defense we didn't do a very good job and I think late in the game Memphis guys made good individual plays to win the game. I thought in the Ole Miss game we just didn't play well as a team. I mean sometimes you just don't have it. I don't think we played well even out of the gates."

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