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From the Pressbox: Vandy, SEC Tournament notes

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Believe it or not, Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings thinks his team last year matched up better with Kentucky's national champions than this Commodore squad does.

"Maybe not as good as last year," Stallings said of the matchup moments after his team eliminated Arkansas last night. "I thought we matched up a little better last year (because of the size). What matters now is how you play, not so much who you play. If we're going to win, we're going to have to play well."

Stallings said Kentucky presented more problems for Vandy's defense in the second meeting - without Nerlens Noel.

"We had a harder time guarding them the second time. I don't know if it was because of venues but it just felt like to me that they did more to us (with their offense) and we didn't have any answers," he observed. "We guarded them way better in the first game.  We couldn't guard them in the second game."

Coach Cal knows what Mays means


"I don't know where this team would be without him."

That's how Coach Cal sums up Julius Mays' one season at Kentucky.

"He's ended up taking on a leadership role and done a great job with it. When he scores, we're really good," Cal said, "but when he doesn't score, we're still okay because  he'll rebound, he'll assist and he's giving a calming presence. His thing is 'I wish I was coached this way for four years.' "

Goodwin settling in as scorer


Archie Goodwin takes a streak of six consecutive double-figure scoring games into Friday's game against Vandy in the SEC Tourney. It's a streak that started with the Cats' 74-70 win over the 'Dores in Lexington last month.

"He's slowing down a little bit and he's making layups. We had to show him that he's missed 80 layups (going into the Florida game) and there was another 15 when he ran over somebody," Calipari explained. "Now, he's concentrating and he's making layups.  Reality hits you when you have a tape of you (missing) 80 layups."

Recalling Antoine Walker's SEC Tournament emergence

Last year, eventual national player of the year Anthony Davis became the first UK freshman since Sam Bowie in 1980 to record a double-double in an SEC Tournament game.

And he made it three-for-three before he finished his one league tournament run.

But Davis had already emerged as a superstar before he got to the postseason. Perhaps one of this year's rookies will be the next Antoine Walker.

Back in 1995, Walker came into the SEC Tournament without having scored more than 15 points in any single game (and that happened once, in the season opener against UT-Martin in November of '94). And during one four-game stretch in mid-February, Walker had two scoreless outings and four total points.

Well after a nine-point performance against Auburn in his first SEC Tournament game, Walker hung 21 on Florida and then produced 23 versus Arkansas as UK won the title and Walker took home the MVP trophy.

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