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Video: Highlights from UK's win over Vandy

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Video: Coach Cal's post-Vandy press conference

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After the Green Bay Packers' loss to the Seattle Seahawks in last Sunday's NFC Championship, Seahawks wide receiver Chris Matthews will be the only former Kentucky Wildcat competing in next month's Super Bowl XLIX. Despite limited playing time since being promoted from the Seattle practice squad, Matthews was able to make the biggest play of his young career in last Sunday's contest, keeping the Seahawks' season alive.

Playoff Spotlight

Randall Cobb | #18 WR | Green Bay Packers (12-4)
Cobb made seven catches for 62 yards in Green Bay's 28-22 overtime loss to the defending Super Bowl champions. Cobb recorded his first career playoff touchdown reception by way of a 13-yard Aaron Rodgers pass to end the first quarter, but it was not enough to break the historic Seahawks defense. Cobb will miss out on playing in the Super Bowl, but he was named to his first Pro Bowl as a consolation.

Chris Matthews | #13 WR | Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
With the Packers leading 19-7 with less than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson scrambled for a one-yard touchdown to bring the Seahawks within five. As a last-ditch effort for a chance to become the NFL's first back-to-back world champions since the '03-'04 New England Patriots, Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka successfully completed an onside kick that was recovered by the 6-foot-5 Matthews. Matthews' special teams heroism led the way for a come-from-behind overtime victory by Seattle, solidifying a second consecutive NFC Championship. The Seahawks will face the AFC Champion New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX, February 1 in Glendale, Arizona.

Get to know UK softball's Erin Rethlake

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Erin Rethlake3.jpg Over the next two weeks, Cat Scratches will give fans an inside look at UK softball's 2015 roster with 20 fun questions and a quick outlook heading into the team's season opener on Feb. 4 vs. Florida A&M.

A true freshman from Huntington, Indiana, Erin Rethlake had a dazzling high school career at Huntington North High School. The left-handed pitcher won numerous awards in high school, including 2014 News-Sentinel Softball Player of the Year, 2014 Indiana Miss Softball and Gatorade Indiana Softball Player of the Year following her junior season.

Rethlake's best season came her junior season as she posted a 23-1 record with a 0.18 earned-run average and 317 strikeouts in 154 innings pitched. Although her senior season was cut short due to injury, Rethlake had a 13-2 record with a 0.80 ERA. Off the field, she was very active as a member of the National Honor Society, Student-Athlete Board, Huntington Class Council and Future Educators of America.

Rethlake projects to have an immediate impact on the UK pitching staff and could possible see time in the UK outfield when not in the circle. During the fall, Rethlake threw just over 10 innings with a 1.74 ERA, striking out 12 batters. At the plate, the true freshman hit .250 with four walks drawn.

Come see Erin and the rest of the Kentucky Wildcats this spring at John Cropp Stadium. UK's home opener is March 11 vs. EKU at 5 p.m. ET. Season tickets can be purchased by calling the UK Ticket Office at 1-800-928-2287, in person at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office or online at

To help you get to know Erin better, it's time to play a game called 20 questions.

What is your shoe size? 10.5

What is your favorite word? Giggle, it has too many Gs in it and it is amusing to me.

What is one thing you could tell us about yourself that others would be shocked to know? I played the clarinet and alto saxophone in middle school and freshman year of high school.

Why did you choose to play softball at Kentucky? The family environment, the distance from home, the beautiful campus and also the competitive softball team ...

If you could trade places with Coach Lawson for one day, what would you do? I would cancel all of the running days for the entire team, forever.

Person that has most influenced your life and why? My little sister, Emily. She has overcome every obstacle she has ever been thrown and come out defeating every challenge. She sees the good in everyone and is a constant reminder to be thankful for everything I have been blessed with.

If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create? A giraffe and a koala, imagining what that would look like just makes me laugh ... every time!

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? Whistle ... I'm sick of not being able to join in when everybody else does it.

After softball, what would be your dream job? To be a speech therapist for special needs kids.

Name three things you like ... Food, sleeping and chocolate

Name three things your dislike ... Heights, sharks and scary movies

What trip would you like to take in your lifetime ... I really want to go to the island St. Lucia because I saw it on The Bachelor and decided that I would go there before I died.

Favorite actor/actress ... Sandra Bullock and Leonardo DiCaprio

What is one TV show you cannot miss? Nashville because I secretly wish I was a famous country singer.

What is your worst fear?
Sharks, even though I live in a completely landlocked state near zero sharks ...

What artist gets the most play on your iPod right now?
Usher. I don't even need to explain that one

Favorite saying or quote you like to live by ... The Golden Rule: treat others as you want to be treated

How do you like your eggs?
Sunny side up of course ...

Are you allergic to anything? Copper, so pennies and I aren't exactly friends.

What is your favorite class you have taken so far at UK? Not Greek Mythology ...

Kentucky Sports Report (week of Jan. 19)

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- After back-to-back close calls to start conference play, UK won by a combined 71 points in victories over Missouri and Alabama last week.
- The top-ranked team in the country - and one of only two teams without a loss - started the week with an 86-37 rout of Missouri. The 49-point win was Kentucky's largest margin of victory vs. an SEC opponent since a 62-point margin against Vanderbilt on March 5, 2003. UK held Missouri to less than 20 points in both halves, marking the second time this season Kentucky has achieved that feat (also vs. Montana State). The Cats also limited the Tigers to 27.1 percent from the floor, the ninth opponent this season held to less than 30 percent.
- Kentucky followed up that effort with its first win at Alabama since 2009. In defeating the Crimson Tide by 22 (70-48), UK dealt Alabama its worst loss since Nov. 24, 2008. The victory was UK's most lopsided in the series since the 1992 SEC Tournament and its biggest win in Tuscaloosa, Ala., since rolling Alabama 90-67 on Feb. 14, 1966.
- Kentucky continues to lead the nation in scoring margin, scoring defense, field-goal percentage defense and blocks, among others. UK's offense has caught up to its stellar defense with a recent hot streak from behind the arc. The Wildcats have made 61 of 138 shots (44.2 percent) from behind the 3-point line over the last seven games. The 61 3-point field goals is the most by a UK team in a seven-game span since hitting 61 in a seven-game stretch from Dec. 22, 2012 to Jan. 15, 2010. During that span, Devin Booker has hit 20 of 28 3-pointers (71.4 percent).
- Junior Willie Cauley-Stein, a national player of the year contender, continues to lead the Wildcats, averaging 11.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in the two victories last week.
- UK will return home on Tuesday for a 9 p.m. tilt vs. Vanderbilt before hitting the road for a noon showdown at South Carolina on Saturday.

- Kentucky split games this week with a 62-56 win over Florida on Thursday and an 84-79 loss at LSU on Sunday.
- Against the Gators, sophomores Makayla Epps and Linnae Harper led the way, combining for 34 points and 14 rebounds in the game. Epps led with 20 points, while Harper added 14 points, nine rebounds and career-high six steals. It marked UK's 13th straight win at home which ranks as the sixth-longest home winning streak in school history.
- On the road at LSU, the Lady Tigers forced Kentucky into 26 turnovers, the second-highest total of the season, and held on for an 84-79 win. Senior guard Jennifer O'Neill came off the bench for a team-high 19 points, while hitting three 3-pointers. Her three treys moved her up to No. 4 on UK's all-time 3-pointers made list.
- Harper recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds and freshman Alexis Jennings also came off the bench for her first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Bria Goss, in just her second game back since missing six straight with a broken left thumb, added 12 points, while Epps added 10.
- UK will take advantage of a bye on Thursday before hitting the road to Missouri on Sunday.

- Dezerea Bryant opened 2015 with head-turning times in both the 60-meter and 200- meter dashes to lead the sixth-ranked Wildcats at the Kentucky Invitational inside Nutter Field House on Saturday.
- Bryant ran a 2015 world-leading time of 23.12 in the 200m to open her National Title defense with a strong statement of intent.
- She ran a 60M time of 7.18, .06 seconds off her personal best.
- Bryant's time was soon eclipsed by Oregon's Jasmine Todd who ran 7.15 competing in Seattle, potentially setting up an early-season showdown next weekend in Lexington.
- Transfer Javianne Oliver ran a personal best of 7.32 to finish second with a time that ranks in the national top 10.
- Keffri Neal, won the mile with a time of 4:07.10, which was a solid opening salvo as he will look to lower his times as the season progresses.
- Rebecca Famurewa won the weight throw with a school-record mark of 67-feet, 11.5 inches/70.21 meters, which is in the No. 4 weight throw mark in the NCAA this year.

- The sixth-ranked Kentucky rifle team continued its winning ways when it squeaked out a 4670-4654 win at ninth-ranked Memphis on Sunday.
- Kentucky scored its season high in a win over No. 17 Ole Miss by a margin of 4688-4580 on Saturday at the Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center in Oxford, Mississippi.
- With the 2-0 weekend, Kentucky improved to 9-1 this season.
- The Wildcats are 5-0 in Great American Rifle Conference competition.
- Jonathan Pinkel and Connor Davis led the Wildcats in smallbore on Sunday with scores of 585.
- Heather Kirby posted a 594 in air rifle.

- Kentucky opened the season 2-1 last week, with a 7-0 win over Dayton and a 7-0 win over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels to open the season on Thursday afternoon before falling to the No. 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4-3 on Saturday afternoon to round out the week.
- The Wildcats got wins on all three doubles courts in both the matches against Dayton and Eastern Kentucky and only dropped one set in singles all day on Thursday, completing the 2-0 day and winning UK's season opener for the third straight year under head coach Cedric Kauffmann.
- UK fell to No. 14 Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon, after playing its best doubles point of the year, but only managing to win two of its singles matches to fall 4-3. The Fighting Irish and the Wildcats have played four times the last three years, with all four matches coming in 4-3 decisions.
- UK hosts the annual ITA Kick-Off Weekend. The Wildcats will be hosting a regional for the sixth straight season beginning with Penn State on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET. The winners of the two semifinals will meet on Saturday for the championship.

- The No. 14 Kentucky gymnastics team opened the 2015 season with a win at Washington on Jan. 12 and a second-place finish on Excite Night on Jan. 16 in Memorial Coliseum. In Seattle, UK earned a 194.975-194.325 win to defeat then-No. 24 Washington, while a 195.600 in front of 5,105 in Memorial Coliseum put the Wildcats ahead of No. 24 Arizona State and behind No. 2 LSU.
- Monday at Washington, UK used a strong team performance on all events and responded to adversity to record the season-opening win. The Wildcats counted a fall on their first event, uneven bars, and trailed 48.700-48.500 after the first rotation, but they quickly responded on vault, the second event. UK's 48.900 on vault chipped away at Washington's already-slim lead. Kentucky trailed by 0.050 points at the halfway point, but a 48.825 on floor gave the Wildcats a lead that wouldn't go away. On balance beam, the final event, UK sealed the victory with a 48.750. Kentucky had one fall on beam, but like the two falls and an early deficit to open the competition on bars, the Wildcats responded with two strong routines by sophomore Taylor Puryear and senior Kayla Hartley to close the meet. Hartley led UK on bars and floor, both with a 9.825. Junior Khadijah Hudson and freshman Sydney Waltz posted team-best scores of 9.825 on vault, while freshman Cori Rechenmacher earned a 9.825 on balance beam to lead the Wildcats.
- Competing for the second time in five days to open the season, UK recorded a season-high score by over 0.600 points with a 195.600 Friday on Excite Night. UK improved to 7-2 on Excite Night in head coach Tim Garrison's four seasons. The 195.600 marks the first time in program history UK has recorded a score higher than 195.500 in the month of January. Senior Shannon Mitchell and freshman Sydney Waltz each recorded two team-best scores and each tied for the meet high on one event. Mitchell was one of two gymnasts to score a 9.900 on balance beam, while Waltz posted a career-high 9.850 on vault for a meet-high-tying score. Waltz also led UK on uneven bars with a career-best 9.875, while Mitchell was one of three Wildcats to post a 9.775 on floor. It was a close battle between UK and the second-ranked Tigers. LSU held a 0.125-point lead after one event, but a meet-best 49.150 on uneven bars gave the Wildcats a 98.100-98.050 lead at the halfway point. Tied for the ninth-highest bars total in program history, it was one of three events where UK gymnasts recorded four season- or career-best totals. LSU regained its lead on the third event, after a 49.300 on floor and Kentucky scored a season-high 48.825 on balance beam. UK closed with a 48.675 on floor and LSU ended the night with a 49.250 on vault. The Wildcats opened the competition with a 2015-best 48.950 on vault.
- Kentucky returns to the road for a dual meet at Georgia on Jan. 24 at 4 p.m. ET. The contest between the two SEC foes will air live on the SEC Network + in addition to airing on ESPN2 the following day at 7 p.m. Bart Conner, Kathy Johnson-Clarke & Amanda Plufgard will be on the call from Athens, Ga.

- The No. 29 Kentucky women's tennis team opened the season with a 4-3 loss at Hawaii on Tuesday before a 6-1 win over College of Charleston and a 7-0 win over Belmont Sunday in its home opener. Sunday, nine Wildcats recorded at least one victory in the doubleheader. Freshman Mami Adachi, junior Nadia Ravita and sophomore Aldila Sutjiadi each had three victories. Two of Ravita and Sutjiadi's wins came paired together as the Wildcats' No. 1 doubles pair.
- In the first match of the day, UK downed Charleston, 6-1. UK earned the doubles point thanks to 6-2 wins by both Ravita and Sutjiadi and the No. 2 pair of Adachi and senior Kelsey Dieters. In singles competition against the Cougars, Adachi earned a 6-2, 6-1 win on court No. 4 and Ravita posted a 6-3, 6-1 win on court No. 1 to give Kentucky a 3-0 lead. Sutjiadi's 6-1, 6-2 win on court No. 2 clinched the match. The two teams continued playing, where freshman Caterina Brunamonti won 6-2, 6-0 on court six and junior Kirsten Lewis earned a 7-5, 6-2 win on court five to close the match.
- In the day's second match, the Wildcats returned right where they left off, with a 6-0 win by senior Kate Lanier and senior Edmee Morin-Kougoucheff on court No. 3 and a 6-2 win by Ravita and Sutjiadi. Winning the doubles point allowed UK to show off its depth in singles, as Ravita and Sutjiadi did not compete and the rest of the Wildcats moved up two courts. Kentucky didn't miss a beat though, and that started with a 6-1, 6-0 win by Morin-Kougoucheff on court No. 4. Adachi's 6-1, 6-0 win on court No. 2 and Brunamonti's 6-0, 6-1 victory on court No. 2 sealed the victory over the Bruins for the Wildcats. Dieters put UK ahead 5-0 with a 6-2, 6-1 win on the first court, and senior Stephanie Fox posted a 6-2, 6-1 win on court six. The toughest battle came on court five, as senior Kate Lanier lost the first set, 7-5 before she bounced back to win set No. 2, 6-2 and the tiebreaker, 1-0.
- UK is back on the road next weekend, when the Wildcats face Rice on Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. ET in Evanston, Ill. Kentucky will play either Northwestern or Arizona State on Sunday.


Men's Basketball vs. Vanderbilt - 9 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky. (Rupp Arena)

Track & Field - Rod McCravy Indoor Meet - 10 a.m.
Lexington, Ky. (Nutter Fieldhouse)
Men's Tennis vs. Penn State (ITA Kick-Off) - 1 p.m.
Lexington, Ky. (Boone Tennis Center)
Rifle at Withrow Invitational - All Day
Murray, Ky.

Track & Field - Rod McCravy Indoor Meet - 10 a.m.
Lexington, Ky. (Nutter Fieldhouse)
Men's Basketball at South Carolina - Noon ET
Columbia, S.C.
Swimming and Diving vs. Louisville - 1 p.m.
Lexington, Ky. (Lancaster Aquatic Center)
Men's Tennis - ITA Kick-Off Weekend - TBA
Lexington, Ky. (Boone Tennis Center)
Women's Tennis vs. Rice - 3 p.m.
Evanston, Ill.
Gymnastics at Georgia - 4 p.m.
Athens, Ga.


Women's Basketball at Missouri - 7 p.m.
Columbia, Mo.
Women's Tennis - ITA Kick-Off Weekend - TBA
Evanston, Ill.

Derek Willis (Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics) Derek Willis (Photo by Chet White, UK Athletics)
John Calipari often says there's no room for delusional players at Kentucky.

Derek Willis, then, picked the right school.

Asked on Monday what he needs to do to earn more playing time, Willis gave a refreshingly candid answer.

"I'm trying to be self-critical about everything right now, and I think just be more focused, just show that I really want to be here and I don't think, being honest, I've done that," Willis said.

The Mt. Washington, Ky., native, halfway through his sophomore season, has had a limited role on a top-ranked and historically deep UK team. Willis has seen action in nine games for the 17-0 (4-0 Southeastern Conference) Wildcats, most often in the final minutes of their frequent blowout wins.

Willis arrived in Lexington a highly regarded prospect, though without the McDonald's All-American credentials of most of his teammates. A star for Bullitt East High School, the 6-foot-9 forward had had to adjust to getting only spot duty.

"It's just kind of weird," Willis said. "I mean, you go your whole life playing and then you're just not playing as much, so I don't know. Just kind of fallen out of the game, just don't know what to do really, just looking for answers."

The first step to finding the answers, of course, is asking the right questions. One question he's never asked is whether UK is the place for him.

"I'm going to stay here four years, regardless," Willis said. "I love this place."

For the questions he doesn't have answers for, Willis has consulted everyone from his father to his friends to Coach Cal. A common theme has emerged.

"Just get in the gym more and be around the game more, I guess," Willis said.

Making that commitment in Willis' position isn't easy though.

"He's gotta really step on the gas and it's hard now," Calipari said. "When you haven't been playing to come in every day and spend extra time and not know if you're going to play or not. It's one thing if you know you're one of those 10 and you're playing. It's another thing if you're one of 10 or 11 or 12 and you don't know if you're going to play. It's a hard thing, especially for a young guy."

That's why the last week has been so important.

When Coach Cal elected to go back to the 10-man platoon system against Missouri last Tuesday, Dominique Hawkins - who has spent most of the season seated next to Willis on the bench - took full advantage of his opportunity.

"Dominique stepped up the last game that he played and played well," assistant coach John Robic said.

Four days later, with Hawkins - whose status is unknown for UK's next game - out after undergoing a minor medical procedure, it was Willis who got four minutes of first-half action in a blowout win at Alabama, posting two rebounds and a steal. Calipari and Robic both said he did well, but Willis was once again honest in admitting he was nervous in playing his first meaningful minutes in a long while.

"I was a little tense out there," Willis said. "I haven't really gotten a lot of experience in the games this year, other than like the beginning of the season, and I went out there and just tried to do like a million different things. My mind was all worried about everything else really but the game."

That drives at maybe the most difficult challenge facing Willis: balancing between the honesty and self-reflection needed to earn more time and the confidence needed to play well when he gets it. To cope with that, Willis would likely do well to listen to his teammates.

"Derek's been playing very well with the minutes that he's getting," Trey Lyles said. "He practices with us every day, so he just had to get his opportunity to go out there and play and that's what he did the other day. He did well."

Willis also excelled this summer on UK's Big Blue Bahamas tour, averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds. With Lyles and Willie Cauley-Stein out due to injury, he stepped in and more than held his own against professional opponents.

"With Willie not playing down there, it sort of put him into that role, and it was good to see," Robic said. "That was a little bit more free-wheeling type of basketball, which he's really good (at) because of his athleticism, the way he can pass the ball."

It was that passing ability that earned Willis six minutes last season against Vanderbilt, UK's next opponent. The Cats unable to effectively find post players inside, Coach Cal turned to Willis, who counts feeding the post as a specialty. With the Commodores (11-6, 1-3 SEC) coming to town at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Willis will need to be ready again.

But whether he plays against Vandy or not, he knows his time will come as long as he does what he needs to.

"I'll get a chance," Willis said. "I've just got to like turn it on. I know I can play. Everyone else knows I can play, and so I've just got to turn it on, kick it into gear. I haven't (done) that yet."

Video: Lyles, Willis preview Vandy game

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On the road recruiting, John Calipari called into the Southeastern Conference Coaches' Teleconference on Monday ahead of matchups with Vanderbilt and South Carolina this week. Read everything he had to say about the games, Devin Booker's development and Dominique Hawkins' status below, as well as comments from Vandy's Kevin Stallings and South Carolina's Frank Martin.

Coach Cal

On this week's games ...
"Well, they're both hard games. I watched some of the Vanderbilt tape, especially their game with Georgia. I think their big kid (Damian Jones) is really good. Obviously they shoot the ball well. Got a freshman (Riley LaChance) that'll shoot from anywhere and make it. And Kevin is at his best with these kind of teams. They're running like a combination of Princeton (offense) and their stuff to free 3-point shooters. So he's doing a little combo, but he's doing a great job with them. And then Frank's teams are Frank's teams. They're going to play hard. You're not just getting a game. When you go in there--we've lost, I think we've lost the last couple times we've gone in there. You're going to have to play. They're not giving you anything. They beat Iowa State and I watched the game. I called Frank after and I thought what a great win for his program and our league. So he's doing the things that he's gotta do to give his guys a chance, which he always does, and it's a hard place for us to play."

On Devin Booker's development ...
"The thing that I was on him for early is getting it off. It's not high school; you're not going to jump over anybody. You gotta be able to catch and get it off. You gotta be able to have your shot prepared before you even catch the ball. And he's doing that. The rim has gotten big for him because of that, because it's not a slow, I'm going to jump over you and then all of a sudden the guy's all over him. These are looks that he's saying, 'I'm getting a good look at the rim.' But more importantly, you guys all keep looking at him shooting the ball and it's good stuff, but defensively I never thought he'd guard this way. His energy defensively, his ability to stay in front, fight screens is what's setting him apart for us right now. So we can all talk shooting, but the reason we're winning is because when you put him in and Tyler (Ulis), that energy defensively is what really takes us to another level."

On the difference between coaching freshmen like his who will likely leave early and freshmen like Vanderbilt's who will stay four years ...

"No, the reality of it is, you know what, we're all in position where we're forcing these kids to grow up fast. Kevin's asking them to grow up fast. So am I. We all have challenges. I told a coaching friend of mine the other day, 'Every team's having problems, all of us, and you gotta deal with yours better than someone else is dealing with his.' So the problems Kevin will have with freshmen, some of them are similar to what I'll have. Some of them are not. I know we're all dealing with helping these kids confidence-wise, feeling good about themselves, getting them to understand there's no escaping industry, hard work. You can't escape it. Either you're going to go and outwork the other guy or you're going to break down your confidence. And that's hard freshmen. Here's what freshmen usually have done in high school: Every fifth play, they did something really good that people said, 'Oh my gosh.' And the other four, they tried to hide, they tried to just kind walk through. And then they come to college and you're asking them to play on every single possession. Guess what. Really difficult for them. That's the challenge we all have."

On the lineup of Tyler Ulis, Andrew Harrison, Devin Booker, Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson ...

"It depends on the game. I mean, guys, every game we play, somebody different has stepped up and done great. That's the great thing about having a lot of guys. What I say to them at times is, 'Look, I don't need all 10 of you to play well. I need five of you, and I'll ride those five. But if you want to play, play well.' And playing well for us is come with energy. Play extremely hard and I can leave you on the floor. If they're scoring points on your group, you're out. If you're the one not doing your thing at times, I'll take you out. Kind of the challenge is for them to help each other, to be there for each other and play off of one another. They seem to be doing it pretty good."

On what he liked about the aforementioned lineup against Alabama ...
"There was a really good play where Andrew came down and assisted Tyler for a 3. Tyler assisted him for a 3, and he didn't take it. I was tell him to shoot it. That's how they have to play. If the other has the ball, you're the finisher, he's the playmaker. Either one of you two. And then, it gives you that one more ball handler, one more free-throw shooter that we can really grind out. And what we did against Alabama I'm guessing the last five minutes is play grind it out basketball. We weren't looking to score 85 (points). We were looking as though that was a six-point game and we have to grind it out and finish the game. And that's what we were working on and I thought they did pretty good."

On if there are matchups where Derek Willis will play more, or if it's strictly based on practice ...
"He's gotta really step on the gas and it's hard now. When you haven't been playing to come in every day and spend extra time and not know if you're going to play or not. It's one thing if you know you're one of those 10 and you're playing. It's another thing if you're one of 10 or 11 or 12 and you don't know if you're going to play. It's a hard thing, especially for a young guy. But, Dom gives us that unbelievable energy that that unit needs. Now, if he's not bringing it, or something (where) I look at this and I say, Derek's better and Derek's earned time in practice, then it'll be Derek. Everybody was ecstatic for Dom, and then they were ecstatic for Derek last game. Now, I didn't put him in the first rotation because I didn't think he was ready for that. But I put him in the next rotation. Then in the second half we kind of got out of whack and I just was more or less trying to finish the game, but they both have done great."

On the status of Dominique Hawkins ...

"I don't know yet because I haven't seen him, but I would imagine after two days he should be fine."

Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings

Opening statement ...
"We're coming off tough week. We lost a couple of close games that we felt like we could have won. So, it doesn't get any easier. Kentucky and LSU are both extremely, extremely talented. We're just going to have to try to figure out how to make ourselves better and climb out of this valley we're in a little bit. Every week is a tough week in this league. This one certainly is as tough as any we will have. I'm hoping our guys are up to it."

On if coaches would prefer to coach players three or four years as opposed to just one ...
"I guess that depends on the stipulations. I certainly think that all of us would coach one and done guys if we were able to recruit those types of talents. Do I think that there are a large portion of coaches who would prefer maybe some different rules to where guys had to be in college a little bit longer? Perhaps so. Or maybe let them sign out of high school if they're that type of talent, and then maybe have a modified rule like baseball does or something. But certainly I think all of us would recruit and coach that type of player if we could get them."

On the ability of Kentucky's defense to take away players' confidence ...
"Their defense is perhaps as good as I've ever seen. And, I don't think from a positive or negative perspective, I think if you allow your mojo, if you will, to be defined by what happens in one game, particularly in a game against Kentucky, then I think you're missing the boat a little bit because they're different than just about every other team we play, or they are than every other team we play. So, I don't think that that - I'm hopeful that that's not something I have to worry about. But, their defense is truly amazing. Hopefully it doesn't happen to where our confidence gets dinged any more than it already is."

On Kentucky's shooting ability ...

"Well, they've got shot makers and I just think they're a complete team. I think that's what makes them better than everyone else. They're complete. They're really good shooting. They're really good rebounding. They're really good defending. They're great at the rim, both offensively and defensively. They take care of the ball. They share it. There's just nothing that they're not doing well. You can sit back and hope they miss shots, but the numbers suggest they're not going to. They've got guys on that team that have made shots to win NCAA championships, so it's not like they're nervous about taking shots. Those two freshman guards obviously have come in and shot it very, very well. So, shooting is, to me, is a strength of Kentucky's. It's certainly not a weakness."

South Carolina head coach Frank Martin

On games this week against Tennessee and Kentucky ...
"Obviously we got two homes this week starting with Tennessee tomorrow. Donnie Tyndall, the job he's done to go through the transition phase and deal with injuries and defections and new faces and get them playing at the level they're at. A credit to him, his staff and those kids. And then finish off the week with the best team in the country, the Kentucky Wildcats, here also at home. Exciting week for us. Hard, but exciting and that's what it's all about in league play."

On what last year's win over Kentucky did for his program and what kind of atmosphere he expects Saturday ...
"Well, I mean, those are the kind of wins that you want to build on. Anytime you can figure out a way to defeat one of the top programs in the country year in and year out and especially when they're in your own league. And I think that gave our guys confidence. We'd been close a whole lot towards the end of last year when we got that win. I think it gave us confidence, I think it gave our fans confidence and I think it's no surprise that we're fourth in the league in attendance, that our fans are buying into our players and our team and hopefully it's something we continue to build on."

Video: Robic previews Vandy matchup

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