Kentucky-Arkansas Postgame Quotes

Jan. 23, 2010

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On the play of today's game...

"I don't know if we're number one but I thought we played well. What I liked is our bench. I had a good idea what those first five or at least those first four would do, it's those next five that make us from being good to really good and we just have to continue to build the bench. I love that Josh (Harrelson) in and John Hood came in, in the end and they looked terrific. DeAndre (Liggins) diving on the floor changed the complexion of the game on that play. It kept the run alive, and I'm just trying to get the others guys to say `what if we have 12 guys diving and doing those kinds of things.' In the first half Patrick (Patterson) did some good stuff where he helped DeMarcus (Cousins). It was good. It was a good game for us."

On the play of Daniel Orton...

"Daniel Orton is probably the difference for us to be that team that you all want us to be. When he comes off the bench and blocks shots and defends like he defended today, they could not do a pick and roll with him because he bent over and stuck in there. I'm trying to get him, we use the term chicken wing, where he is physical instead of fading, which he did today and that's why I was going crazy. I just want them to know if they're going to do the right things, I'm going to be they're biggest cheerleader, but if they're not I'm going to tell the truth. If you're not working hard I'm going to say it. I really want them to know when you're doing it right. I'll be the first one to tell you. We have a couple other guys who are still battling how they have to play. We still have to get that righted.

On practice this week...

I think this week helped us where we practiced like we had a two-game losing steak. We practiced longer. I was mean. I was really mean most of the week. If you didn't do it, I was on guys. We go into a game Tuesday where tomorrow would usually be an off day, but we're going to walk through. We're going to give them off Wednesday after the South Carolina game, so we'll walk through. We're not going to practice but we're going to walk through and probably do something at my house. Get them all together. They've been a great team right now. They look after each other. They cover for each other. They're their brother's keeper. They look after each other on the court. They do it off the court, and we have a good group."

On the possibility of being number one...

"What happens to teams, and Texas just lost to Connecticut , that was their two game losing streak, if you back up and you get arrogant, and you think you're it, and you're not competing in practice you go on a two game skid. I'm hoping ours was last week. They wanted to be number one bad. That's why they played this way. I think it's a pride thing. Those seven national titles are not a burden they're a badge of honor. Number one in the country is not a burden it's a badge of honor, and so for us we'll see how we respond now. The issue that I've had in the past where my teams have started off on win streaks like this and become number one in the country is they were all veteran teams. They had been there. They had been to Elite Eights the year before. This team was an NIT team. I'm playing with a bunch of children, but they're very good children. But they're young and all of this is new. That's why I'm trying to raise the bar and drag them along. We have a good team. "

Kentucky Players

#11, John Wall, G

On the meaning of being ranked number one ...

"It means a lot. It means we listen to what Coach Cal wants to do. We are getting better every day and performing every time we step on the court. I think this was our best defensive performance tonight. We did a great job of stopping them, probably the best we've done all season."

On being able to beat anyone in the country if they play like they did today ...

"I feel like we should. Arkansas is a great team but we did a great job of defending them. They played us on our best night tonight. They weren't making shots like they usually do and we were clicking on offense so I feel like if we do this every night we can beat any team in the country."

On using a number one ranking as motivation ...

"I think it drove us a lot. We tried not to focus on it so much. Coach Cal said this morning that he woke up and it really hit him that we have the chance to be number one. He said he's a little nervous so you all can be a little nervous."

#1, Darius Miller, G

On his scoring ability ...

"I think it makes it easier on John (Wall) and Eric (Bledsoe) and the rest of the team. It takes a lot of pressure off of them because usually they are getting double teamed. I just try to come out and be aggressive from the start."

On looking more comfortable shooting ...

"Most of the time my shots were open because there was a lot of pressure on John and them, so I was just trying to step out and make them. I wasn't trying to hesitate I was just being aggressive from the start."

On being the number one team in the country ...

"It's going to feel pretty good to be a part of something like this. I think that is everyone who plays basketballs dream to be on the number one team in the country. It's going to feel really good."

#33, Daniel Orton, F

On today's game ...

"I think we played really well and you can see that. We hit shots and played defense. We played really good, healthy defense today. We all play really well together. Coach was harder on us in practice this week. He made us run more and everybody got more serious."

On how much fun this game and this season have been ...

"Of course it is fun to play and win this way. We all played incredibly today and everything just clicked. I think we gave our best effort today. That is the Kentucky that we are. We had our slip ups but it was honestly one of the best games we have had this year."

On being the difference to this team ...

"It gives me a special feeling that Coach Calipari would speak of me so highly. That is something I have to adhere to and do the best I can. The presence off the bench is probably the main thing that I have contributed to for this team. Coach Calipari has been waiting on me to be an offensive presence so he is proud that I am finally showing up and scoring. He is excited to see me succeed."

#24, Eric Bledsoe, G

On trying to defend a possible number one ranking ...

"It is going to be very hard. Everybody has been trying to beat us already so it will not be anything that other teams have not already tried to do. Other teams have already come in and played strong against us so now it will just be even harder. We will play how we have been playing and try to win."

On today's difference of intensity ...

"We played all 40 minutes of the game today. We did not let fatigue kick in and get us down. Usually we have had to stop and catch our breath but we just kept playing. We went hard every drill in practice this week and it seems to have carried over in to the game."

On how important it was to play to become number one ...

"That was not our biggest focus of today's game. We are trying to play for a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. It will be hard to stay number one but we have already played tough games against tough teams."

Arkansas Head Coach John Pelphrey

Opening statement ...

"We had a pretty good basketball team today (Kentucky). Kentucky has had a phenomenal year so far and that continued today. They have speed, athleticism, youth and experience. They have a very high talent level and today they obviously played well in a lot of areas. Their defense and shot blocking allowed them to get out on the break, and make some fantastic plays. They were also capable of knocking some outside perimeter shots. We didn't do a whole lot to slow them down. I don't think we played as well as we are capable, but those guys (Kentucky) get all the credit for that."

On Kentucky...

"They are very good. Like I said, their size and speed separates them. Quality frontcourt and depth make them very unique at the college level. Really good and very well coached. They have a chance to be the best team in college basketball this year.

On the loss to Kentucky and getting down early...

"We talked a lot about handling the emotion of the game. Obviously, they are good. We wanted to survive, and having played and coached here, I understand what that is all about. We got punched pretty quickly I think it was 10-0 after the first 2:10. We had a really difficult time scoring the ball, and they weren't running away from us just yet. It was a 12-point game deep into the half, but we struggled scoring the ball. We would get to the front of the rim, put up a pass and they would make it difficult for us. That is a part of those guys that makes them a unique and special basketball team. It's about as difficult a situation you can put a basketball team in, where we were at the end of the half. The last five or six minutes of the (first) half, with 20 minutes to go, it's something we can take away. We came out and competed with a lot of time left on the clock, with things not going our way."

"At halftime we talked about competing and staying the course. Obviously, this is a very challenging situation that we were in. Being down 30 at the break is not ideal and it was not a part of the game plan. We really didn't have something prepared for that. But, I thought it showed a little bit of our character to come out and compete. (Courtney Fortson) led the charges a little bit. We didn't back down and came out to fight. As far as Rotnei (Clarke), he got some good looks. I don't know that (Kentucky) did anything different. He has been limited to less this year. Tonight I would say that he was a normal human being. He had one of those nights that I used to have."

On returning to Kentucky as a coach...

"I have a tremendous love affair with my alma mater. I am very honored and humbled to be the coach at Arkansas. It's always going to be home for me to a certain degree because it's where I grew up, where I played and my parents still live here. But, it's about these players, it's not about me. Whether we like it or not, the situation when we do come back here it's like coming home, you've worked hard, and you bought a new car. Or, you got something that you want to show. I'm very proud of where I am. It's important to me for our basketball team to play and compete at a certain level, and conduct ourselves with a lot of integrity and class. I like to think we played as well as we possibly can. I thought our guys fought and we stayed together. That is meaningful to me."

Arkansas Player

#4, Courtney Fortson, G

On being out there down by 45, at one point in the game ...

"Coach tells us to never give up and keep playing hard. We just kept on encouraging each other to keep playing hard and try to get through it the best we could."

On If he was involved in the play that [DeMarcus] Cousins got his teeth knocked out ...

"Yeah that was early in the game. It was the first layup I took and my elbow got him inadvertently. I told him later [in the game] I didn't mean to and it was all just fun and games."

On where they (Arkansas) can go from here ...

"We need to do what we always do. Go back to practice, work hard and get better and look at the weak points of our team."