Home SEC Schedule Begins with Texas A&M

Jan. 11, 2013

Following a dramatic two-point victory on the road at Vanderbilt on Thursday, the Wildcats will have a quick turnaround before opening their home portion of the Southeastern Conference schedule on Saturday against new-member Texas A&M.

Sophomore Ryan Harrow (16) and freshmen Archie Goodwin (13) and Nerlens Noel (12) led the scoring effort in the victory in Nashville. Freshman Willie Cauley-Stein provided seven points, eight rebounds, four assists and four blocks.

Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. Texas A&M
Sat., Jan. 12 - 4:00 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | TAMU Get Acrobat Reader
Gameday Live: Online video, audio, blog and stats
TV: SEC Network
Radio: UK IMG
Text Updates

UK takes on Texas A&M for just the fourth time in program history and the first since the 1978-79 season. The Aggies opened their SEC-era with a victory over Arkansas on Wednesday.

Scouting Texas A&M

The Aggies captured a 69-51 win over Arkansas in its first-ever Southeastern Conference game on Wednesday. The Aggies are led by second-year coach Billy Kennedy. Texas A&M has logged an 11-3 mark to begin the season and has a trio of players scoring in double-figures. Elston Turner leads the way with 15.5 points per game, while Ray Turner logs 11.8 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds per outing.

Media Opportunity - Jan. 11, 2013

Head Coach John Calipari

On last night's game …
"Good road win. It's our first road win. We talked about plays down the stretch where guys were gritty and then we showed them the offensive rebounding stuff that they did. And then we showed them our offensive rebounding, which had no effort, no attempt to go get balls. We just said it, has to change. You're not going to win in this league giving up 20 offensive rebounds and then not attempting to offensive rebound. The crazy thing is, I knew he was playing zone and we went all week working on zone. We worked on man-to-man 10 percent of the time. We worked on zone the whole time and that's what it looked like. I don't know what we worked on but it wasn't the right thing."

On why the zone looked like it did …
"Because you have four freshmen and a sophomore who have never played and a senior who played at Wright State last year and Kyle Wiltjer who gave up 20 points in 14 minutes. Now all of the sudden you have guys rattled. What I liked is the shot that Kyle made when he was just having a rough game. The shot that Ryan (Harrow) made, the 3-pointer. The shot that Julius (Mays) made, he was having a tough game and he still makes that one three. The play that Archie (Goodwin) makes, which is a second and third effort play that we really needed the basket. The lob play, there were plays that we made to gut it out but we just have to get better than we are. The main thing is, if you don't want any body-to-body contact, you won't win in this league. You just won't. They're either going to want that kind of play, which we accepted last year, or you won't."

On Ryan Harrow's rib injury …
"He's fine."

On how physical Texas A&M is …
"Very physical. Big. Strong. Their three man is as good of a player as we have in our league. They push the ball. They play both man and zone. They try to jam pick-and-rolls. They're a post-up kind of team, ala a little bit of Kansas, corner cuts and high-lows, screening from behind with big and big and trying to go from high to low. They're going to go after our big people, that's how they play. They're a good team; they're a really good team."

On whether he looked to see if Nerlens Noel's shot beat the shot clock …
"I didn't look at it that way. From what I understood it was good. No, I really never looked at it that way. I saw it go in, but I didn't go back and analyze it."

On the issues handling Vanderbilt's zone …
"We didn't put the ball where it was supposed to go on three or four different occasions. Plays that were easy plays for us to make, we didn't make. Our shooters weren't prepared; they didn't want to shoot so they were getting rid of it. Now, we got you that shot, you must take it because when you make this pass, the reason you're open is the rest of us are not in a zone. We didn't beat it up the court at all which is how we play. We rush into the zone offense, we don't walk it up and go against a dead set where they can look around, 'where is everybody?' That's what we did in the game."

On what he saw after looking at game tape from last night's game …
"Just what I told you. We didn't rebound. We weren't physical. They blocked us out, we didn't block them out. We had a chance of being up 25 at half. We turned it over. We threw Alex (Poythress), Alex is what he is, and we threw the ball back to him three times, which led into charges. That was us. If you throw it backwards to him, because the defense is standing there, so you throw it back, he runs in and runs people over. We did it three times. That kind of stuff which was dumb and, again, the monitors had a couple of our guys playing really hard and had one guy just doing what he does, like no change. And, had another guy so high that he was playing too many minutes. He's playing so hard, that now you know what's happened but that means that Kyle (Wiltjer) has to play better and other guys have to play better so that we can get them off the floor."

On whether he'd consider a zone defense when Kyle Wiltjer is playing …
"Well, we'd have to play him in the middle. You can't play him on a wing in the zone because they'd do the same thing. Now, what do you think they'd do if you put him in the middle of the zone? They're going to try to go to the middle of our zone. It's hard. Like any other coach, if I know there's a match out there, I'm going to go at him until that other coach takes him out of the game. That's what a good coach does. So, now if you want to stay on the court, you better figure it out. You better figure it out. What do you want to do? Do you want to come off the floor or do you want to play? And, what happens is that when they're in that desperate mode, normally they'll figure it out."

On whether he thought his team was tired at the end of the game due to Vanderbilt's hot gym …
"It was hot in there. It was hot. Yeah, they were gassed because a couple of guys wouldn't compete and I had to play those other guys too many minutes. That's on us, but there are some things we've got to do today that there's no question we have to do to get ready for tomorrow."

On whether the first 25 minutes of last night's game were closer to what he wanted to see …
"Yeah, but still, we weren't physical. I thought there were some good things in those 25 minutes. I thought there was some good defense in those 25 minutes, some good shot blocking. We got it out in transition. We executed some good offense. As bad as we were for nine minutes, we shot 45 percent for the game. Over 45 (percent). We went nine minutes without scoring. As bad as we were, they shot 32 percent for the game. You hold people anywhere from 40 to 37 percent, you're an unbelievable defensive team. But, the teams now, the next two teams, each of these teams are better. They're better teams and they're physical teams. Both of them are going to come after you physically."

On whether it's easier to tone down an aggressive player than to boost a non-aggressive player …
"They've got to recognize, first of all, that they're not playing hard enough and they're not competing like the other people on the floor. And then, they have to make a choice that, 'I'm going to change.' There's nothing I can do. They've got to make the choice that they're going to change. My job is to get them to recognize where they are right now. Like I told them, we won the game. And, we won on the road and we had these plays at the end of the game which helped us win which were huge, gutty plays. We didn't give up on the game. But, now let's watch this stuff. This was all effort. This was all physicality. Why would you not do this? And that's what I did, I said, 'Learn from it.' And, I'm not mad. We won, but if we don't correct this, you're not going to win what you think you can win."