Two Winningest Teams in SEC Square Off
Jan. 20, 2012
Kentucky closes out its modest two-game home stand, hosting the Alabama Crimson Tide in a matchup featuring the top-two winningest teams in league history.
|Kentucky vs. Alabama
Sat., Jan. 21 - 12:00 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | UA
Radio: UK IMG
CBS Sports Live Video
The Wildcats added to their all-time win total on Tuesday with an 86-63 win over Arkansas.
Freshman Anthony Davis led all scorers with a career-high 27 points, while pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds to go along with seven blocked shots. The highlight of the night was Davis' second blocked shot (his 84th this year) that broke the UK single-season blocks' record. He now has 89 on the season.
Located in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (458 miles south of Lexington), Alabama enters Saturday's game in a five-way tie for fourth place in the Southeastern Conference.
The Tide is led by a trio of double-digit scorers this season including Tony Mitchell and JaMychal Green, who are averaging a team-high 13.7 points and Trevor Releford (12.6).
Mitchell also leads the team in rebounding (7.4) and blocks (26).
Alabama is under the tutelage of third-year head coach Anthony Grant. Grant has compiled a 131- 57 record in his sixth year as a head coach and a 38-17 mark in his third season at Bama.
Kentucky and Alabama meet for the 138th time Saturday with the Wildcats holding a 101-36 edge in the series.
UK has won 10 of the last 12 meetings including six of the last seven contests. The Wildcats dropped a 68-66 battle in Tuscaloosa last season, but exacted revenge in the SEC Tournament with a 72-58 victory in Atlanta.
The Wildcats own a 52-10 record over the Tide in Lexington.
Pre-Alabama Media Opportunity - Jan. 20, 2012
Head Coach John Calipari
On last year's game against Alabama ...
"In the tournament we played them good, I liked the game. I liked how we controlled the tempo and our toughness. I didn't even watch the tape (of the first meeting). I watched the last game we played, I liked that a whole lot better."
On Alabama coming off a loss against Vanderbilt ...
"They're going to be mean and nasty. I would expect that. It wasn't so much that they didn't play well, Vanderbilt is really good, (Alabama) is good, but Vanderbilt is really good. If Vanderbilt is making shots like they were, we are getting beat by them. They're that good. I don't think it's that they played that poorly, a couple guys didn't score like they normally do but that kind of stuff happens. They'll be ready, playing here and playing us. We know what we're in for; it's going to be a hard game for us."
On the development of Anthony Davis' post game ...
"You have to understand, his junior year in high school wasn't a great year so you're just talking about his senior year. Everything that is happening to him is new. That shot he made (against Tennessee) is the first time he has ever made a shot like that. At Indiana he missed free throws, I doubt now he'd miss those but that was the first time he had been in that situation. He has been really good about letting us bring him along at a pace where you're not seeing a whole lot of bad stuff, you are seeing mostly good."
On the difference between preparing for Alabama rather than Arkansas ...
"These guys are pressing now. It's just a different kind of press. The biggest difference is they can throw the ball inside and they try. They will do it and they're going to go right at you."
On not having any Thursday games on the schedule ...
"I think there are two other teams in our league that don't. We do have a Thursday game, though. Because TV has decided we're a CBS game and TV decides most of this. The option is don't go on TV and play the date you want to play or play when they want. We sign a TV contract and we have to go with what they say. If they wanted us on every Thursday then we'd play on Thursday and I wouldn't say a thing. Whatever our schedule is, we'll play. Everyone knows from my history, we'll play any team, any place, any time. We'll play on I-95, shut it down. We'll play on Bluegrass Parkway, shut it down. That's the schedule, that's what they threw at us and we'll take it on."
On Alabama's offensive struggles ...
"If they get it in transition they're very good. If their two veterans get it going they are better. They haven't shot the 3 particularly well, but I predict they will shoot it better against us like everyone else does. They are a great defensive team and a good offensive team, they aren't bad offensively but they are great on defense."
On Doron Lamb fighting for a starting spot ...
"A little bit, we are probably going to stay as we are. I want to see guys battling. I was talking to a friend of mine about how a lot of young people are never cut as seventh or eighth graders, everyone is playing the same amount of time and everyone thinks they are equal and then when you move up and there is never any pressure. Now you come here and it's on, you're in a dog fight. That's one advantage our kids have and part of the Kentucky effect, you're under the gun here and you are challenged by other good players and have to fight. You find out it's got to be a dog fight, you want it worse than him, go take it, he wants it too. We have six starters here and sometimes when I look at Kyle (Wiltjer) I think we have seven."
On the block/charge call...
"Let me explain the charge/block. If a player leaves his feet and the defender slide s, 100 percent of a time that is a block. It may not be called that way but it is. Why did they put down the charge arc? They put it down because they didn't want all these charges. If it's 50-50 it should be a block every time to keep people from sliding in there. Is that what you want to see when we're playing basketball, guys flying in front of people, and flopping? I don't want to see it and if my team does it then it should be called a block. That's the rule in the rule book."
#1 Darius Miller, G, Sr.
On the Arkansas game preparing them for Saturday's game ...
"I think it will be similar, especially with how physical they play, and how they attack the boards. I think Arkansas was a good game for us to prepare for this (game), so hopefully we come out with the same results."
On the physicality of Alabama ...
"They definitely play really physical. I think it kind of caught us off guard last year. We got down pretty quickly, and they did a good job of taking advantage of how we were playing. Hopefully we don't do the same thing this year."
On if there is a revenge factor for this year's team ...
"I don't think we are trying to think about it like that. I think we are trying to take it as our next game. We know they are a very talented team, they are a very physical team, and we have to come out and be ready to play."
#20 Doron Lamb, G, So.
On Kentucky's defensive game ...
"We have a lot of shot blockers. We defend the ball well, on the ball. And we have a lot of defense, especially underneath. Terrence (Jones) and Mike (Kidd-Gilchrist) block shots very well. I think that's why (we play defense so well)."
On what to expect from Alabama ...
"They're a great team. They play hard. There are a lot of athletic players on their team. They have a great point guard. It will be a great challenge for us tomorrow. So we have to go out there, get ready for today's practice, and go out there and play hard. "
On the winning streak at Rupp Arena ...
"I don't really care about that. We try to win every home game. We have a great home crowd, a great team, and a great coach. So we are going to try to win every game at home and on the road."
#23 Anthony Davis, F, Fr.
On how dangerous he will be once he starts hitting his outside shots ...
"It will definitely go to a great level. Other guys will have to play me out on the perimeter, and it will give my team more space to operate - especially if I'm stepping out, if gives them the chance to penetrate and make plays."
On whether Coach Cal has asked him to do more on the perimeter ...
"He's just told me that if I have the shot, shoot it. He knows I can shoot, so he just always said any shot that I take is a good shot."
On his confidence level in the post now after having worked on post moves extensively with assistant coach Kenny Payne ...
"I'm pretty confident. I yell for the ball in the post now and I want the ball in the post. I'm just trying to incorporate some of the post moves that we do in practice and in workouts in the games. So I'm really confident now."
On going into a game like Alabama knowing they have a tough frontline ...
"We just have to go out there and be physical. You can't let them outwork you. We just have to go out and be physical and strong."
#33, Kyle Wiltjer, F, Fr.
On if he can help with Kentucky's depth...
"Yeah, most definitely. I've been working hard every day in practice and (staying) ready in the games when (Coach) Cal throws me in there. It helps with depth if me and Eloy (Vargas) have good minutes and help the team out."
On if it would be refreshing to face a team that didn't want to slow them down...
"We don't mind any type of play. We want to be ready regardless of how the team is playing. We just want to play our game regardless of if they're trying to slow it down; we want to continue to push it out. We're not too worried about how they play we're just worried about ourselves."
On how the road experience has been for them...
"It's been pretty amazing, just the atmospheres we've played in. Everywhere we go it's sold out and packed. It's been fun. It's a growing process for us but we've got a couple good wins on the road."
On if the road atmospheres are more than he expected...
"No, I've watched college basketball a lot over the last couple years. I mean, it's a little more than I expected, just the fact that everywhere we go it's packed and sold out."