Cats Return Home to Host Volunteers

Feb. 7, 2011

Gameday

Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Tennessee Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Tues., Feb. 8, 9:00 p.m. ET
Coverage TV: ESPN
Radio: BBSN
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Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.

After playing four of their last five on the road, the Wildcats return home to host the Tennessee Volunteers in an ESPN Super Tuesday match-up.

The Cats are looking to bounce back from their first two-game losing streak in the John Calipari era after dropping a 70-68 heartbreaker at Florida on Saturday.

Brandon Knight led all scorers with 24 points. He also added five rebounds, a team-high four assists and a block. Terrence Jones was the only other Wildcat in double-figures with 18 points to go along with a team-high seven rebounds and two blocks.

The Cats shot 46.3 pct. from the field, including 58.3 pct. (7-of-12) from 3-point range and 84.6 pct. (11-of-13) from the free throw line.

Pregame Press Conference Quotes

Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On if he expects Tennessee to look different with head coach Bruce Pearl back on the sidelines ...

"No, they're 5-3 and had a chance to win a couple more, so they're playing pretty good. They had to play without (Scotty) Hopson the last couple and still did fine. They're a deep team, very talented, maybe the most talented team in the league. (They're) deep from 1-10. They have great size, their guard play, they play really hard, and they play physical. They're going to bump and grind and grab, and they do it full-court, half-court. They play."

On what frustrated him most about the game at Florida ...
"Everything. Again, we have to be tougher; we have to fight for position. The thing that bothered me after Florida was the things that happened at Alabama and Mississippi, then again happened. Now I have a problem. Happen once and you change it and you get better, you weren't used to being on the road that way. You go to Mississippi and they make a 26-footer and stuff, but when you watch it, the only good news I can tell you, only a crisis brings about change. Obviously if Brandon (Knight) would have made that shot I probably would have looked at the tape different and would have thought everything was OK. It's not. We're stuck in, `not enough toughness, not enough togetherness, not enough passion for playing, not enough of that will to win to fight.' I would have thought, `well we're OK,' well we're not OK we've got to change. We talked about it yesterday; we're doing some stuff today to get us out of this little rut. It may take us a week or two, I hope not, because this hasn't been fun, but the bottom line is, we've got to get better. It's not just winning. We have to get better. And we have to shore up these areas so when March rolls around we're ready to go because we're not ready right now."

On if he likes the confidence of his players believing they'll be fine come March, or if that conveys a lack of urgency ...
"We're still the same team that's lost four tough games and they've all been tough, tight, sickening to lose yet the last one is the one I got angry about because I'm looking at that tape right after the game on the plane and I'm seeing the same things I saw against Mississippi and Alabama and was calling guys to the front of the plane. Whoever was on the plane will tell you. They thought the plane was decompressing, we were going to go back. I'm not lying; the pilot came out and said it. (He) said, `We have to turn the plane around.' I said, `It's only me, I'm fine, just go to Lexington, we're OK.'

"I was mean. I was loud but I was mean. I was just, `Look at this, what are you going to say? What is your excuse? Let's look at it again. It was just little plays like that. And I'll say it again, I still like my team. Everything we want to accomplish is out in front of us. Unless, we do not take responsibility, individual responsibility, and we don't begin to change. Now then you come back to, well what if the guy can't change? He is what he is. Then I have to bring guys off the bench and figure out if someone else on the bench who I haven't given a true opportunity to should do it. Look at Eloy (Vargas). You tell me what the difference was with Eloy, games where you all went like this (puts hand over mouth). And then you watch him at Florida and you go, `Wow.' You know why? He went to Florida and said, `I'm going to show these people I can play.' That's what he did. Just play that way. He was better than Josh (Harrellson). He gave us more than Josh gave us."

On dealing with foul trouble ...
"How about we're only down one (going into halftime)? How about Mississippi we're up one? I mean, I thought we've done a good job. I thought Jarrod Polson goes in there and acts like he belongs. I thought Eloy (Vargas) helped us. I thought Jon Hood did all right; made that last shot at the half. I told him, that was a big play. That hasn't hurt us. What's hurt us is there's a shot taken and it's the game-winning ball, and you don't come close to getting it. That's the one that hurts us. We're throwing it to this, but if they double team - and I'm shooting it anyway and I'll shoot a fade and I'll shoot an air ball and miss it. That's the kind of stuff that's hurting us. But they understand. We've got to come together as a team, I don't think (we're there) yet... last year's team did everything together, and they were truly a team with a will to win. This year's team is trying, they're not together that way. They like each other and all that, but I mean you've got to be a bond. So, we're not quite there yet. But here's what a crisis brings around. A crisis brings about change. Meetings, individual meetings, they're a waste of time. Team meetings, they're a waste of time. Crisis will bring about change, unless you really don't care. And if you don't care everybody's going to see it. I think these guys care, so we'll see how they do today. Yesterday's practice was a rough one. Let's see how they do today and then we get after two tough opponents."

On if "crisis" is the right word to use ...
"When you lose in this sport it's a crisis. It doesn't matter if its one half-court bank shot, it is a crisis. And if you play for me, you'll understand it's a crisis. Now, my thing to them, again, we're playing to get better. That's what we're doing, and along the way you'll win games. So I'm not talking to them as far as, we have to win this next game. We don't. It's going to be a hard game. The next one's going to be a hard game. What we have to show is we're going to get better, because if we get better, at the end of the day this is all going to play out lovely. If we don't get better - you don't change and we don't get better - it will be ugly. So my whole goal for us - and every year I coach - get better, that's what we're trying to do. If we win and we play poorly I'm all over them. If we had won this last game hopefully I'd have watched the tape and been just as mad. The problem is I might not have been. I might have thought, `We're OK, stick your head in the sand we finally won a game.' It can't be that way when you're coaching, especially a young, inexperienced team. Even the guys returning (are) inexperienced, and this stuff is thrown at them."

#4, Jon Hood, G, So.

On if frustration is starting to set in because of back-to-back losses ...
"Yeah, it is frustrating. Anytime that you lose it is frustrating, whether it is basketball, a race, board game it doesn't matter. It is frustrating."

On the way the team is losing late in games ...
"We just have to keep working to start extending those leads in the balance of the game. We don't need to drop six-straight points to a team. We are working on that in practice now."

On his shot at the end of the first half ...
"You just have to take it in strides. You still have to worry about the game. We hit the shot to get us back within two points and we have to go to the locker room and talk about what we are going to do in the second half."

On this team having to come from behind ...
"I mean, there is a satisfaction with being able to come back, but you have to come back and win. You just have to be ready to play."

#20, Doron Lamb, G, Fr.

On if fatigue is starting to play a factor ...
"Sometimes we are tired but we sub ourselves out. We just have to learn how to fight it out because we only have a few guys that we are playing. We need to learn how to fight it out and pull out these games."

On how you treat being tired ...
"You just have to get some good rest after practice and make sure that you get treatment. You have to prepare yourself for the game."

On how frustrated the team is with the back-to-back losses ...
"We are upset that we lost four games by two points. We just have to know how to close games out and finish games. We are a young team and still learning right now. We just have to work hard in practice and get ready for tomorrow's game."

On losing close games this year ...
"I don't think that I have ever lost two games back-to-back. It hurts because we lost two games back-to-back by two points. One game we lost by a tough shot, but you just have to move on."

#30, Eloy Vargas, F, Jr.

On what he liked about how he played against Florida ...
"I think that I was in the right position every time that we were playing defense. That was good. That has been a problem for me lately."

On if he expects to play more now since the good game against Florida ...
"Yeah, but I have to keep improving so that I can play more. I just have to keep being aggressive."

On what Coach Cal told him after the game ...
"Yeah, he was happy with me and told me that I did all the right things."