Cats Carry Win Streak to Vanderbilt
Feb. 10, 2012
Kentucky continued its season-best 16-game winning streak, posting a 78-58 win over eighth-ranked Florida in its latest victory.
|Kentucky at Vanderbilt
Sat., Jan. 11 - 9:00 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | VU
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via WatchESPN
UK held one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the country to just six 3s on 22.2 pct. (6-27) from behind the arc.
Kentucky converted nine 3-pointers, and was perfect from the free throw line, going 11-for-11.
Located in Nashville, Tenn. (216 miles southwest of Lexington), Vanderbilt enters the weekend in third place in the SEC standings.
The Commodores enter Saturday's contest off a 76-61 win at LSU on Wednesday.
Vanderbilt has three players scoring in double figures led by SEC-scoring leader John Jenkins at 19.7 ppg. Jeffery Taylor (17.8) and Festus Ezeli (10.0) are also scoring in double-figures. Lance Goulbourne leads the team in rebounding at 7.0 rpg., while Tinsley is the catalyst for the Commodores, with a team-best 109 assists.
Kevin Stallings is in his 13th season as head coach of the Commodores. He has amassed a 253-155 record in Nashville, while tallying an overall mark of 376-218. Stallings has led Vanderbilt to the NCAA Regional Semifinals twice and a total of nine postseason appearances.
Kentucky owns a 134-44 record in the all-time series, including a 52-27 mark against the Commodores in Nashville.
Kentucky and Vanderbilt split last season and have done so in three of the last four years.
The 178 meetings make Vandy UK's second most common opponent behind Tennessee (210).
The Kentucky-Vanderbilt series ranks as the eighth-longest series in SEC history.
Pre-Vanderbilt Media Opportunity - Feb. 10, 2012
Head Coach John Calipari
On turning 53 and being three years into the job …
“Two years got vacated so I’m 51. You know what, when you enjoy what you are doing, there are bumps in the road and this thing is all over you, you need to step away from it and I haven’t had a whole lot of time to do that but I’m enjoying myself. I’m enjoying our players, I enjoy our fans. I think we as a program have connected as well as you can and have been as transparent as we can for everybody because everybody wants to be a part of it. They want in, they want knowledge of what is happening, they love seeing us practice and those kinds of things. This is one of those programs where you can’t go in the office and hide; it’s just not what you can do here.”
On the team …
“I’m excited for our team; today I just spent the day thinking. I like adding things, tweaking the offense and tweaking the defense because it makes them think. I don’t want them to walk into practice because it is monotonous in that we do the same things throughout the year in some cases, so I like changing things up to just make them really focus and concentrate.”
On the team’s routine …
“We handle every game the same way. The format of our practice is exactly the same even though some of the drills are different. We go on the road, we do exactly the same things when we go into town, when we meet and what we do on game day. Part of it is that you want them to understand that every game has an importance and no game is more important than another. The other thing, in practice, is there are certain things we do from day one ‘til the season ends to let them understand that those things are important, so there are some fundamental things that we do when we start that first day and we’re still doing today. Some of the practice is monotonous but you want those guys to really zero in on a few things. You can’t be great at everything. You can’t be a great pressing team, a great zone team, a great man team, a great motion team, a great play calling team; you can’t be great at everything. You have to do decide as a coach, what does this team need to be great at? Let’s just focus on those things and let’s get real good at those things.”
On playing at Vanderbilt …
“This is a great challenge for Marquis Teague and I think he’ll do fine. This is one where you give him a couple play calls and this is all you are going to run the next sets. He’ll be fine; this will be a great test. We were just talking, every one of these teams give us something different. We’ve never played Vandy with this team. Just like Tennessee is totally different than Vandy, who is totally different than Florida, who is totally different from Mississippi State. You have teams, for us, it is important to see how we will respond. Every experience is new for us and we’re learning.”
On keys that this team focuses on …
“I think one of the things you are seeing is we zero in on defense. This is a team that should be a great defensive team which I believe I said on day one. We are long enough, we are athletic enough, and we can really play the ball pretty good; we should be great defensively. Offensively we are still trying to figure each other out, we are trying to zero in on what do we do, when do we do it. You see that we grind it out pretty good late in games; we do a good job of that. Maybe in the guts of the game there are some things we are still trying to figure out. Like I said, I tweaked some things for tomorrow just to get them to think a little bit out on the basketball court.”
On guarding Vanderbilt …
“They are a terrific team, they are big, their guard play is good, and point guard play is good. Obviously they shoot the ball; (Jeffery) Taylor is way better than what he was and what I mean by that is he is consistently making 3s which he didn’t before. Now, you have to go out there and play him which makes him better off the bounce. They still have those three or four guys that always come in and hurt us. They are a veteran team; they are a team that has played us three times now, it’s the same guys that have played us for three years minus one or two guys. I imagine they are ready for this, their fans are ready for this, Nashville is ready for this, their administration is ready for this, their parents are ready for this. They have probably been ready for two weeks. We have to go up there and say, ‘let’s see where we are right now, let’s play as well as we can play and let’s see if we are getting better.’”
On comparing Vanderbilt and Florida …
“They’re just different. They are two totally different teams and like I said, that is what’s good for us. With (Festus) Ezeli they can throw it to the post, which they did a year ago on us and he dunked like four or five balls and they can do that. He is very physical. I just watched them beat Tennessee by about 25 and (Jarnell) Stokes could not handle, physically, Ezeli. Now you think about what I’m saying, we couldn’t handle Stokes physically. It is a tough matchup for us. What if (John) Jenkins goes 12-12 from the 3? It’s been a nice start to our season, when’s the next game? You could be all over him and he still does that. We’re trying to learn about our team, we’re trying to get better. I would imagine, watching the tape, I think they are going to try to be a little more patient with the ball against us. I think they are going to go back to the other way of playing which is, let’s give them (fewer) possessions, let’s make either a post-up or a 3 or a drive and let’s do it later in the clock. I don’t know, I’ve been wrong before.”
On the challenges of playing at Memorial Gym …
“We won there two years ago. You are in the end zone coaching; you are on a raised floor. It’s no different. Whether we win or lose will be based on how we play and how they play. There isn’t going to be anything about a building or fans. We play on the road, we’ve had tough environments. We’ve won in tough environments; we’ve lost in a tough environment. It’s how your team plays and how their team plays.”
#1 Darius Miller, G, Sr.
On how Kentucky has not won a lot at Vanderbilt …
“No, it’s going to be another tough game tomorrow too. (They are a) very talented team; very hard working team. I’m hoping we come out and give a pretty good game.”
On what makes it so difficult to play at Vanderbilt …
“I honestly don’t know. I just know it’s a tough place to play. Their fans do a great job of getting them hyped up to play and they feed off of that. Hopefully we come out. We have to come out from the beginning and try to get the fans out of the game.”
On how much Kentucky’s defense is able to take opposing teams’ crowds out of the game …
“A lot. I feel like it kind of drains it. Kind of like you said, it takes the crowd out of the game and slows them down a little bit. If we can do that tomorrow, we’ve been doing it recently, if we can continue it tomorrow then I feel like we’ll have a good chance of winning.”
On what he tells the younger players about playing at Vanderbilt …
“We just let them know how it’s going to be, like I said, how the crowd is going to be. They have pretty good support down there. It’s going to be tough to play in, tough to adjust to. We just have to come out and keep our composure, especially at the beginning of the game. I think, like I said, we have a good chance at competing with them.”
#3 Terrence Jones, F, So.
On what he feels he personally has to do to contribute to the defense …
“Really, communication for screens, helping in the post when it’s not my man on the ball. Team defense is what has been getting us through everything right now. I just think that as long as we continue to do that with every man being focused and helping one another, we should be playing how we’ve been playing.”
On whether he feels people don’t see how good Kentucky’s defense is because of the focus on blocks …
“That’s one of the strategies we have. We are real long on defense and it’s real hard to shoot over us. We play you aggressive to force teams to drive into difficult shots with bigger guys behind so I think overall our team defense does really well.”
On what field goal percentage Coach Calipari tells the team they need to keep their opponent under …
“He said forty [percent]. It’s just a goal he sets for us every game. If we achieve it or not, as long as we play really hard, he’s still happy with it.”
#25 Marquis Teague, G, Fr.
“They’re a veteran team. They have a lot of great outside shooters that can knock them down and they have a good player in the post that we’re going to have to dig in and help on. We just want to try and prevent them from getting 3s off and hitting a lot of 3s basically.
On how dangerous John Jenkins is…
“He’s real dangerous. He can run off 10 3s on you, 11 3s if you let him, if you (don’t contest) his shots and give him open looks. So we just want to contest his shots and hope he misses.”
On Vandy’s “end-zone” benches…
“This is the first time I’ve ever heard of that. I’ve heard about it plenty of times from different people and they said that it’s a crazy place to play.”
On how much he relies on Coach Cal to call plays and how much he does on his own…
“It’s about half-and-half. Sometimes I just come down and see what I see and sometimes he tells me what to call. But if I have to make my own call, that’d be fine.”
On their experience level at this point in the season with having so many freshmen…
“I feel like we have great experience. We’ve played North Carolina, Louisville, some great teams and had some close games and we’ve played on the road. So I feel like we have good experience. Being a freshman that doesn’t play a factor anymore, we’re just playing basketball.”