Division Leaders Face Off in Starkville

Feb. 15, 2010

Division Leaders Face Off in Starkville

The SEC East leading Wildcats travel to Starkville, Miss. to take on the SEC West leading Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Kentucky maintained its one-game lead over Vanderbilt on Saturday with a 73-62 win over No. 12/12 Tennessee.

Kentucky Mississippi State 
Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Mississippi State Game Notes
Date & Time Tues., Feb. 16, 9:00 p.m
Coverage TV: ESPN
Radio: BBSN
Live Stats
Online Audio listen
Live Video via ESPN360
Location Humphrey Coliseum
Starkville, Miss.
Mississippi State Bulldogs at a Glance
Head Coach Rick Stansbury
Overall Record 272-145
2009-10 Record 18-7, 6-4 SEC
Ranking Not ranked
Series Record Kentucky leads 84-20
Last Meeting Mississippi State defeated Kentucky 66-57 in Lexington last season
2009-10 Team Stats UK MSU
Scoring Offense 81.3 73.3
Scoring Defense 65.3 62.6
FG Percentage 48.6% 43.4%
3-point FG Percentage 37.8% 36.5%
FT Percentage 67.8% 68.0%
Rebound Margin +10.1 +4.8
Assists 15.6 12.6
Turnovers 15.3 13.3
2009-10 Stat Leaders
Scoring UK: John Wall (17.0)
MSU: Ravern Johnson (13.1)
Rebounding UK: DeMarcus Cousins (10.2)
MSU: Jarvis Varnado (11.3)
Assists UK: John Wall (6.4)
MSU: Dee Bost (3.2)
3-point FG Percentage UK: Patrick Patterson (40.5%)
MSU: Ravern Johnson (43.0%)
Blocks UK: DeMarcus Cousins (1.8)
MSU: Jarvis Varnado (5.0)
Steals UK: John Wall (1.9)
MSU: Phil Turner (1.4)

John Wall scored a game-high 24 points, while DeMarcus Cousins pulled down 12 rebounds, the eighth straight game that he's rebounded in double-digits.

Eric Bledsoe and Patrick Patterson joined Wall in double-digits, Bledsoe with 16 and Patterson with 10.

Cousins takes prank calls, waiting to answer them against Varnado

If DeMarcus Cousins doesn't have an unlimited calling plan, he better hope he has some rollover minutes. He'll need them after all the prank calls he's received this week.

The freshman forward isn't quite sure how his cell phone number got circulated among the Mississippi State fan base, but his digits have become a speed dial number for some Bulldog fans. Since Saturday's Tennessee game, Cousins has received around 100 prank phone calls and approximately 1,000 text messages.

At least he has unlimited texting.

"Whew, did I (receive calls)?" Cousins said. "It was crazy. It started like right after the game. I got called some n-words, some b-(words). It kind of made me mad in the beginning but now I'm like answering the phone and having a conversation with them."

Read the full story on Cat Scratches

Kentucky Pregame Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari

On the matchup between DeMarcus Cousins and Jarvis Varnado ...

"Two different kinds of players. One is going to block shots, and be active and quicker to the ball. The other is just a hard matchup for teams. One of the things that is going to happen on our drives is Jarvis Varnado is going to go block, which means someone has to have a body on that kid. That's what makes it tough on people. It should be a good, interesting matchup though."

On Jarvis Varnado...

"He is really long. When I had Marcus Camby, those kinds of guys are just quick to the ball. Then, they have those arms, and all of the sudden he is quick to the ball. If you don't get into his body and get him space to step and in that crouch position, you aren't getting it off because he'll go above the square to go get it. You have to try to get into his body, but the problem with that is you better be really big when you do it, because his arms are long enough to get you anyway."

On Mississippi State and Kentucky's defense...

"They shoot 30 threes. They are going to shoot threes. If they make 18, we get an `L', and they could. They are going to shot 300 three-point shots. They will play some man, play some zone, they are well coached, and they play to their strengths, which are getting it to the big kid inside, or shoot threes. If you space the court, they'll try to drive it to the rim, because you're so spaced out. If you help off of (Jarvis) Varnado, then he dunks balls. So, they play the way they have to play. They're really good in that building and they have been waiting on this game. We know what we are going into. They have been looking forward to playing us and it should a heck of a ballgame.

"They are going to shoot them whether you are there or not, you just have to make them hard. You have to understand what you're playing against, you can't fall asleep. The one thing that happens when a team tries to hold the ball, you cannot gamble. Every time we have a bad game, whether it's Tennessee or South Carolina, or whoever, they either score or we foul somebody. So, you can't gamble. Late in the clock you cannot fall asleep because we just guarded 30 seconds and with four seconds to go you stop and your man makes a wide-open three or a post up. Those are the things this young team has to realize. It was like Tennessee, when we got up 12 because of how they were playing, everybody said the game is over. When a team is playing that way, if you make a few jumpers, if you don't take chances, if it's hard for them to score, and you can make baskets, it's hard to play that way."

On DeMarcus Cousins' performance against Tennessee...

"He walked in yesterday, we had a walk through, he didn't say one word, he just came over and hugged me. Basically was saying, `I'm sorry, do you still love me?' I just laughed and said you're fine. These are kids. We want to act like they are 25-years-old or 40-year-old veterans, but they are young kids. He couldn't get out of his own self's way. He couldn't do it. But, he learned. You can't even make a free throw when you're mad. You can't do anything when you're mad."

On making improvements...

"We've got to get a little bit better versus the zone. We've got to give them ideas of what they're looking for. It can't be haphazard. Yet, I want them to just play. It's kind of like DeAndre Liggins. He goes and gets out of control because he leaves his feet, yet he is the only one really attacking the zone. We've got things we have got to work on. But, this will be good. They may come out and play us man, you never know." 

#3, Darnell Dodson, So., G

On how he thinks he has done the last three games as a starter...

"I think I have been able to help the team out more with more energy at the start of the game, so I feel I have produced to my potential."

On if he will be going into the paint against (Jarvis) Varnado...

"I will go in there sometimes when I can. I guess we will find out."

On how he has established himself as a leader as the team gets closer to the tournament...

"I have just tried to do the right things every day at practice. I push myself and my teammates to get better each day and just always have a positive attitude."

#15, DeMarcus Cousins, Fr., F

On his impression of (Jarvis) Varnado...

"He is a good player. He is long, athletic, and he will block a lot of shots. I just have to play ball in order to prevent that from happening."

On if he needs to alter his game or if it is important not to...

"No, maybe slow down a little bit because he likes to block a lot of shots. I need to give him a couple of pump fakes and I may try to jump in front of him."

On if he should go right at him or make him move...

"I am not the most athletic, but I just need to go into him, try to get into him. That is what I think anyways."

On how much time he has spent at the free throw line since the last game...

"I am doing the same thing. It wasn't really a lot about how I was shooting free throws. I let my frustrations get to me that game. I wasn't as focused as I should have been."

#21, Perry Stevenson, Sr., F

On how going against Daniel Orton every day in practice prepare you for Jarvis Varnado ...

"They are kind of the same player and they block shots in the same way. Of course, I would always pick Daniel before Varnado, but that doesn't make him any less of a player."

On what makes a good shot blocker so good ...

"You have to have good quickness off of your feet and have really good timing. I am not for sure where you get it from though. If you guys know, just let me know. It is all about your feet and good timing."

On Kentucky's past struggles with Varnado and if he can see them being able to change that this time around ...

"Oh yeah, I think so. Having DeMarcus (Cousins) and then when DeMarcus is out having Daniel (Orton) in there and then when Daniel goes, we still have Patrick (Patterson) in there. So, I think that it will be a bit of a different story this year. At least, we are hoping it will be."

On the tough schedule coming up that could make or break UK's season ...

"You just have to go in and play basketball the way that you know how to play and the way that we do it out here (on the practice floor). I think that it will work, if we do that."