UK Takes on Kansas in Champions Classic

Nov. 14, 2011

Additional Monday Notes: Davis Named SEC Freshman of the Week

Following a season-opening 108-58 win over Marist on Friday, the Wildcats set their sights on the bright lights of the Big Apple where they are taking on the 13th-ranked Kansas Jayhawks in historic Madison Square Garden as a part of the inaugural State Farm Champions Classic.

Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. Kansas
Champions Classic
Tues., Nov. 15 - 9:00 p.m. ET
New York, N.Y.
Madison Square Garden
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | Kansas Get Acrobat Reader
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via ESPN3
Live Audio
Text Updates

In the Wildcats' season-opener, UK had five players score in double-figures led by freshman Anthony Davis' 23 points. Davis added 10 rebounds for his first career double-double and blocked five shots for good measure.

The Wildcats held the Red Foxes to 17.1 pct. from the field in the second half and 31.7 pct. overall.

UK outrebounded Marist 51-29 and dished out 24 assists while committing only nine turnovers.

Scouting Report

Located in Lawrence, Kan. (626 miles west of Lexington), Kansas is in the Big 12 Conference.

The Kentucky Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks are old friends. The two have met 25 times with UK holding a 19-6 advantage.

Kansas is led by ninth-year head coach Bill Self. Self has taken the Jayhawks to a 238-46 (.838) record while rolling up a career coaching mark of 445-141 (.761) in 18 years. Prior to taking the head job at Kansas in 2004, Self had stops as the head coach at Illinois (2001-03), Tulsa (1998-00) and Oral Roberts (1994-97). He is 3-1 against Kentucky.

Series History

This is the 26th meeting between Kentucky and Kansas. Kentucky is 19-6 all-time against Kansas.

The last meeting in the series came in the second round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament. Kansas, the one-seed, defeated Kentucky, 88-76 in Chicago.

Kansas has won three in a row in the series. The two schools have never met in the New York City metro area.

John Calipari is winless against the Jayhawks, with the most memorable game against Kansas coming in the 2008 NCAA title game while he was with Memphis.

Pre-Kansas Media Opportunity - November 14, 2011

Head Coach John Calipari

On what the team has been working on since the Marist game …
“We’ve been working on our stuff. We can’t spend a whole lot of time when you’re playing all these young kids. Even the returning players are sophomores, except for Darius (Miller) and Eloy (Vargas) was only here one year too. You have to work on your own stuff. Let’s just be the best we can be for November 14th. If that’s not good enough, we’ll come back and regroup and keep going.”

On whether this game against Kansas is a “statement” game …
“It may be a statement game, but I’m hoping it’s the one they think it’ll be. It could be another statement. I think Kansas, in the same sense, is going to make it a statement game. Kansas is kind of like our team a year ago where everybody thought, ‘You know what, they’re not that good,’ and I kept telling you all, ‘I like my team and there’s no one out there that’s that good that scares me. We just have to get it together by the end of the year.’ I said it probably 500 times. I imagine, right now, that with (Thomas) Robinson and the big kid and the guard play they have, (Kansas coach Bill Self)’s saying the same thing. Now you may say, ‘Well they’re not deep.’ I played six guys last year. We played six guys. I would tell you, he’s got a veteran team of good players and they’re trying to make a statement too.”

On how hard Thomas Robinson will be to defend …
“Very hard. He really does a great job of creating space for himself in transition. He’ll throw himself in pick and rolls and create space for himself to get the ball back. Now, he’s playing out on the floor some so he’ll bring it up the floor on rebounds. He’ll shoot the 15-footer. He’s really good. It’s going to be a hard match-up for us. With Terrence Jones, how much do you really want to put him on (Thomas) Robinson? He’s probably too physical for a bunch of our guys.”

On how far back he goes with Bill Self …
“He followed me at Kansas. We have the same mentor in Larry Brown. When I left, he came into Kansas and he’s had a great career. Everywhere he’s gone he’s won. I have fond memories of Kansas. We lost a national title game where we had the chance to win, missed some free throws, and if it was going to happen to any program who would beat us, I said, ‘Let it be Kansas.’ I had my start at coaching there. I met my wife at Kansas. I had some wonderful times there. It’s a great campus, great tradition, great coaches that were there. Bill has followed in that line. I’ve got fond memories of Kansas.”

On whether UK will have an advantage having had players already experience Madison Square Garden…
“No because it’s going to be nutty and the game isn’t going to start until about midnight. Yesterday and Saturday we practiced late. We didn’t get out of here until 10:30 p.m. yesterday and I told them, ‘Alright men. It’s halftime of our game,’ as the practice ended. It’s going to be rough. They’re physical, they’re well coached, they do their stuff, they know how they’re playing, they’re going to jam it in. They’re going to throw you some pick and rolls to jam it in and then they’re going to jam it in and they’re going to jam it in. You’ve got to be ready for the physicalness of their play. They fly up and down the court and they shoot 3s too. So ours is, we drive it, drive it, shoot 3s. Theirs, they post it, post it, post it and shoot 3s. It’s kind of the same idea. I’ve watched tape. They play hard. They’re tough. They’re not beating themselves. This is a great test. I told our guys, ‘The pressure on us was yesterday and Saturday and today a little bit. That’s all we can do. It’s the 14th of November.’ We finally got in some out of bounds plays. We talked situations yesterday for the first time. If we’re in a close game and stuff doesn’t go right, don’t look at my players. That’s me. We just haven’t had time. It’s the middle of November. Let’s hope it’s not a one-point game and someone has the ball late.”

On how much could be learned about the team in a buzzer-beater situation …
“You look at our schedule, whether it’s St. John’s, who is undefeated, or Louisville, who’s in the top 10; whether it’s Indiana on the road, who’s playing well with two 30-point wins or whether it’s North Carolina, guess they’re doing alright. It doesn’t matter who we play. It’s like Marist. It was a four-point game with two minutes to go in the first half. They’re all going to play well and we’re going to learn about ourselves.”

On what he wants more of from Anthony Davis
“He’s got to play more physical. He’s got to bend over. He can’t stand straight up and down. He’s got to stay in a stance. He’s got to stump more. He can’t stand around. You know, you dunk a ball and then run down the court. You’ve got to play the entire possession. When you showed him on tape, ‘You stopped, right there. Look at you standing up and down.’ It’s okay in that game, but it’s not okay the next game.”

#14, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, G, Fr.

On what he expects to see from Kansas …
“I don’t really know. I’m not really worried about their game.  I’m more worried about us and how we play.  Getting the win is all I really care about.”

On playing in front of the crowd in Madison Square Garden …
“It’s going to be really fun for all of us on the court.  We are ready for all of it.”

On the arrival of the season …
“It’s a weight off of my shoulders.  Just putting on that jersey and playing was a relief.  Now I’m just going with the flow and trying to have fun.”

On the team’s first “real test” to show they are a great team …
“It means a lot to all of us on the team.  We just want to show everyone that we are the number two team in the country, or even number one.  That’s what we have to prove.  That’s what we want to do.”

#20, Doron Lamb, G, So.

On if he has been working on playing point guard …
“I got better playing the point guard. I have worked on my game, ball handling, and protecting my dribble. I think I am ready to play point guard.”

On the experience of playing in Madison Square Garden …
“I am excited to go back home and play in front of my friends and family. I am going to go out there and play a big game in the (Madison Square) Garden and all of my family is going to be there. I just hope we win the game tomorrow.”

On what the team expects from Kansas …
“I expect them to play hard because they are very good team. We know that and we are prepared for that. We have to play harder than them.”

On the difference between UK’s first and second halves against Transylvania and Marist …
“I don’t really know. We have to stop doing that because we have to start playing hard for 40 minutes from beginning to end. I hope tomorrow night we start doing that.”

On if playing Kansas is going to be a statement game for the team …
“I think it should be a statement game. They are one of the top teams in the country and we have one of the best team in the country. So we have to go out there and play harder against Kansas and just try to beat them.”