UK Opens Five-Game Homestand With Baylor

Nov. 30, 2012

The young Wildcats return to the familiar confines of Rupp Arena this weekend, to begin a five-game home stretch beginning with Baylor in a rematch of last year's Elite 8 meeting between the two schools in Atlanta, Ga. UK won that game, advancing to the school's second straight Final Four and eventually claiming the program's eighth national championship.

Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. Baylor
Sat., Dec. 1 - 12:30 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | BU Get Acrobat Reader
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Radio: UK IMG
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The names on the front of the uniforms are about the only similarities between both teams from last year's meeting. The Wildcats return just one player from that game (Kyle Wiltjer - seven minutes), while the Bears return only four. However, one of those players is Pierre Jackson who tallied 21 points and five assists in the loss.

Kentucky enters the game off a 64-50 loss to Notre Dame Thursday night in the SEC/Big East Challenge.

Scouting Baylor

Baylor enters the matchup with the Cats owning a 4-2 overall record. The Bears are coming off a 63-59 loss at home to College of Charleston.

The Bears are led offensively by Pierre Jackson, who is scoring at a clip of 20.3 ppg. Cory Jefferson ranks second on the team in scoring (14.0), but is the team leader in rebounding (9.0) and blocks (13). Jefferson is also shooting a team-best 70.6 pct. from the field.

The game is a rematch of last year's East Regional Elite 8 contest in Atlanta. In the lone meeting between the two, Kentucky posted an 82-70 win en route to capturing the school's eighth national title.

UK coach John Calipari is 1-0 all-time against Baylor.

Media Opportunity - November 30, 2012

Head Coach John Calipari

On concerns about Baylor …
"They're big. Their guard play, (Pierre) Jackson, he's tremendous. They run pick and rolls and get up and down the court; (they run) isolations, which is, the thing that was interesting with Notre Dame was they just threw it to a couple guys and they just scored on us. Like, 'You cannot guard me.' Not just drives to the baskets, but step-backs or pull-ups. And they've got a bunch of guys who can do that. The shooter who was out last game, which is probably why they got beat, I imagine he will be back. He can really shoot. If he gets it off, it's in."

On similarities to last year's Baylor team …
"They're a little different, but they're good. They're a good team."

On where his team his now …
"We're a November basketball team. That's all I can tell you. I watched the tape. We stopped playing, didn't compete; didn't come up with 50-50 balls; didn't play for one another. We kind of separated a little bit, but that's the first road game and, you know… I knew we'd struggle, but I thought we'd compete. That's the surprising thing. We just didn't battle them. It was obvious they wanted the game more than we wanted the game."

On playing two games in three days …
"I wish we had nine days, but we don't. We have to play tomorrow afternoon. We're going to watch film and walk through. That's it. We can't practice. We've got a couple days in between the Tuesday game and then we've got some time to really get this thing right. It's not all them. We need to play the two bigs more. We've got to figure out how we're going to play when we do it. We've got to get Archie (Goodwin) at two-guard also so he can get up in front of the break. We got no breakout points because we're not able to throw it ahead to a guy that we've been able to in the past. We've got a lot of things. How we're going to defend, situations. This is as much me figuring it out as it is them. The one thing that they have to bring is a competitive spirit and a will to win. I'll help them with all the other stuff. It doesn't matter what we put out. I keep hearing, 'Cal's teams always get better as the year goes on and they'll be at their best.' Well, that's if you really work. If you fall in love with practice and improvement, if you're in love with that, we're going to get better. I like my team. But if we don't, I don't have a magic wand. It's not what I do. This will be an interesting game. This will be a hard game for us. Jackson, their big people, they're going to get after it. Will we be tentative because we got beat? This is a tough one. It's what we need."

On if his team is afraid …
"No, I just think that you don't know how they're going to respond and one of the things that happened in that game is they didn't come out to attack and compete. Because I didn't know what to expect, I mean I didn't have any idea. What they did was kind of step back and let everything be dictated by Notre Dame, which is why the game turned out the way it did."

On unpredictability of how his team will respond after a loss …
"I'm learning about my team. It's November. It will be December 1, and we've had on the road Duke, Maryland … Baylor, a team that could go for 100, in your first six-seven games, which means we've had the toughest schedule other than Duke. Other than them, I would say our schedule, and it's probably not fair for these guys, but I'd rather them learn right now what we have to do and get a clearer picture, and you don't get those clear pictures against bad teams."

On the urgency of his team …
"I had some people call and say you could have got blown out. Your team fought a little bit. And I'm like, 'I didn't see it on the tape.' Like I said, they have to learn and accept where they are. Then you have to fall in love with the work. You've got to fall in love with practice. You've got to fall in love with the conditioning.  You've got to fall in love with everything. Then you'll get better. It's hard for me to evaluate if you don't compete because then I really don't know. Is our pick-and-roll defense bad, or did you just not compete? And that's the hard thing. I think everyone saw it. But when you're talking about a bunch of young kids and they're still a little bit confused, at times out there you can see it. We left corners. You guys have listened to me for four years now. We don't leave corners. We left corners left and right. One guy went down and was standing next to a guy for two seconds. And then the ball was thrown. And then he started running and it was a 3. We had another guy who was in the middle of the lane, the guy threw a skip pass, and we have it on tape. When the ball was three inches from the guy's hand, the guy started moving. (Jump shot gesture) Bang! It's all those kind of things. You've got to be in the stance, you've got to stay in the stance. You know, there are a lot of things we talked about as a staff when we start practicing again what we're going to do, but that's not now. We've got a game tomorrow afternoon against a good opponent."

On Notre Dame shooting 3s …
"We've got shot blockers around the rim, so why would you leave so they pass to this guy? Let them keep going and try to make it over a shot blocker. We just had guys just come in the lane and give that shot up and then that guy drains it. And they missed two that we left corner, so there was more than a few. That's game slippage. We're on the road in a great environment and a terrific opponent who plays well at home, and we weren't up for that."

On being shell-shocked on the road …
"Maybe. I don't know. You came to Kentucky. You came here. I mean, you're going to get shell-shocked? Well then you're going to get shell-shocked every road game you play then. I almost wanted them to stay out on the court and see them storm to the court to say, 'Do you understand every road game this is what will happen because you're Kentucky?' You shouldn't have come here if you didn't know that.

On if his team will play with more fire against Baylor …
"I don't know. I have no idea. Hopefully they do, but they may not."

On Alex Poythress's progression …
"Patrick Patterson, same kind of deal. Very similar. But again, that wasn't the issue. The issue was stopping on defense. Four of his fouls were fighting screens because he stopped, and then he has to fight the screen and then you've fouled. The thing that he and a few of the guys have to crack is the whole time you're on the court, you're playing. You don't stop. Especially, you won't believe this, if the ball is in play. If somebody bounces it or somebody has it, you've got to keep playing."

On preparing for Baylor …
"We'll walk through our stuff. There are three or four things I want to show them for us, and then three or four things we'll show them from them. The main thing is, again, we're going to watch the tape and hopefully it's very clear that the other guy played harder than our guy played. And there will be 50 times you'll see, now, 'Why did he get this and you didn't get it? Why didn't you play before this screen? We didn't you get open on the screen. Did you see you didn't get open? But your man got open. Tell us how. They ran us into the pick-and-rolls. Why didn't you run them into the pick-and-rolls?' Just stuff that they did, they executed, and they played harder. And you've got to see it on the tape and then its learning. Its part of what we do. It's not easy here. Coaching a bunch of young guys, fourth straight year, it's not easy. But they all knew it. I knew. And you're going to lose some games."

On Archie Goodwin
"We're still in flux. He was out of control most of the game. But he's still learning. He got a little rattled by it. You've got to get him up the court at times, which is the dilemma, because if you throw it ahead to him, he makes something happen good. He's kind of like Michael (Kidd-Gilchrist) was. But, you know, playing him in the pick-and-rolls and doing different things has made us a better team. Defensively, he's longer."

On the point guard position and team effort …
"Well we could put (Ryan Harrow) or Jarrod (Polson) in to play point and let (Goodwin) play two. And then if it's half court it could still be (Goodwin). We have some things we can do, but let me explain. The will to win and the competitive spirit is what we're fighting for right now. And when our fans watch these kids play, either they fight like heck and they'll cheer, or they're not going to fight like heck. They're going to get beat to balls, getting beat to offensive rebounds. We'll be standing up. We'll get hung up on screens, get hung up on pick-and-rolls, and they won't. Well, if they're not, then that means they are competing harder than you, and that's just where we are right now. Let's get the competitive spirit going. I probably last week started working on situations too soon. See, there's not a situation when you're down 15. There is no situation. You're not going to go five-point plays three times in a row. There are no situations. So we worked on situations and got away from the competitive spirit which just shows we aren't ready to move forward yet. I keep saying the same thing. You've got to go a step at a time. I wanted us farther; we're not ready for that. This is where we are right now. The love of learning, the practice, they'll get that, they'll be fine."