UK Travels to Bloomington for Border Battle

Dec. 11, 2009

UK Travels to Bloomington for Border Battle

For the fourth straight season, the annual UK-IU borderwar will take place in the home team’s arena, as opposed to a neutral site as it did for 15 straight years.

Kentucky Indiana
Gameday Information
Game Notes UK Notes Get Acrobat Reader | IU Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Sat., Dec. 12, 12:00 p.m
Coverage TV: CBS
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker GameTracker
Online Audio listen
Location Assembly Hall
Bloomington, Ind.
Indiana Hoosiers at a Glance
Head Coach Tom Crean
Record at School 10-29
2009 Record 4-4, 0-0 Big Ten
Ranking NR
Series Record Kentucky leads 29-23
Last Meeting Kentucky beat Indiana 72-54 in Lexington last season
2009 Team Stats UK IU
Scoring Offense 79.2 73.5
Scoring Defense 64.7 70.8
FG Percentage 49.2% 42.7%
3-point FG Percentage 36.8% 35.5%
FT Percentage 66.4% 65.9%
Rebound Margin +9.0 -0.6
Assists 15.6 14.4
Turnovers 17.2 16.0
2009 Stat Leaders
Scoring UK: John Wall (19.0)
IU: Maurice Creek (15.6)
Rebounding UK: Patrick Patterson (9.4)
IU: Christian Watford (6.5)
Assists UK: John Wall (7.0)
IU: Jeremiah Rivers (4.4)
3-point FG Percentage UK: Eric Bledsoe (48.0%)
IU: Derek Elston (50.0%)
Blocks UK: DeMarcus Cousins (2.1)
IU: Christian Watford (1.1)
Steals UK: John Wall (3.0)
IU: Maurice Creek (1.5)

Kentucky enters the game on a nine-game winning streak, its hottest start to a season since opening the 1993 campaign 11-0.

UK forged a 64-61 win over No. 14 UConn in its latest outing in the DirecTV SEC/Big East Invitational played in historic Madison Square Garden.

John Wall led all scorers with a career-high 25 points, while tying a career high with five steals.

DeMarcus Cousins recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Pregame Quotes

Head Coach John Calipari

On beating UConn and moving forward…

“I like our will to win and I like the fact that Eric (Bledsoe) was not in the game and we had to win without him. So, it's good. If you want to foul out or do something dumb, we can win without you. Before we thought without Eric in the close game, we couldn't win. Now we know and he knows.

“It's another thing for us to learn from and look at. We have some things we haven't done well. We get leads and then we try to make hero's plays. We are up 4-0 and we are chest bumping like we just won the national title, and then all of the sudden they come marching back because you turned it over, took a tough play, and stopped playing, like it doesn't matter. All of a sudden, you're in a ball game. How many times have we done that this year? What's going to happen is it comes back to bite and you end up losing games. You say, ‘If we had just sustained effort for another three minutes you would have put them away.' A lot of times, you have to lose a game or two in a row, or three to say, ‘You know what, we better listen.' Right now, we've been fortunate and we've been getting by. We start off, we look really good, then we go do our own thing, and we don't pass the ball to each other, we make the hardest play we can make, we stop playing on defense, they get a run out, and all of the sudden it's a ball game. It's who we are – a bunch of young guys that don't get it.”

On road games…

“Historically, my teams have played better on the road than at home, because they play more focused. But, my teams have never been this inexperienced. We walked into the Garden and I expected it to be 75 percent Connecticut (fans) and 25 percent Kentucky, maybe. But, there were 75 percent Kentucky and 25 percent Connecticut. I'm in the back and I hear the boos, and I thought it was them booing us. I said to someone, ‘So they booed us already?' They said, ‘Oh no, that was our people booing them.' I couldn't believe it. I don't think we'll see much blue in this building. It will be all red.

“I imagine when we walk into the building, I'm going to hear some boos and our team is going to hear some boos, and it's going to be crazy. It's kind of exciting. The hardest thing and the most satisfying thing in this profession we play and coach in, is to try to go to an opponent's court when they are playing their best, and you hold your own. That is the greatest feeling that we got a chance, and they are playing as well as they can play on their court. That is the most satisfying thing and hopefully we'll give ourselves a chance.”

On Indiana…

“A well-coached, hard, bodying-up, diving for loose balls, taking charges and grind it (kind of team).With this team he is trying to play faster like when he was at Marquette. They are trying to get the give-and-go and get easy baskets. In the half court they run great stuff, they run pro stuff. His players get better week to week. I'm glad we're playing now and not a month from now. I imagine he's looking at my team and saying, ‘I'm glad we're playing them now and not a month from now.' They are getting better now because the guard play is really good and solid. Now, you'll watch and they'll go to a flat 1-4 (zone) and let guards go. Or, they'll go to a middle pick-and-roll facing, and all that is to create space for their guards. They'll also try to isolate Christian Watford, who I recruited hard and (Indiana head coach) Tommy (Crean) got from us. But, Christian will take it one-on-one. They do grind it, but they also create space for guys to go and play.”

On Tom Crean…

“Truly a good friend and a good coach. I've known him for so long and I always respected him, when he was an assistant at Pitt and he did a great job when he was with (Michigan State head coach) Tommy Izzo. Then he got the Marquette job, and he and I were really close in our league.”

On preparing for Indiana…

“I've watched some of the games where they played zone and others they haven't, and we're prepared for both. Again, we need to be a little more aggressive on the perimeter, more in attack mode, and in the inside we need to catch it and make strong moves. We have had all of that stuff go south. We met yesterday before practice and I just told the guys,' How many of you thought you played bad in that game?' They all raised their hand. I said, ‘Half of you did play OK, the other half of you played awful. As long as you know you played awful. Then you have to figure out why did I play awful and what do I have to do to change that? What do I have to do in practice and what do I have to do in preparation?' We had some guys not playing well and we have to have some guys watching tape. I told a couple of our guards you need to get with staff and watch every possession, because we have guys trying to play too fast. You use your speed to kill them, not us. It's not just John (Wall), it's all our guys. In the post we were so small, it was incredible. Everything we do we want to do with upper body, but you can't play that way in this game. You have to get down in the stance, with a great base and wide feet so you don't get knocked around.”

#1, Darius Miller, So., G

On what he knows about Indiana…

“I don't know too much about them. I know they got a nice win over Pitt the other day, I watched a little bit of that game. I've always thought this would be a tough game against them; it's not going to be like playing some cupcake team. If we don't come out and play, it's going to be a tough game, and it might be one of those games that coach said we should have lost.”

On if Madison Square Garden was a strange place to play in…

“It didn't seem too strange; it seemed strange after I started missing a lot, though.”

On if he always respected Indiana basketball, being from Kentucky…

“I definitely respect their program. I have always looked at them as a good team, I never have really looked at them as a team that we were just going to walk in and beat.”

On how big of a rivalry this is…

“That may be one of the reasons that I have never really looked at them as a bad team. I know they are going to play us tough, seems like they always do. We better come out ready to play, or they are going to take advantage of us.”

On going on the road and how they deal with that…

“I think we should be fine. There might be points at the beginning of the game, but once we get settled in and ready to play, we should be fine. It's going to be a tough crowd, and it is a big rivalry, so we have to come in prepared.”

On the atmosphere in New York, and playing in front of a split crowd…

“It felt kind of different. Like you said, it was a split crowd, and just the type of arena we were playing in, it seemed like a different kind of game.”

On watching the Indiana vs. Pitt game, and what jumps out about Indiana…

“I just think they play really hard. They pushed the ball a lot, and played extremely hard the whole game.”

#3, Darnell Dodson, So., G

On how helpful he thinks it's been having so many close games early in the season …

“It's good because it's going to help us later in the season. When we face the same situations well know how to handle them and already have the experience to do well. “

On what he knows about Indiana so far …

“Not too much except they play hard and run a lot of sets. We have to stop them and get them out of their game and we'll be successful."

On if he's interested to see how they'll handle the first true road game …

“Yes, it's another good learning experience for us being on the road with another crowd without many of our fans there."

On playing in Madison Square Garden …

“It (was) fun. Everyone dreams of playing in Madison Square Garden along with playing a great team like Connecticut it was just a great experience.“

#11, John Wall, Fr., G

On your thought about all the media attention…

“It's pretty good. Like I said, as long as my team mates don't mind. I'm not really trying to (look) too much into it, and be dictating. As long as you stay humble about it, I guess everyone is fine with it.”

On what Coach Cal said about him going to class and not missing tutoring sessions…

“It is important because in high school, I felt like my first couple of years I wasn't really focusing on school; I was more worried about basketball and having fun and being in high school. College is a different story; I have to go to class, have good grades, and it is important to my mom for me to have good grades, and keep up with my sister back home who always gets good grades.”

On if some of the younger guys are aware of how big the Kentucky vs. Indiana rivalry is…

“Not right now, I don't think any of the freshmen know. We are just going into it like it is another game. It is our first road game which is another big test for us, to go on the road against another great team like Indiana, plus they have a great coach. We don't know too much about them, but we are going to find out tomorrow.”

On how much he thinks the team is winning because of execution, or because of talent taking over…

“Right now I think it is more talent taking over and winning games. Like Coach Cal said, our execution is not where we need it to be. It is not as good as he wants it right now. That is what we keep working on in practice, and we go over plays as much as we can in practice. After shoot around tomorrow morning, we will go over plays so everyone can be prepared for the game. I don't think our execution is where it needs to be.”

On what the team has learned about itself over the past two games…

“We found out that we are a team that is willing to win. We are going to fight and not give up, and that is a great thing to have. But like I said our execution is not where it needs to be. In the first half of the North Carolina game, we came out with intensity and played well, but in the second half we let down. Just like the other night against UConn in the first half; we let it down too, and came back the second half and fought. We have to have intensity for the whole game; because we get a lead come tournament time, we cannot just think we can win it in one half, we have to bring it the whole game.”

On if executing with a lot of toughness is one of the best things to happen to the team…

“Yes, I think it is the best. A lot of people are saying how young of a team we are, which we are, and we still have a lot of work to do. Coach Cal tells us every day during drills and in the weight room that it is going to make us tougher.”

On what the atmosphere in New York was like …

“It was a good atmosphere. I had played there once in the Jordan Brand Classic, so I already knew how Madison Square Garden was. The fans come out, and it's crazy. You see celebrities out there, so it was a great atmosphere. It was our first real road test, but we had a lot of fans up there, just like UConn. It was a good test for us.”

On if you feel like Indiana is going to come out like they have nothing to lose …

“I feel like every team will come at us like that. That is our biggest step for this year, and like Coach Cal said, every game for us against anybody is their Super Bowl, so we have to come out and play at the best of our ability.”