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UK To Tangle with No. 7/6 Florida in Gainesville




Feb. 11, 2013

Kentucky earned a hard-fought 72-62 win over visiting Auburn on Saturday to push its win-streak to a season-long five games. The Wildcats received another double-double effort from freshman Nerlens Noel who posted 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Sophomore Kyle Wiltjer led five players in double-figures with a team-best 14 points. Sophomore Ryan Harrow and freshman Willie Cauley-Stein both notched 12 points, with senior Julius Mays pitching in with 10.

Gameday
Gameday Information
Kentucky at Florida
Tues., Feb. 12 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Gainesville, Fla.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | UF Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
TV: ESPN
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via WatchESPN
Online Audio
Gametracker
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Florida and Kentucky will meet for the first of two regular season matchups during the 2012-13 season. UK owns an all-time record of 93-33 against the Gators, and holds a 33-22 lead when the game is played in Gainesville. The game will feature the SEC's top two teams among league standings.

Scouting Florida

The Gators had ascended to the No. 2 team in the nation following a 10-game winning streak and a perfect start to conference play before dropping an 80-69 loss to Arkansas last Tuesday. Florida responded with an 83-53 win over Mississippi State on Saturday. Kenny Boynton leads five players scoring in double-figures with 13.1 points per game. Patric Young averages 10.8 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds for the Gators.

Media Opportunity - Feb. 11, 2013

Head Coach John Calipari

On the challenge that Florida presents …
"You've got a top-five team on the road. They play well in their building. It will be a hard game for us to win. Let's put it this way, they were an Elite Eight team last year, should have been in the Final Four, were one game short of that, and they've got everybody back. And college basketball isn't what it was a year ago, so that's how a good a challenge, or how big a challenge and how good of a team they are."

On if playing Florida without Will Yeguette is advantageous to Kentucky …
"It doesn't matter. You've got a bunch of guys that expect to win and they're that good, they'll make up for that."

On guard play being the key to their success against Florida …
"We all know that, and our guys know that. This is our challenge. I mean, you can't make excuses, you can't cop out. Here it is: let's show what we are. Our team's getting better, our guards are getting better, our bigs are getting better. We're getting better as a team. We're being more efficient. (We're) turning it over a little more than I'd like at this time of the year, but you've got to guard these guys and guard them off the 3-point line, and you've got to be strong with the ball. What (South Carolina head coach Frank Martin) is saying is they're scoring from 3-point scoring and off of turnovers. When a team scores from the 3, they're averaging 11 makes in our league right now. That means that they are shooting them whether you guard them or not. If they're going in, you tap them on the butt and say 'Next game.' If you're all over a guy and he's still making them and banking them and all that, next game. But the turnovers you do have some control over. That's what Frank was talking about. Your guard play has got to be good so that they don't get into that race where they're scoring from the 3 and off turnovers."

On Archie Goodwin saying that this is the type of game he was made for …
"Yeah, it's good. No, I'm happy. Let him go in there and do it. This is all an experience for these guys. We're talking life lessons with these guys. We had two last night that we talked about, two chapters. We go over them and everything is about things that these guys have never experienced before. Playing down there, these guys other than Kyle (Wiltjer), who probably if I look back probably played very few minutes down there, they haven't felt this down there. They haven't played a team that's been there, done that, and a team that's hungry to beat us."

On why UK has been successful on the road despite youth …
"My teams historically have played better on the road and I don't know why. Maybe being at Kentucky, it's hard playing at home. You're supposed to win every game. I don't know, but we've played better on the road than we have at home."

On how much Nerlens Noel helps 3-point defense …
"Doesn't matter if they're going under ball screens. One of the things we're going to talk about today is, 'What is selfishness?' What does being selfish mean? I know most of them will say, 'You shoot too much or hold on to…' No. It's selfish if you know you're supposed to go over top of the screen and you choose to go under. Your job is to do X, Y, Z and you choose not to do it. That is very selfish. See, they don't see that as selfish. 'Well, I don't feel like doing it. I'm not selfish.' Oh, you are selfish. So, it's all stuff that we're learning here because on our team the balanced scoring, and every year I've been here, this is my fourth year, we've had balance scoring, every year. And if you look back historically over my teams, balanced scoring, balanced shots taken. That's not what selfish is in our program. It's choosing what you choose to do versus what the team needs you to do. We still have some of that, and we're going to talk about that today. You may say, 'That's the kind of stuff you're talking about?' Yes, every single day. That's the kind of stuff we go over."

On every player having a copy of the book they're reading …
"Yeah, we don't have the Stamina book, Derek Anderson's book but I will get them a copy of that too."

On the theme of the book God Never Blinks …
"It's just 50 life lessons and each of them are three pages, four pages, read it and we talk about it."

On toughness he is seeing from the team …
"Better. Look, we're improving in all areas. It may not show in this game because this is a worthy opponent, well coached team, a tough team, a physical team. I'm watching them, they bang and bump and grind and their guards really attack. If you're in a cool mode, you're getting killed in this game. You have to be trying to survive every bounce of the ball, every trip up and down, you're trying to survive. If you're in a cool mode, like, 'I'm going to bounce it high,' you're getting killed in this game. You have to know what the game is, accept it, not be selfish, know what the team needs you to do and just go out and do it. You do it for 40 minutes, you get a chance. It's just hard to do it because they put a lot of pressure on you. They're a very good team."

On being able to rely on Jarrod Polson due to his progression …
"Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely. Yes. And everybody has watched it. You stick him in the game and he just plays his butt off. And then everybody says, why won't the other guys watch that and do that? He's doing it. Doesn't mean he makes every shot, doesn't mean he doesn't turn it over. Once a game, he's going to get it stripped, accept it, don't get mad, coach. He's going to dribble down, the guy is going to take it from him, shoot a lay-up but his energy, his effort, his toughness, everybody watches. Guys, play like that. 'Well, I don't' have to.' Why? 'I'm better than that.' Well, not really. And that's the kind of stuff we're fighting every day but when we get, it's like Kyle in practice, why should Kyle practice like that and no one else? Same deal. And what's happened is, everyone is starting to elevate because of Willie's energy, Jarrod's energy, Kyle's practice habits and all the sudden because of – Archie's practice habits – we're starting now to take that climb that you have to have to have a chance to do something."

On what he can learn from Arkansas' win over Florida …
"The best thing I can tell you, if you come out and you make nine out of your first 10 shots, you really have a chance of getting it."

On what Archie Goodwin is lacking even as his work ethic is improving …
"Okay, here's what you have to do. You have to lose yourself in the team. That's where he's not, yet. Anything that he does out there, it's him doing it versus you're doing this for the team. Lose yourself in the team. If you turn it over, run the guy down and block it. If you miss a shot, don't worry about it. Don't be selfish on defense now and go under a screen and give up a 3 or stop playing and not block out. Lose yourself in the team. 'Everything I'msupposed to do on offense, I'm doing. If I don't play well, I'm going to play hard.' I watched Michael [Kidd-] Gilchrist against Florida in the semi-final game in the (2012 SEC) tournament. He played awful. He played as bad as Archie played last game (against Auburn). But, he fought and tried and came up with the two game-winning rebounds. He turned it over, missed every shot, missed free throws, but, he had lost himself in the team like Anthony [Davis] did and you don't worry about it. You just keep playing. We are not there. We're trying to establish, 'Here's who I am as a player.' Don't worry about that right now. We've got eight games left. Lose yourself in the team. It's hard, though. It's natural what they're all doing and that, that is again, young, immature guys not understanding that it's not, 'You work on yourself to get better…for us.' That's why you're doing it: for us. If we all lose ourselves in each other, it elevates each one of us and it elevates our team but that's the challenge that we've gone through."

On how Auburn came at UK with a physical style of play …
"Florida plays that way anyway, naturally."

On how much Auburn's physical style of play will help against Florida…
"Some. Auburn did a great job of trapping quickly on Nerlens [Noel]. I expect that's what we'll see Florida do. They also did a job of switching defenses. I also expect Florida will throw some of that at us. But, mainly, they're just going to come in and try to maul us and blitzkrieg. And it's good. We've got to withstand it. We'll find out where we are. We all know we've gotten better, anybody that's watched us. Individual players have gotten better. Now, are we ready for this kind of challenge? We will see."

#10, Archie Goodwin, G, Fr.

On whether he is putting pressure on himself as a player …
"I don't think that I put pressure on myself. Sometimes I over think things but that is something I want to work through and learn to get over."

On letting difficult games frustrate him …
"If I let things like that frustrate me, I'll never be the player that I want to be. So I just try and find better ways to improve myself and help to get a win."

On being back in the top 25 poll …
"I just feel like this is someplace where we want to stay, but we're also not where we want to be. We're honestly not worried about rankings right now; we just want to keep getting better. And as long as we keep getting better, everything else will take care of itself."

#33, Kyle Wiltjer, F, Soph.

On how important guard play will be against Florida …
"They have great guards that get out and run, so our guards are going to have to step up. It's going to be a big game so everyone is really going to have to play great. We are excited for practice today to prepare for them."

On if the team is prepared for this type of road test …
"We feel ready. We have had a lot of tests before and I feel like we are improving every day, so it is going to be a great battle for us and hopefully we can learn from it."

On if the team has a good feeling about their progress …
"(Yes) Most definitely. Every game we not only want to learn from it, but to feel good about it. I feel that we have learned going on the road and watching film. I think we are ready for it."

On similarities between his and Florida's Erik Murphy's game …
"He can shoot the ball and stretch the floor out. Hopefully I can go in there and show what I can do."

On stepping up since the start of conference play …
"I've just really been working hard in practice, getting that mentality and being vocal. Working hard in practice has translated over to the game. I've just been trying to go out there and have fun and not think about it too much."

On playing the role of "hype man" in practice …
"I have been a leader on other teams before, but this is kind of something that I have just picked up in practice. Holding guys accountable and getting guys to be energetic in practice because we have to be a more vocal team, especially in the games."


 

 

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