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Kentucky Faces Baylor in Basketball Doubleheader




Dec. 4, 2013

Scouting the Bears

The 20th-ranked Baylor Bears enter the matchup with Kentucky owning a 7-1 record thus far. Baylor owns victories over Colorado, South Carolina and Dayton. The only loss was a 74-67 setback to fourth-ranked Syracuse.

Gameday
Gameday Information
Kentucky vs. Baylor
Friday, Dec. 6 - 10:00 p.m. ET
Arlington, Texas - AT&T Stadium
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | BU Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
TV: ESPN
Radio: UK IMG
Live Video via WatchESPN
Live Audio
Live Stats
Text Updates

Baylor has four players averaging double figures with Cory Jefferson pacing the way with 13.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Kenny Cherry is logging 10.8 points and has a team-high 39 assists on the year while also knocking down .900 from the charity stripe. Isaiah Austin has swatted 26 shots on the year and is posting 10.5 points and 4.9 boards on the year.

This is the third consecutive season the two teams will meet on the hardwood.

Kentucky-Baylor Series

Kentucky owns an all-time record of 7-1 against Baylor with the only loss, a 64-57 setback, coming a season ago to the Bears in Rupp Arena snapping UK’s 54-game home winning streak. The series began in 1947 and includes three neutral site meetings including the Elite Eight matchup in the 2012 NCAA Tournament in Atlanta.

Kentucky vs. the Big 12

The Wildcats are 59-10 all-time against members of the Big 12 conference. UK has faced Kansas the most often and owns a 21-6 mark against the Jayhawks. The Wildcats own undefeated records against seven members of the conference including an 8-0 mark against Kansas State.

Baylor Head Coach Scott Drew

On Aug. 22, 2003, Scott Drew assumed Baylor’s head coaching position and took over one of college basketball’s most daunting rebuilding projects ever.

From 2007-13, Baylor rose to national prominence with Drew leading the team to five 20-win seasons, five postseason appearances, the Big 12’s first NIT championship, Baylor’s first postseason tournament title in its 107-year history, and a Big 12-best and school-record 15 postseason wins. The Bears advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in 2010 and 2012, won the 2013 NIT championship, made the 2009 NIT championship game and played in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, marking their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1988.

Drew led the 2012-13 Bears to 23 wins and the program’s first-ever postseason tournament title when they won five consecutive games to claim the 2013 NIT championship. The Bears were ranked for a sixth consecutive season, joining Kansas as the only Big 12 teams able to make that claim. Baylor also won at No. 8 Kentucky, snapping the Wildcats’ 54-game home winning streak, and BU handed Kansas a 23-point defeat, becoming the only team in NCAA history to beat Kentucky at Rupp Arena and defeat Kansas in the same season.

Baylor posted a school-record 30 wins and advanced to the NCAA Tournament South Regional final in 2011-12 -- making the Bears one of only six programs nationally with two Elite Eight appearances in the three-year span from 2010 to 2012. For the first time in program history, the Bears were ranked throughout the 2011-12 season, reaching as high as No. 3 and never dropping lower than 14th in the AP or coaches polls.

Pregame Media Opportunity - December 4, 2013

Head Coach John Calipari

On how the double header with the men’s and women’s team came about …
“This is not just about the basketball program, it’s about this athletic department. It’s about a lot of athletes from all the different sports and anywhere we can come together and help each other is good. Listen, you are talking about two highly-ranked women’s programs. I told the story to Mark Stoops about why don’t we do all three. Matthew (Mitchell) said ‘Why don’t you do Baylor and Notre Dame with us?’ and Stoops said ‘How about we do Connecticut?’ But no, this should be a good trip. Both programs are following each other, trying to help each other. I stop in his (Mitchell) office, he stops in my office, I stop in his practice, he stops in my practice. The job he has done here, in the environment of a Tennessee, all of a sudden you are getting overwhelmed by this stuff, and now you are the team that is overwhelming.”

On what he took from watching Baylor play Syracuse …
“The games that I have seen, they (Baylor) are really long, they are really athletic, they are a talented team, and they play both man and zone. Their zone is very effective. My feel is they will play us 95 percent zone and they play it different ways. They are like us in that they are so long that you are not getting the looks that you think you will get. The good news is just about every team has played a zone and the one thing I want to tell you is there is a cohesiveness to playing this game. Against man to man, we don’t seem to be as cohesive as we do against zone. My answer to you would be because you have to pass it against zone. You can’t just try to make a play, you have to pass the ball, pass the ball, move it inside, kick it out, drive it, and all of a sudden we become a cohesive team. I really don’t care that people play a zone, that’s fine, it makes us come together. It also showed me on our offense, we have to pass the ball a little bit more. There is a difference between transition when you go, but in half-court offense you have to pass it some.”

On how Julius Randle is adjusting to the college game …
“The one thing I said was quit trying to be perfect. He is acting like he should make every play, just stop and play harder than the other guy. Just worry about that, don’t worry about anything else. He’s doing fine, he’s doing fine.”

On if Randle has done a good job maintaining his composure while getting roughed up …
“I was on a conference call with a bunch of coaches yesterday and they are talking about the rules, and I said scoring you know is up six points per game at this time last year. I’m not talking about conference play at all, the games that were played to this point last year, scoring is up six points. How much of that is free throws, under 50 percent. So scoring is up, it’s doing what it’s supposed to. The absolute head-and-shoulders by the guy contact is a foul on the defense. I raise the ball and you aren’t standing there two-footed, that’s a block. How about another absolute, if you throw it in the post and the man moves the ball to shoot and you come down, that’s an automatic foul. Why not add that? If he’s holding it and you grab it out of his hand that’s ok. He goes to score and you come down, automatic. When I told the coaches, one chuckled, and I said I am being self-serving now, but I think it eliminates me or anybody else worrying about ‘did you hit his arm, did he grab him, did he grab instead of hit?’ It eliminates it, so anything we can take out of the official’s hands and make it absolute, you just call it. They now get rated and it’s very simple. That’s an absolute, why didn’t you call that? There are still things I think that can clean up this game, but I like the way the game is being played. Faster, more scoring, you can’t foul on every possession. You can’t foul four times on every possession, you can’t anymore, or the crew will get penalized. They won’t be in the NCAA tournament. You referee a game like that and you will not be in the NCAA tournament.”

On playing in a Final Four type atmosphere in Dallas …
“We aren’t going to have 80,000 there but my hope is that because of the games that are being played there, everybody is ranked, it’s going to be a terrific environment. I haven’t been in the building but everybody tells me it’s just ridiculous. They are moving the court to one side, but the court will be raised, so it will be like that kind of environment. I am excited. Look, we need to play another ranked team to find out where we are at this point. It’s not about winning or losing, you want to win every game. It’s about let’s just keep learning where we need to go with this team.”

On if Baylor has the best length of any team UK has played so far this season  ...
"Michigan State had some length, they were long. They are different, but they were big. They had two big guys in there, and their wing was big and athletic."

On the team's plans to practice in AT&T Stadium...
"We practice in there Thursday, and probably shoot around on Friday. So we will have two looks, and the women will be the same."

On game planning for Baylor ...
"We haven't talked about it yet. We are so focused on us right now; we haven't talked Baylor at all."

On Jon Hood's recovery ...
"Because I was there when it happened, and he practiced later but had headaches. I know our doctors and I trust our doctors. They are going to be really conservative in what we are doing here with him. I am concerned, but I also know he is in great hands. Nobody is going to ask him to do something he should not do."

On UK facing multiple teams that play a lot of zone defense …
“What has happened is the zone is making us pass the ball so we're playing off of one another way better. In the man, we don't seem to pass it as much. We hold it more. I didn't realize until I was watching the tape. Against man we have to pass it more. If you don't have an easy play get rid of it, move the ball."

On limiting turnovers vs. Providence …
"We had a couple of guys had the majority of them. The rest of the team I don't think was that bad."

On if neutral-site games serve as more of a measuring stick …
"I want to see how we play. Obviously we started better last game, were more aggressive. This is about are we playing with energy throughout? How many times do we stop, whether we're on offense or defense? Do I pass the ball and stand straight up, I get the ball and I walk because I have to take it down before I drive. How many times on defense do I stand straight up when my man runs off the screen? How many times do we have that happen?' It's narrowing from 50 times a game to 20 times a game. Now if you really want to be good every minute you are in there you don't stop. You play until you sub yourself. We've got a ways to go."

On appreciating Willie Cauley-Stein's performances of late …
"I asked the team 'why do you think Willie played that way? Why is he now coming into his own?' One guy said 'Well he's not thinking out there.' I said 'Well you can say that, but you have to think.' The statement you don't think is not true. He's reacting better and I'll tell you why. Because he's practicing like crazy. He is attacking practices, which makes the game easier. We have other guys that the practice is attacking them every day. One guy shut it down. He said ‘I can't breathe' and they looked at his heart rate and it was at 82 percent. Well then you have a lung disease. It's not that, you can't just push through the comfort level. There are times where I have a couple of guys, their heart rate gets in the 90 (percent range) and they will tell me '94' (I ask) 'who' (they say) 'Willie' (I say) 'step off Willie, step off Dominique,' another guy is at 75 (percent). What? What are you doing? Get off; go on a treadmill to get his heart rate up. Leg work, 'my legs are burning,' that's how they're supposed to feel. That's the feeling. How do you push to where you can't (go anymore). We had EJ (Floreal), who people were coming in watching him saying he should be All-Conference in track in the SEC, I had a football coach come in and say (EJ) would play in the NFL. He does a leg drill that we're doing so hard that he practically falls down and the team's watching. That's how hard you go. That's how much you push, it's just this stuff is all new. We are doing drills they should have been doing in eighth grade that they obviously didn't, but I'm not going to get ahead of schedule with this group. We are what we are right now."

On what Cauley-Stein is doing to work hard …
"Whatever it is, the last part of every drill (Willie) is going like no tomorrow, versus other guys looking at the clock trying to get through the drill. There's a difference. You finish the drill. The hardest part is those last seven, eight seconds. And the other guy is looking at the clock. You're not going to get better. What got you here won't get you there. You have to change. Some guys are changing, Willie's changing. Other guys are not. Until they accept they have to change they won't, but all in all I've been really pleased. I'm dragging this team faster than they need to go, yet taking some things back to the very elementary things that they needed to be doing when they got here."

Kentucky Players

#25, Dominique Hawkins, G, Fr.

On whether he thought he would be playing this much …
“I really didn’t expect this much playing time early because as I saw the rotation as it was going early in the season in preseason, I wasn’t getting that much playing time at first. So I’m kind of shocked I’m getting this much playing time.”

On what changed that …
“Basically playing my role. I feel like he’s (Coach Calipari) seen what I can do for the team and give the team energy on defense and being able to play my role on offense and not force anything. He found out that I can play my role really well.”

On Julius Randle getting better against double-teams …
“He’s adapting to that big time. They’re banging on him. As soon as he catches the ball, there’s three guys or two guys going to him and he’s just looking for the open person because he knows he’s going to get double-teamed and triple-teamed.”

On whether Randle was disappointed to lose his double-double streak …
“I don’t even think anybody on the team knew about the double-double. We just know that he played a good game and we won.”

On how Coach Calipari said the team played against Providence …
“He thought that we played well. Obviously we’re getting better each and every game, and that’s basically what he told us. He just told us to get ready for practice when we were out there the next time.”

On looking forward to the experience on Friday …
“It’s going to be a neat experience for me. I’m just a small-town kid from here and going to Dallas Cowboys Stadium is insane. I never expected to be playing in a stadium that big and that’s that well known. It’s just going to be amazing to play there.”

On whether he saw a picture of the stadium when it was first released …
“I really didn’t know anything about it until—well I knew about it though but I really didn’t look up anything about it until now. I know that it’s probably—the most celebrities go to the football games there and stuff like that. So it’ll be pretty neat if we have celebrities at our game and stuff like that.”

On whether he is nervous or just excited …
“Just excited about it. Not nervous at all.”

On how aware the team was of Willie Cauley-Stein’s big game …
“Yeah, we all reacted to that because we know that, Willie, he had like three blocks in a row and we were like, ‘He might have a triple-double.’ I know he scored over 10 points and he’s definitely going to get over 10 rebounds that game because he was a rebound machine that game. The blocks, I don’t know how many he ended up with but he had an awesome game.”

On what Cauley-Stein’s shot-blocking does for the team …
“It sparks us up. It makes us want to play defense better. To give the energy that he’s giving, we all want to give that same energy and we know that he probably has our backs as guards if somebody drives around us that he’s going to be on the help side to block their shot or change their shot or anything like that.”

On what’s been effective about Cauley-Stein’s game …
“Running up and down the court has really been effective for him. I think he probably got at least two alley-oops a game just because he’s running up and down the court. And definitely he’s improving on his offensive game every day. If you ever watch practice, Willie, he’s always going as hard as he can and working on his post moves.”

On whether he has noticed Calipari challenging Cauley-Stein to block shots …
“Definitely. He tells all the bigs to go after the shot block because that’s how team defense becomes better and he wants us to get the loose balls once the shot is blocked. So basically he’s telling Willie to be an effective shot-blocker.”

On whether these neutral-site games feel different …
“I feel the same when I’m in an arena. I’m pretty sure everybody on the team feels like it’s just a regular game, just a bigger stage.”

On the native Texans looking forward to going home …
“I’m pretty sure they’re all looking forward to it. I would be looking forward to it if it was back in my home state or whatever and all your family’s going to be there to watch. You’re going to be wanting to perform well when all your family’s watching and your friends.”

On whether UK should play at Madison Central (his high school) …
“That would be pretty neat if we did that, but I don’t think the stadium could hold that many Kentucky Wildcat fans.”

On this being the same site as the Final Four …
“No, we haven’t talked about anything about Final Four or anything like that. We’re just trying to take it one game at a time. That’s probably why we haven’t talked about it.”

 #30, Julius Randle, F, Fr.

On whether he will have a lot of family and friends at Friday’s game …
“Yeah, I’ll have a bunch of family and friends, so I’m excited to see all of them.”

On how long he’s looked forward to going back home …
“I would say it’s a dream of mine just to be able to come back to my home state and be able to play in front of family and friends and fans in the city too, so I’m looking forward to it.”

On whether he knew when he was recruited by Kentucky that this game was on the schedule …
“Yeah, I had already knew, plus I knew the Final Four and national championship was there.”

On going back home and playing in front of people he knows …
“I’m just more excited to see my family. I don’t get to see them very often because I’m here. I’m just excited to see those guys.”

On how important it is to him to get to go back to Dallas for a second time at the end of the season …
“Very important. It’s the most important thing this year.”

On whether he’s shot baskets in AT&T Stadium before …
“No. I went to a game last year in that arena and it was kind of funny, the dome and everything. It seemed like a really fun environment.”

On whether the place is too big …
“No, it’s packed out so no. I couldn’t imagine playing in front of all those people. It had to be fun for them.”

On whether he will get with his family …
“I’m hoping so. We get there early tomorrow, so I’m hoping that. I know if I’m not able to go out in the city and hang out with my family, I know that they were all saying they were going to come to me. Hopefully I have some good downtime just to hang out with them.”

On how familiar he is with Baylor …
“Pretty familiar. I know some of those guys just because of AAU basketball and high school playing against them. I’m very familiar with their guys. They’re a really good team. They can shoot the ball and have some long, athletic bigs. It should be a good challenge for us.”

On whether this is the biggest challenge they’ve faced in terms of the other team’s length …
“I would say so. They have length at positions one through five. They have a lot of length, so I think it will be a pretty good matchup for us.”

On that length maybe creating some one-on-one matchups for him instead of the usual double and triple teams …
“If they play me one-on-one I’d be surprised. That would be Christmas.”

On how he’s adjusting to double and triple teams …
“In high school they’d do it, but in high school you’re just so much bigger and stronger and faster than guys so you could kind of fight through it. At the college level, you’ve got guys that are just as strong and as big as you. It’s a different level. It’s a different challenge. It’s nothing I can’t handle. Luckily for me I have teammates who can help make plays and guys who are capable of doing a lot of different things. You have to kind of pick and choose what you want to do.”

On whether he feels any pressure going back to play in front of family and friends …
“Coach (Kenny) Payne has been joking with me about not embarrassing myself when I go back home, but I don’t feel any pressure.”

On how much it helps him when a guy like Willie Cauley-Stein gets it going like he has of late …
“It’s a great feeling. I’m all about winning. That’s why I came here. I came here to win a national championship. So just to see those guys step up and make plays, it’s a big relief for me. It’s also encouraging for me because I know they’re growing, so it’s only going to help me. It’s only going to help them too. It’s going to help our team.”

On Cauley-Stein embracing being the veteran leader on the team …
“He’s maybe not going to say as much. He’s starting to become really vocal, but before anything he’s going to lead with his actions or how hard he plays. You can tell that’s what he does by having nine blocks last game and then scoring the ball there at the end. He’s changing the game and making our team a lot better.”


 

 

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