Tuesday, November 25, 2014

UT-Arlington Head Coach Post Kentucky Press Conference QUOTES

UT Arlington Head Coach Scott Cross
Opening statement …
Well, obviously that was a tough one for us. First half I’ll take responsibility for that, we went out and played zone. We watched on tape that it looked like Kentucky didn’t attack a zone as good as they did some man-to-man, so that’s why we went zone when we are a man team. They picked us apart in that zone, it was impressive watching them play and seeing them go inside and outside. They played the game the right way, that’s what is really impressive, to be able to get all of those NCAA All-Americans to play together as a team with 10 different guys, that is impressive. I don’t know how Coach Cal gets those guys to do it, but it is really impressive to see what they do.” 

On if playing a team like Kentucky is relevant to the rest of their season…
“It isn’t. I won’t even show our players the video of this game, I mean we have spent two hours on video before, but we won’t even watch this game’s tape. We won’t face another team like this, their size is absolutely unbelievable and you can’t simulate it. We could have guys standing on chairs and not even simulate it, they take up so much space and they close up gaps very impressively. I thought we would be able to get up a couple open looks, but in the first half we got zero open looks, that’s what is really amazing about what they are doing is what they are doing defensively.” 

On Kentucky’s point guard play…
I think it’s good. They have so much depth that the backup point guard climbed up under our guards, and that’s our strength as we are one of the quickest teams around and he gave our point guards fits with his defense. We tried to set a lot of ball screens to get him off our guys so we could have a little bit of space and he kept climbing back up. That combination of point guards is pretty good.”

On if Kentucky can go undefeated and what would it take to beat them…
It is very possible that they could go undefeated, if they play the way they did tonight playing together as a team, going inside and when they keep hitting shots they are not going to lose for sure. I think to beat them it would take a really poor shooting night and somebody would have to have great size. It would have to be one of the powerhouse teams having an unbelievable night to knock them off.”

Coach Cal and Player Post UT-Arlington Press Conference QUOTES


Q. Talk about the way you feel Andrew (Harrison) played tonight and has basically played all season, basically compare back to this time last year. 
JOHN CALIPARI:  It was funny, I told him, he made passes to ‑‑ he had a shot, another guy had a shot, he was a better shooter than who he was passing it to.  I said, you've got to shoot that; you've got to be down and ready and shoot it.  And he looked at me and smiled, and he said, I'm a play maker.  And I laughed back at him.  I said, I understand ‑‑ you've just got to figure this out.  You've got to know when you've got to score and you've got to know how you're creating shots for his teammates.  Alex (Poythress) was sick today.  You knew he was going to struggle.  He hadn't practiced with us.  He did a little bit yesterday.  He struggled.  But I thought everybody ‑‑ Marcus Lee struggled a little bit today.  I don't understand what his deal was.  But he struggled a little bit.  But the other guys I thought really played.  No one played 20 minutes, or Alex played 20 minutes and Tyler (Ulis) played 20 ‑‑ well, now I see Trey (Lyles) and Dakari (Johnson) played 20. But everybody ‑‑ they're sharing.  The story, everybody wants to talk about defense, they all want to talk about the energy, the blocked shots and the length, and the story is you have 10 guys sharing minutes.  That's the whole story in a nutshell. Why is that happening?  Because they're allowing it to happen.  Is anybody being hurt by this?  No.  Will their NCAA stats be as much as some other players?  No.  Their team NCAA stats will be way beyond most, and their efficiency stats, the big data stats, will be some of the best in the country.  And that's how they're evaluated more than anything else. 

Q.  What's the difference in Devin Booker starting the year 1 of 11 from 3?
JOHN CALIPARI:  Because he never defended this way.  You have to understand, in high school he didn't guard.  He was like the biggest guy on the team, so he never guarded the little guards, he never had to go play like this, so now he's playing, and absolutely running up and down, sprinting up the floor, staying in his stance, playing with great energy, and then trying to shoot a ball, and he was stepping in holes.  He was bank missing shots like oh, my gosh, he bank missed that.  Well, that's all he's getting used to it.  Trey is getting used to playing guards out on the floor.  Alex and he got to catch up.  They've got to catch up.  I mean, what I did today, I told the guys if anybody out there was not playing with great energy, you are allowed to sub him if he's at your spot.  So if a guy didn't play, sub him.  There's nobody giving away their minutes.  You must respect that. 

Q.  Dakari shot free throws really well today.  What did you think of that?  Why do you think he ‑‑
JOHN CALIPARI:  I don't know, you'll have to ask him, but I'm happy for him.  He does want to play, and he knows I'm not playing him at the end of a game if he can't make free throws, so he's making them and now Karl(-Anthony Towns) is missing them.

Q.  No player played over 21 minutes.  Is that something that somebody on the bench keeps that stat or makes sure no one is getting too many minutes?
JOHN CALIPARI:  No, I wanted Dom(inique Hawkins) and Derek (Willis) to get in there and gain some confidence.  I left Alex in there because, again, it can't be me.  They've got to build their own confidence, and that's in demonstrated performance.  They've got to be out there doing it.  Karl, I thought Karl played better today.  Willie (Cauley-Stein) played okay, but why not be better?  Why not be the best guy on the floor?  But it's hard, you get up 40 on a team, it's hard. 

Q.  As you're building this team toward March, if push comes to shove, would you rather have your defense ahead of the offense or vice versa?
JOHN CALIPARI:  Well, the dribble drive, teaching dribble drive as an offense, even if we're running things into it, it gets them to guard the ball, and I think that gets us usually ahead defensively.  But we didn't do any defensive teaching this summer.  We didn't do any in the spring when the kids came back.  We did it on October 3rd.  We started talking defense. This team has a chance of being one of those teams you talk about defensively, like of all time, if they choose to be.  But they're going to have to choose to be that.  My job right now, and it's on me, is offensive execution.  There you can say, well, they're getting a lot in transition.  Well, if you guard, you're going to go get it versus anybody, but either way, you've got to be able to create a good shot and a good rebound opportunity each time down the court.  We are so big, if we take great shots and we have opportunities with two and three guys around the basket, now with that defense, we become really tough.  That's what makes the difference, I mean, when you're offensively really efficient, and we are right now, but still, we're not executing.  We're really not.

Q.  I'm speaking of Karl here.  He had a double‑double in 17 minutes.  How significant is that, and how difficult is that to do, get a double‑double in just 17 minutes regardless of ‑‑
JOHN CALIPARI:  And he had four assists, no turnovers and three blocks and a steal.  Was it the last game he was 1 for 4 from the field?  Now, last game the white unit went nutty.  Today the white unit didn't play as well.  That's how these groups are going to feed off each other.  If I need to take a guy out and he loses his minutes, you're going to lose them, and it's all based on effort or being ‑‑ playing tentative.  You've got to go play.  You're playing 20 minutes, 21 minutes, 22.  You have to play.  You've got to go.  And if you're being tentative ‑‑ even if it's because of me you're being tentative, that doesn't matter, you're still not going to be in.  You've got 20 minutes. See, the greatest thing is a lot of guys, I need some time to get going.  How much?  About seven minutes.  Really?  Yeah, I need about five shots, and then ‑‑ what?  Well, those are players who don't play on winning teams or winning programs.  These guys getting in and being ready, we haven't had great starts right now, but the other teams are pretty hyped up. 

Q.  That sharing you're talking about, how much credit do your point guards get for what's going on there, and also talk about Andrew (Harrison)'s defense a little bit this year. 
JOHN CALIPARI:  It's amazing, isn't it?  I don't know ‑‑ we've got to get Aaron caught up to where Andrew is.  The thing I added to Andrew's plate now that he's really pressuring the ball is I want him to be a defensive playmaker.  Well, what a defensive playmaker does is either blocks shots or steals away from his man, not guarding his guy.  What he does to the guy he's guarding is deflect balls.  But he's never trying to steal from his own man.  He's trying to deflect a pass.  That's a play maker.  It's when you're off the ball.  And now you're seeing him be more alert, be more active, because he's trying to come up with ‑‑ he listens.  He's trying to do what we're asking.  And when I told him about shooting and he came back at me and laughed and said, I'm a playmaker.  He had 11 points in 20 minutes or 18 or whatever he had.  I mean, basically these guys are all scoring 18, 19 a game.  That's their efficiencies. 

Q.  You've got guys, players, actively talking about wanting to be the best defensive team in the country.  The goal was to not allow any points in the second half against a team.  How do you get a whole group bought in that way, taking that sort of pride in their defense?
JOHN CALIPARI:  Just tells a lot about who they are.  I'll come back to this:  In this day and age, every one of these kids has pro aspirations and pro potential, and they're draftable players, and they're doing this for each other.  This is crazy.  That's why I say, for anybody in our society, where everybody talks about the me and mine and narcissism and all that, why wouldn't you root for this to happen and be good?  I don't understand why you wouldn't root for this?  You're not rooting for Kentucky or me, okay.  Short of that, why wouldn't you root for this?  Most of us do care about society. Now Jerry (Tipton) is going to write that I think I'm changing society.  I don't, Jerry, I'm just making a point that people should want to see this work.

Q.  That would go over good on Good Morning America. 
JOHN CALIPARI:  Yes, it would.

Q.  That was where you should have said it, not here. 
JOHN CALIPARI:  No, it went on the Today Show.  Good Morning America cut us off, but Today Show ran with it. 

Q.  How much do you struggle or deal with the idea of trying to be as efficient as possible and really go for the throat with not humiliating the other team?
JOHN CALIPARI:  Well, the issue becomes, you know, I've got to worry about my team, and I'm sitting on the bench, and you want to say, okay, let's just don't play.  Well, my guys aren't playing enough to do that.  If you're only going to play 19, 20 minutes, do you really want to go in and not play?  And then it's not like you're saying, okay, put your last five in.  Well, those five are pretty good, too, and you throw Dominique in and Derek in and a couple ‑‑ you're still not bad. So I'm not ‑‑ if you've followed my career, I'm not one that tries to run up scores on people.  I don't do it.  But this is a unique situation, and all I'm doing is coaching my team.  We're going to have to play games like we did with Kansas and Providence coming up and Texas, and we've got a Louisville game, we've got a North Carolina game, we've got a UCLA game, we've got hard games that we're going to have to play 40 minutes, so I can't come out in this game and say let's play 30 and let's stop playing.  We've just got to finish it out, and I'm half the time rooting for them to make baskets.

Q.  You guys had a prolonged stretch in the first half where you looked pretty good against the zone.  Have you done anything with it in practice?
JOHN CALIPARI:  Well, the way they played, I watched last year's tape, and you had to attack them on the baseline, and that's what we did.  So again, without a whole lot of practice, we show them the video, we talk about it, in the walk‑through I show them and then they come out and perform.  This is a unique group because they're really intelligent kids, and they've got great hearts.  The only reason this is happening is they're allowing it to happen, and this was not done for me to be a genius.  This was done because we're trying to take care of 10 guys. Now, they must respect the minutes they're getting.  If not, they're going to get less because the guy on the bench is just going to go in for him, say I'm not giving you minutes if you're not going to play.  Compete.  Quit being tentative.  Play hard, or I'm going back in.  They're not going to do it in a mean way, but they understand that.  Today the one unit was really on the bench getting on each other because I took them out because we had two guys not playing, and they were like all over them, like come on, man, you're costing me minutes, too. 

Q.  Coach Cross said it was very possible you guys would go undefeated.  How do you put up with the clutter from these opposing coaches? 
JOHN CALIPARI:  Well, you know, all this stuff, I say it again, Coach (Joe B.)Hall told me when I said the 100‑pound jacket, he said, coaches wear that 100‑pound jacket, too, and you've got to deal with all that same stuff.  All I'm doing is focusing on this team.  I'm focusing on individuals.  What can I keep adding to their game.  And then I'm looking at a team, how do we become a better execution team offensively, how do we continue to play with this kind of energy, and what other tweaks can we give the defense?  What can we do, because folks, I'm going to have to keep this team engaged all year, and right now we're ahead defensively, so I need to start adding stuff, and even if it's little things to make them think so that they don't get into that rut of just hearing the buzz, Zzzzzz, like I'm making them think, I'm making them be engaged, those are the kind of things we're going to have to do as the year goes on. 

Kentucky Student-Athletes
#1, Devin Booker, G 

On the difference in his shooting today than at the beginning of the year … 
“I wouldn’t say there was a difference. I didn’t change anything. They’re falling now. I guess there’s just not much to it. I’m shooting it all the same. It’s just going in now.”

On Coach Cal’s comments about him actually having to play defense now unlike high school …
“He told me I wasn’t accustomed to playing defense in the beginning. The defense in high school depended on the game, honestly. In high school you don’t always have to lock in defensively, but I’ve said that before in college you have to or you’ll get exposed out there. The talent level is higher so you have to play defense.”

On buying into the defensive system …
“I wouldn’t say it just Cal getting us into it. It’s us getting us into it as a collective group. We just want to lock teams down and we take pride in it so that’s what we’ve been doing.”

On being up 57-12 at one point …
“You just have to focus. You can’t really focus on the score. We’re playing for us. We want to play the best we can play and not worry what the other team is doing. We want to keep playing hard. The score will pan out how it is. The other team doesn’t really say anything. They just kept playing and I respect that. They keep playing hard and keep going at us, but we take pride in our defense in trying to stop teams.”

On determining whether to shoot the three or drive …
“It’s all a read or how your body is feeling. Towards the beginning of the game you want to get more involved in the paint area or get a free throw just to get your rhythm going. From there on out, if you’re feeling the three, then just keep shooting it.”

On the hype of bigger upcoming games like Providence and Texas …
“Excited. It’ll be good for us playing a team that’s undefeated and we’ll be ready for it.”

#41, Trey Lyles, PF

On UK’s first half performance … 
“First half we came out with a lot of energy on defense. The offensive end responded well to the zone that they played against us and made it work. Most teams are going to play us zone now and try to make us shoot jump shots to get us away from posting the ball. If we go out there and play hard defensively then offense will work itself out.”

On the platoon system continuing to be effective …
“Coach is into it, we’re into it and we’re into it for each other. So we go out there and try to play hard all the time.”

On difficulty guarding smaller guards … 
“It was much more difficult early on in the season, but going through it in practice Coach has been requesting it and wanting it from me. It makes me get down low and lock in with pressure on the ball.”

#12, Karl-Anthony Towns, F 

On the team played as a unit? …
“We did a good job, especially in the first half.  We played great defense, and we executed offensively.  In the second half, we slacked off a little bit defensively.  We gave up too many points that should have been stopped.  However, it was a great team effort.”

On how dangerous UK can be if they play the way they did in the first half? …
“We can be very dangerous.  Our biggest opponent is ourselves.  We have to stay strong mentally, and we need to continue to pray to the man upstairs that we stay healthy physically.  If we can do that, we will look very good all season.”

On getting a double-double in only 17 minutes …
“It is pretty difficult to do.  You have to put in a lot of effort, but that is why we train so hard.  The amount of training we put in makes it a lot easier.  Since we know that we are all limited on minutes, it makes everyone put in full effort for every minute that we are given.  I am mainly glad that I could offer quality minutes to my team today, not necessarily the double-double.  It feels good to give my brothers a helping hand.”

On how difficult is it knowing you have limited minutes with the platoon system? ...
We are all so talented, so it is not about getting started.  It is more about entering the game and playing the whole time with energy.  Today, we played with a lot of energy in the first half.  It all starts with energy, so if we can continue to do that, then everything will fall into place.”

On what Andrew Harrison offers the team? …
“He has made a tremendous improvement from last year to this year, especially as a passing point guard.  He drives the ball up the court so well and makes defenses have to think.  He almost always makes the right decisions, and he has great vision on the court.  He is a dual threat.  He throws us lobs sometimes, but then he can step back and hit the jumper.  Andrew and his brother are a deadly duo.”

UT-Arlington vs. Kentucky Game Notes

UT Arlington at Kentucky, Men’s Basketball 
Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
Nov. 25, 2014

FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 92, UT Arlington 44

Kentucky is 6-0 and UT Arlington is 3-2.

Kentucky leads the series 2-0.

Kentucky is 184-27 all-time when ranked No. 1 and has won 24 of the last 26 games as The Associated Press top-ranked team.

Coach John Calipari has led three teams to a No. 1 ranking (Massachusetts, Memphis, Kentucky) and has a 68-9 record as the top-ranked coach, including 27-4 at UK.

Kentucky returns to action Sunday at home against Providence. Game time is 2 p.m. and it will be televised on ESPN2.

First-Half Facts

Kentucky’s opening lineup featured Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Alex Poythress, Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein for the fourth time this season.

Kentucky finished the half with a 42-5 run for a 55-12 advantage at intermission. UK started the 42-5 run with a 10-0 stretch and finished it with a 28-0 spurt.

Kentucky’s 43-point lead tied the second-largest halftime margin in school history. The record was a 44-point advantage vs. LSU (86-42) on Jan. 16, 1996.  The other 43-point halftime margin was Feb. 27, 1956, when UK led Georgia 75-32 at intermission.

With the Mavericks scoring 12 points in the first half, it marked the sixth time in 11 halves this season that the opponent has been held under 20.

Devin Booker paced the opening stanza with four 3-pointers for 12 points, as many as UTA had as a team.

Second-Half Story

Kentucky started the second half with Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Marcus Lee and Dakari Johnson.

Booker opened the second half with a dunk, extending the run to 30-0, before UTA tallied again. UK led by as many as 50 points before finishing with a 92-44 victory.

Team Notes

UK won consecutive games by 58 points (vs. Montana State) and 48 points (vs. UT Arlington).  The last time UK won consecutive games by at least 48 came on Feb. 2, 1954, a 51-point win over Georgia Tech (99-48), followed by a 51-point win over Georgia (106-55) on Feb. 4, 1954. Kentucky shot 56.6 percent from the field (30 of 53), second time this season UK has made at least 50 percent of its shots.

UT Arlington was limited to 27 percent from the field.

Kentucky has held all six opponents under 40 percent shooting, including three games under 30 percent. UK had 11 blocked shots tonight. UK has blocked at least seven shots in every game this season, the longest streak since rejecting at least seven in 12 straight games from Dec. 28, 2011 through February 4, 2012.

UK won rebounding 49-29 tonight and has outrebounded all six opponents this season.

UK won bench points 45-23 and has won bench points by at least 22 points in every game this season.

Kentucky is now 43-0 under Coach Calipari when holding the opponent to 55 or fewer points. No Wildcat played more than 21 minutes tonight.

First time this season that six Wildcats scored in double figures.

Player Notes

Devin Booker had a game-high 19 points, including five of six on 3-pointers. He is the first Wildcat to make five 3s in a game since James Young on Jan. 28, 2014, at LSU. He has made at least three 3-pointers in the last three games and has made 12 of 17 from 3-point land during that span. 19 points ties Aaron Harrison for the most points scored by a Wildcat this season.

Karl-Anthony Towns totaled 13 points and 11 rebounds, his first Wildcat double-double. Both of those are his personal bests as a Wildcat. In his first game back after an illness, 
Alex Poythress had four points, nine rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots.

Dakari Johnson scored 12 points, his fourth straight game in double figures and fifth this season. He made his first seven foul shots and finished 10 of 12, a career high for free throws made.

Aaron Harrison had 11 points, his third straight game in double figures.

Andrew Harrison also had 11 points, his third game in double figures this season.

Tyler Ulis had a game-high five assists, second straight game to lead the team in that category.

Trey Lyles had 10 points and a season-high nine rebounds.


Kentucky POUNDS UT-Arlington 92-44

Another day, another big win for the Cats. Kentucky defeats UT-Arlington by a score of 92-44 getting six players in double figures and move to 6-0 on the season. Your leading scorer was Devin Booker with 19pts thanks to a 5-6 shooting night from beyond the arch. This kid is a pure shooter and he has shown that over the last few games. Over the last three games, Devin Booker has shot 71% from the floor and 71% from three ( he as 5-6 from deep tonight) which has led to his 17.3ppg average over the last three games. This kid is going to be impressive to watch this season.

Over all, this game went about like it was supposed to. As the players head home for Thanksgiving, it's time to get ready for some real teams coming up in Providence, UCLA, Texas, North Carolina and Louisville. It will be interesting to see how Kentucky can handle these team as most, particular Texas has the size and athleticism (not the depth however) to match the Wildcats.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of the BBN form Big Blue Corner....

Monday, November 24, 2014

TX-Arlington vs. Kentucky Pre-View

Sunday night saw Kentucky hold an opponent to a record (Kentucky record) low points in the shot clock era when they allowed only 28 points from Montana State. It was a hard game to watch as Kentucky just dominated on the defensive end of things. If the Cats had shot the ball even remotely well, they would have won by a hundred with ease.

Now it's on to the next game which will be tomorrow night when UT-Arlington comes to town. The Mavericks come into the game with a 3-1 record with their only loss coming at the hands of University of Buffalo (yes the same Buffalo Kentucky played last week) 74-68. UT-Arlington has played another familiar opponent in Grand Canyon which they beat by a score of 66-64.

Once again, I know absolutely nothing about UT-Arlington, so lets take a look at the vitals of the Mavericks...

                                                       SCHOOL HISTORY:

EST:  1895


LOCATION:  Arlington, Texas

COLORS: Blue/Orange/White

NICKNAME: Mavericks

MASCOT:  Blaze


Now, let's take a look at their roster...

Now, here's a look at their team and individual stats to give you an idea of what they bring to the table...

I'll be honest here, Kentucky should handle this team with ease. I'm not even going to pretend that I believe this game should even be close. Could the Mavericks upset Kentucky? Sure, anything is possible, but let's be honest, if that happens it's because the Cats played so horribly bad that they deserved to beat.

                                                             SERIES HISTORY:

The Cats and Mavericks have met only once in history and that was last season in the Keightley Classic where Kentucky won in convincing fashion 105-76.

Tip time is set for 7pm and will be aired on the SEC Network...