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Calipari Quotes Pre-Georgia

Posted: Mar 6, 2013 6:05 PM

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Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari

On what kind of operation he had ...

"I had double knee replacement, but I bounced back pretty quickly. No, I had a procedure done on a tooth and I was out of town Sunday, so I had to do it Sunday night and then Monday. It is (painful). But it will be fine."

On teams with "Fs" heading into the NCAA Tournament ...

"A lot of teams have Fs. Again, we are playing on the road. It is a hard game to win, but what I am worried about is us being the best version of ourselves and we weren't at Arkansas. We weren't. They wanted it more. They played more physical and played tougher. They came at us and we kind of backed away. You have to go out and ball and you have to go out and compete. You have to go out and battle. If we do that, we will be fine. I don't know if that means you are winning, but I know my team will be fine. That is what we have talked about and trying to stress."

On playing on the road with a young team ...

"I don't know. I would like to tell you we are a pretty good road team. It is just the last two road games we have been abysmal and it has been all about physical play. Our guard play has to be better. It just has to be. You watch Arkansas last night, they get beat by 30 and (that) didn't faze Missouri's guard play. For us, it took us completely out of the game. The crazy thing is, that being said, holding them to 34 percent, 25 percent from the 3, if we would have just rebounded the ball and didn't turn it over (we win). Because of the physical play, we turned it over, or I think we would have been fine. It is something that we are still learning and trying to figure out. Like I said, at some point the lights have to go on and when it does you are going to see a team, and you have seen it at times, but we now don't have a whole lot of time. You are pressed now for time."

On how confident he is that this will be the best version of Kentucky against Georgia ...

"I still have the same vision. I told them, I believe in the team and I am going out with the whole idea that we are going to write a heck of a story, ‘This is going to be a heck of a story when we get done if you want it to be.' My other comment to them is that it is time to empower them and if anyone is letting go of the rope you have to get them off the floor. If anybody (thinks) the game is too rough or too tough, you as players, get them off. Just tell him, ‘Man, you can't be out here.' I don't think we have one player that is not capable of being physical and doing the things you have to do. But sometimes when the game gets crazy we get guys that just let go of the rope and we can't do that, especially at this point. Like I said, I think our team, whatever they want to be, ‘Where do you want to go with this? How do you want to do this? Whatever you want it to be, it is going to be.' I think we have a bunch of good guys that are still learning and when still gets a little ragged. They are not at their best and that is where we have to learn."

On how the team has practiced the past few days ...

"They've been fine. Today was pretty good. This is more, forget about how you practice. Go into games, the game is going to get rough, battle back. If you're supposed to be handling the ball, handle the ball. Go get it. If you're supposed to rebound the ball guess what? Go rebound. ‘Well that guy is working really hard.' Well then work harder than him. Go get balls. Beat them to balls. Beat them to 50-50 balls. It's not schemes. We're still shooting a very high percentage from both the 3-point line and the 2-point line. Our free throw shooting is okay. Our assist to turnover ratio, only when the games get rough does it go the wrong way because we have got guys that don't want the ball because the game is too rough. We've got to get to where we want the ball in a rough game. The only way that happens is demonstrated performance during games. It's good that we've got another good game, and it's another tough game. They're (Georgia) good at home. They're 8-and-8 in our league. They play well in that building. We're going to have play a good basketball game to have a chance to win."

On game planning for Georgia's defense ...

"I think they'll be aggressive. They may not spread the court like Arkansas, but they're still going to be aggressive and physical. They're going to pressure us when they have the opportunity to. (Georgia Head Coach) Mark (Fox) has done a great job. I called him early in the year. I just though the job he's doing with his team to get them in a position to win games, which he's done, (has been) a phenomenal job. We've got our work cut out for us, but look we're a good team. Let's go do what we do. Let's go on the road. It's going to be a tough environment. Where do we want the season to go? Well fight like heck. Fight. Battle. None of the other stuff is going to work. The only thing that's going to work is you go in and want this thing badly. We can't control how Georgia's going to play. Arkansas did not play that well, and they beat us. Come on man you've got to play better than we played. It wasn't running an offense or schemes on defense, it was just 20 offensive rebounds, 19 turnovers and it wasn't against the press. It was right there when we started driving, or in the half court or that kind of stuff. We're better than that. I know the team's better than that. Now we're just going to have to go prove it on the court."