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Cal expects another tough road game in the SEC

Kentucky Men’s Basketball 
January 10, 2012
Pre-Auburn Media Opportunity

The University of Kentucky men's basketball team defeated the University of Tennessee on Tuesday, Feb 8, 2011. Photo by Chet White

Kentucky Men’s Basketball
January 10, 2012
Pre-Auburn Media Opportunity

UK Head Coach John Calipari

On playing on the road …
“I’m anxious to see how we respond. Another sell-out on the road, they’re going to go crazy and play well. We’re going to have to play well to have a chance. We need to get some road games under our belt to see what we need to do with our team. Last year we were 2-6 (on the road in SEC play). I also know, last year, at the end of the year we were the best team in the country. We learned along the way and this team has a lot of learning to do.”

On road games not being tougher than Indiana environment …
“It will get crazy. We go to Florida, Tennessee and have this Auburn game. That’s what it means to play here, this isn’t for everybody. If you’re hoping to walk in to a half-empty arena and slide by and go get a meal after the game then this is not your place to play basketball. Every game is someone’s Super Bowl, you have a target on your back; every road game is sold out. That’s just how it is.”

On Auburn’s game against Vanderbilt …
“They were on the road; Vanderbilt right now is a top-five team. Aside from playing off each other real well they are shooting the ball. It’s not just (John) Jenkins, now all of a sudden they make 10 or 11 3s with the way they play and you lose by 30, we’d lose by 30. If they play like they did against Auburn then they’d get us by 25 or 30. I’m not taking much from that game, I’m not zeroed in on Vanderbilt, but just watching some of the plays I have to say, ‘whoa’.”

On coaching against Tony Barbee …
“I’m playing against someone I care about. He helped me build two programs, UMass as a player and as an assistant at Memphis. I’m standing here in front of you all as the coach at Kentucky and a lot of it is because of Tony Barbee. I don’t like playing these kinds of games, but we’ll play the game and get out of there.”

On a hostile environment adding responsibility to Marquis Teague …
“He just has to understand how to take the crowd out of the game. There are times where you speed up and times where you pull back just based on the momentum of the game. That’s something that he’ll have to learn and that’s why we’ll probably do more coaching from the side than we need to, because we’re trying to help him.”

On the importance of Marquis Teague following up with another strong game …
“He’s got time. I told them let’s just worry about getting better every game and the wins will take care of themselves. If we lose a couple, we lose a couple. It’s not football. We just need to get better, I like my team, I like what we do defensively, and we’re getting better offensively. We haven’t played with six cylinders running; we’ve been on two or three. As I say that, we still have played four top-15 teams and that kind of hardens you.”

On Terrence Jones …
“I think he’ll be fine. He was good yesterday. Guys don’t want to slide back to where they were on that kind of stuff and I think he understood it. He was good yesterday; he’s shooting the ball better and is more confident. He’s going to get rebounds with two hands and is talking more.”

On the Southeastern Conference …
“I think the league is really good. The media says when one league loses on the road it’s a good loss, when our league loses on the road it’s a bad loss. It’s hard to win on the road in any league. I’ll make a prediction; other than us, four of those five top teams in our league will be Sweet 16 teams. One team took a spill because their big guy was out, another had a bad game, but at the end of the day all those teams have the ability to do something special.”

On Darius Miller’s role …
“We like him to be aggressive, come up with balls. Don’t have a 6’2 guy on you and keep ball faking, just go do the stuff we all know you are capable of doing. We’ve all seen him do it. If he plays tough and is aggressive offensive and defensively then we are really good, if he doesn’t then we’ll be fine, he just won’t play much but we’ll be fine. He’s capable of being the SEC Tournament MVP, he did it last year. His run at the end of the year is what elevated our team. He’s playing fine (this year). I don’t like fine or good, that’s our enemy. You don’t want to be good, try to be great. Do the things you are capable of doing every day in practice and every game. You have to come with the mentality that you are going to work on everything and get better. That’s not just for him, that’s for everybody.”

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