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February 15, 2011

John Calipari



Q. (No microphone.)
COACH CALIPARI: I only did it because the beginning of the game was so ugly, so passive. That team meeting really didn't do what it was supposed to, I guess.
I mean, we just had no fire, no fight. I said, You know what, we're pressing man-to-man. If you choose to go back, I'm subbing you. I did it so you can sub guys out. If you don't want to get up there and battle, then I'm taking you out. That's what I did.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH CALIPARI: Yeah, they played well in the second half.
Again, at the end of the day you're looking at Mississippi State, they shot 55% from the three. They played well. I mean, Sidney played well. They played well.
I'm just telling you either we're helping teams play well or they just know they're playing us, we're coming after them. Guys are playing. They played good against us. I thought they played well.

Q. I think the last five games opponents are over 50% from three. Are they throwing in shots? Are you not defending?
COACH CALIPARI: I don't know. Maybe we'll play zone, they'll shoot 70% from the three.
We're seeming to be hanging on them. We're breaking down a little bit. We're coming out of some pick-and-rolls. We're leaving shooters at times. We're going under on handoffs where we needed to be over on Johnson.
Again, if teams are trying to beat us shooting threes, I really believe a lot of that is fool's gold and we're usually a pretty good defensive team against the three.

Q. What happened at the half? Was he barking at you?
COACH CALIPARI: We were laughing at half. I gave a signal. They didn't know what it was. That's when I stood up, went like this. You didn't see that at the start of the half?
He wasn't saying anything to me. I want you to understand I told Brandon to shoot the ball, they're going to foul you. I told him to shoot it. He didn't shoot the first one. I looked at him and said, Do you understand what I'm telling you to do? They are going to foul you. Shoot the ball.
They almost didn't call it. But I was telling him to shoot the ball. So it was a good call 'cause they were going to foul, so just shoot it. So what it's at halfcourt, that means you get three shots.
He didn't shoot the first one. I looked. We're doing some of that. At the end of this game, we miss free throws. If we make those, it still is what it is. The air ball shot, two turnovers, what are we doing?
Let me tell you why they did it. My thing with this team, forget about the score, let's execute. Don't look at the score. I'll look at the score. You just play and execute. So obviously they weren't looking at the score. They just were shooting balls, trying to make plays. So they're listening to me anyway.

Q. Talk about Harrellson's defensive plays on Sidney.
COACH CALIPARI: I thought the beginning of the game, I don't know where he was. DeAndre, I don't know where he was the whole game. That's why I say, you know, I didn't think Brandon did a good job of running the team the first half. In the second half he did a good job of running the team. Josh played better defensively. Doron played the way he's capable of playing. Darius, being injured like he is, I thought he did a good job. Some of the shots he made were big.
How we were down 1 at half, I have no idea. We should have been down 15 at half. Really, we should have been down 15. All I was trying to do is make sure we have a chance to win this game. Let's just make it close.
Second half we came out and played.
But it's dangerous. This is the thing about coming home and playing. I told them this. You come home, you think we're going to win because we win at home? Oh, yeah? The other team is not just laying down. They're coming after you. If you play soft, you build their muscles. That's what we did.
They shot like 67% in the first half. I mean, it was ridiculous.

Q. This may be along those lines, but you called a timeout inside the first minute of the game.
COACH CALIPARI: I could see. I mean, did anybody else see what I saw? Jogging up, walking up, getting beat the first play. Shooting all threes. Why are we shooting threes? They can't guard us out of bounds. You know why? You're going to get bumped. I'm going to shoot a three. It's easier.
We start the game shooting threes. We're down 5-0 within the blink of an eye. Didn't get any better for a while, to be honest with you.
Let me say this, what I told them. I'm happy we won. You win and you march on. This league is a strong league. All this stuff about this league, that league, the other leagues. Let me explain to you, our league is as strong as any of them. Florida, Vandy, Tennessee, us. That team is a talented team. They're going to get it together. They're a talented team. They're trying to figure out each other.
You talk about Georgia, okay? All of a sudden I'm telling you there are six teams that will be in the NCAA tournament. You know what, I'll put what happens in the NCAA tournament with our league against just about anybody else's. Some of these guys, because of the media hype, might get nine teams in. But the reality of it is this is a strong league. Every game is a war. Every game we'll play will be a war.

Q. I guess Darius is okay. Was there any point today when you didn't think he was going to play?
COACH CALIPARI: He didn't practice yesterday. You know, I just decided not to start him because of that. We weren't going to practice him. You know, maybe it helped him. Maybe it takes the edge off. Maybe it's a little bit easier for him.
But, again, down the stretch, it just bothers me. We had four timeouts. That's why I like to have timeouts in my pocket so you can finish off games. Well, timeout on the baseline out, just call it, don't throw it away. We got four. He was open. You threw the ball away.
There was another play where we had Doron and Terrence Jones both open. Throw it to Doron. Threw it to Terrence who almost shot an air ball from the foul line. He made one of two. But that's that kind of play.
We come up and we don't space the court right. There were things down the stretch, we give them two open threes. The game got hairy. We had a chance to lose the game.
The greatest thing our coaches said, We'll watch the tape, we'll learn again. We showed the last five minutes of Vandy. I'm going to show the last three minutes of this. You were up 15, 18, just win the game by 20. Why would you let it be this way? Be strong with the ball. Everybody execute. Let's do what we're supposed to do.

Q. When you did get up by 10, your biggest lead there, you did it without DeAndre in the game. Talk about how that happened.
COACH CALIPARI: He wasn't there today. Wasn't there defensively. Offensively he wasn't making the plays we needed to have him make. Whether it's he or Doron or Darius, it's not your day, somebody else is going to play. They've got to be responsible to each other. It wasn't one of his better games.
You look at him against Tennessee. You say, Wow. But now that's what we want him to strive for. You're that good. Decision making. You know, I'm not just jacking up balls here, I'm going to make good decisions, I'm going to play great defense.
But he's fine. I mean, we've had every guy here have some off nights. This was DeAndre's off night. That's fine. He'll be back next game. He's going to guard that little guy and hopefully guard him pretty good.

Q. You emphasized the closing situations.
COACH CALIPARI: I liked what we did. I liked when we drew the foul. I liked what we did in the circle action where Brandon went baseline and gets the three that basically ended the game those two plays.
Now, throwing it in and doing some of those things, again, who is it? What are we doing? How are we doing it? Messing around with the ball, all those things. But when you talk about execution, it's defensive execution. It's offense. It's both.
You guys look at turnovers. They missed a free throw. No. It's both of them. Defensively, again, we didn't rebound. There were about three rebounds at the end of that game, if we rebound that ball, it ended up being a 15-point game, 18-point game. But we didn't. One was a tipped dunk over our backs, no one blocked the guy out. A couple others, they took it out on the baseline.

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