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December 31, 2011

John Calipari

Kentucky – 69
Louisville – 62

THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Coach Calipari.

Q.  We talked about Michael and grit.  How much was this game well‑suited for that kind of player?
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah, he wasn't bothered as much as some of the other players by the physical play.  He almost relished it and just went after it, and that's why he played the way he did.
I just wish Anthony Davis hadn't gotten that second foul in that first half because I would have liked to see him play more.  He was too valuable to the team to go back to him.
Michael, those two just stepped on the gas.

Q.  Did you expect this to be a game with so many fouls called?
COACH CALIPARI:  Oh, yeah.  I would hope they would be called.  We were both fouling and trying to protect each other, I guess.  But yeah.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH CALIPARI:  I didn't really hear that.  I heard 'Terrence'.
Terrence took strides to come back.  He was one‑for‑nine and missed seven one‑foot shots.  What he needed to do was try to dunk each one of those.  And he's just not all the way back yet.  Try to dunk every one of them.  Why are you doing that?  Just go up and dunk that.  He's not there yet.
I think within the next week and a half, he'll be fine.  He went in there, got 11 rebounds.  He made strides there.  He battled and Murray did what we needed him to do.  He's not all the way back, but that's okay.
Doron and he didn't play particularly well.  Doron didn't play particularly well at all.  Terrence offensively didn't play particularly well.  We still win.  Figure that.

Q.  You've been talking about your guys' toughness.  What did they show you today?
COACH CALIPARI:  It was a grittiness.  Of all the foul trouble in the first half, the foul trouble really throughout the game and playing guys, I even went with Twany, who I barely played, I thought Kyle Wiltjer was not afraid to play, went out there and did some good stuff.
With bad lineups, no point guard, we figured out how to win.  They are a top‑five team.  They're a top‑five team.  We had lineups we've never even put on the floor in practice together and we're trying to make it.
They make the game when they start playing that zone.  I thought they'd play some man.  But when they started to play zone, the way we were playing offensively, I would have pressed us like he did, try to get layups, hope that we were missing shots.
Again, you have to understand I love this.  You shoot 29% from the floor and you win.  Let me make that statement again.  You shoot 29% from the floor and you win.  That's a good day.

Q.  How big was Anthony in terms of guarding the basket?  Louisville seemed to be driving to the basket.
COACH CALIPARI:  I told them at halftime that.  I said, Look, they're getting layups right now because he's not in the game.  When I put him back in at the start of the second half, you'll see what he does for you guys.  I think he got three or four blocks right away.

Q.  A little bit on Michael.  Do you think maybe the Breakfast Club, the leadership thing, all that stuff, he was the leader there today?
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah.  We had one guy that stopped about a week and a half ago and it showed today how he played.  The guys that continue to do those extra things, the extra work, it's amazing.  You get what you deserve in life and basketball.  You do.
You want to spend the extra time, do more, get out and do extra things, it's going to start showing.  Where it affects most is your own head.  You know you deserve to play well.  Something is going to happen good for you.  Those guys do that.
So, you know, he was vicious today.  He was vicious.

Q.  (No microphone.)
COACH CALIPARI:  I thought we could have had more (laughter).
You wonder why we're shooting free throws better.  For every free throw we miss, we have to have a 33‑second run.  So that's nine 33‑second runs they're going to have to get in before our next game.  So I'm just challenging them that way.  So they'll come in and practice because they don't want to run.
But Anthony Davis, it was great to see him.  If you were him, wouldn't you ball fake, step through, ball fake, just get fouled?  Why even shoot the ball?  Get fouled.  It was good to see him make his.
Michael missed a bunch, which he normally doesn't do.  He missed five of them.  I may cut a couple of those out because he played so hard.

Q.  Cal, you said not everybody handled it as well as Michael.  You've harped so much on the toughness aspect of your team.  Was today helpful in that?
COACH CALIPARI:  It was good to play a game.  Two reasons.  One, they were going to press us.  What happened is, Marquis is getting better, but he's still not my point guard yet.  What I'm saying, there were things we were supposed to do that he just chose not to do in this game.  In most cases he lost the ball or turned it over, looked around.
Again, it was more about the execution of how we play.  But you got to give Louisville credit.  They didn't go away.  They weren't intimidated by Rupp Arena.  Those guys, they got good players.  I think that the foul trouble affected them, too.  I think, again, they're deserving of their ranking.

Q.  John, when you see 29% and you win, what does that tell you about what went right?
COACH CALIPARI:  You rebounded and defended pretty good.  They only shot 32% and 22% from the three.  So that means you defended and you rebounded.  You love winning games like that because there are going to be games that that happens.  You're just not going to shoot the ball well.  Teams are going to muck it up.  They're going to triangle‑and‑two, box‑and‑one, something you haven't seen, and all of a sudden you look confused, can't make a shot.  You defend and rebound and you win anyway, and that's what we want to do.

Q.  In the last 10 seconds, Louisville made two shots, forced a turnover on the press.  What did you think about the effort that they expended against you guys?
COACH CALIPARI:  No, they were good.  But we expected it.  I mean, I knew they'd come in here and play.  They did.  I mean, they battled.  That's how they play.  They don't stop till the whistle goes.
Instead of us being up 12 or 13, whatever it was, if it was a 6‑point game, we may have lost that game.  That's what I tried to explain to my team after.  And there was no reason for it.  It was us.
Now you gave them a chance to do this, and they did what a good team does:  they made their shots.  If it was a 6‑point game, we just went overtime.

Q.  John, was it something Louisville did to Darius to force eight turnovers or was it just Darius?
COACH CALIPARI:  I'm going to be honest with you, I thought Darius was okay.  He lost three or four balls because they kind of got after him.  But he does that every game.
What I thought he did was physically he wasn't afraid to go in there and bump.  I love the offensive rebound where the kid blocked the shot.  I want him to play that way.  I didn't think Darius played that poorly.  I thought he played okay.  The numbers don't look right.
But, you know, he's the kid in a game like this that is going to have eight turnovers.  They're going to come up in him.  That's going to happen.

Q.  You said at halftime you told the team they would find out what Anthony does for them in the second half.  What did you see?
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, what they did was they kept driving the ball for layups.  When you look at halftime, they either had free throws or layups.  They had one three in the corner where we left the corner, Michael Gilchrist, which we talk all the time, don't leave it.  He left it, the kid made it.  Other than that, they shot all layups.  Now, they were from our turnovers or from a pick‑and‑roll where they went at Kyle or Eloy.  But it was because he wasn't in there.
Second half, they were doing the same thing and he blocked all those.  He had four blocks to start the second half on plays they made against us without him in the game.

Q.  Comment on the defense on Kuric.
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah, he's really good.  I mean, he's a kid that makes shots.  You got to play him.  We just said, Don't help off of him.  Make sure if we have to switch off, we'll go from there.

Q.  Can you ever recall in your career having a team to shoot under 30% and make more than 20 turnovers yet beat a top‑10 team?
COACH CALIPARI:  I was at UMass, we played Maryland.  I think we shot 29%.  I don't think we had 20 turnovers, but we shot 29%.  We played in Baltimore and won the game.  I can remember.  It stands out because it was a game I walked off and said, How in the world did we win this game?
Gary plays that press, the funky zone.  They shot like 26%.  It was a pretty game, one you would have enjoyed.  Very memorable.

Q.  In a game with this many fouls, what do you say to your guys as far as maintaining aggressiveness versus not fouling out?
COACH CALIPARI:  Well, we fouled because they were dumb fouls.  Doron grabbed a guy's arm for a fourth foul.  You know why?  Because he didn't aggressively come back to meet the pass.  He's in the slow motor moving, moves away from the ball.  He grabbed him.
Marquis Teague, we're forcing him to the right.  The kid went left, he fouled on him.  Why would you do that?  That's not how we're playing.  We just did a lot of that kind of stuff.
The turnovers were, again, the spacing and what we were trying to do to get them to where they were trying to go, then the aggressive play, body grind, we just didn't do it very well.

Q.  John, you started Michael out on Chris Smith, then when they brought Russ in.
COACH CALIPARI:  I was going to put him on Siva, but I imagine they prepared all week for that.  Kind of like the Indiana game, 5.6 seconds, two fouls to give, I was going to trick them again.  So we said, You know what, let him guard the other Smith.  The other Smith is the one that really has stepped up his game.  Siva is still very good, but I thought Marquis could play Siva and bother him a little bit.  I thought with Anthony Davis in there, you know, he's not going to get as many layups.
I did it right before game time.  But we were going to put him on Siva to say, Let's take him out of the game like we did a year ago.  But something in me said, We're not doing that.

Q.  You were talking about the other Smith.  Talk about what Russ Smith does, what he creates.  Obviously Anthony got a couple of his shots, but he was still getting to the basket.
COACH CALIPARI:  Yeah, he got to the rim.  He's quick.  He's active.  You know, he was making tough layups.  He battled.  He was good.  I mean, last game we gave a guy 20, this game we gave a guy 30.  If we didn't turn it over so much, it wouldn't have mattered much.
But, again, most of it was in pick‑and‑rolls where he turned a corner.  He made some tough shots, though.  Transition, he's flying.  He's athletic, he's tough.  Not afraid to be in there.  He's a kid that wants to score.  A kid like that, that has that kind of ability, will come in a game like that and say, I'm not afraid, I'm going to score points.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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