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March 12, 2016

John Calipari

Tyler Ulis

Jamal Murray

Isaiah Briscoe

Nashville, Tennessee

Kentucky - 93, Georgia - 80

THE MODERATOR: We'll go ahead and start with Kentucky.

COACH CALIPARI: Let me say this first. Mark Fox had an unbelievable game plan of what they were going to do to beat us. He platooned. Think about what he did. He totally changed how they were going to play because he knew it was their third game in three days. They went right after us inside. They put us in pick-and-rolls with our fives and let their guards go.

The break that we had is when J.J. hurt his ankle. That was a big break for us because we couldn't guard him. If Georgia -- like, again, they're 10-8 in our league. They're one of the semifinalists. They should be in. Vanderbilt should be in this NCAA Tournament. The team you just watched, the way they played -- now, they just won five games in a row. They won five straight games and had us beat most of the game. We had what we needed at the end to kind of win the game, but I just -- you know, they're an NCAA team.

Well, their record and this and that. They were 10-8 in our league. They're a good team. Mark, like I said, I was really -- I said to my staff, the dude's coaching his butt off today now.

Q. How nice is it to be back playing in the championship game on Sunday?
TYLER ULIS: It's very nice. Last year we were here, it was a different story, but being in this game is big for us. This is a team that we're co-champions with. So we want to come out and get the win.

COACH CALIPARI: Those two have not played in the -- they weren't here last year. These are two freshmen. So you don't have anything to say. You weren't here.

Q. How nice is it, after splitting the title in the regular season with Texas A&M, to have a chance now to go on the court one last time before the NCAA Tournament?
TYLER ULIS: Like I said, it's great. We just want to go out there and get the win.

JAMAL MURRAY: Coach, can I answer this one? No, we're just going to come out and prepared and come out confident and focused, and our team is ready to play. Playing against them before, we're going to come out fiery and hopefully on top.

ISAIAH BRISCOE: This is a team that, coming in, that we have to respect because, going down to Texas A&M, they beat us the first time. If we play the way we played today and everybody clicks as a team, I think that we can come out with the win.

Q. Isaiah, it looked like Cal was on you pretty hard early, and then you kind of responded. What exactly was that conversation at the end? And then too, what did he say?
COACH CALIPARI: Very private conversation.

ISAIAH BRISCOE: As a coach, he demands the best out of you. And that's all he did. I appreciate him for pushing me and to being somebody that obviously I didn't want to be at the time in the first half. But in the second half, he got the best out of me, and I performed.

COACH CALIPARI: Did you appreciate me at halftime?

ISAIAH BRISCOE: Now that I game is over, yes. But at the moment, no.

Q. For Tyler, could you tell a difference after J.J. kind of rolled his ankle there, before and after the injury?
TYLER ULIS: Not really. I felt like it was all the guards coming off the ball screens, getting in the lane, and I felt like we just made an adjustment. The coaches adjusted to what we did defensively, and they walled up higher, and that's what helped us out on ball screens.

Q. I don't know if any of you guys watched the Georgia game against South Carolina last night, but it was a pretty hard-fought, grueling game. Do you think fatigue played a factor with them, and you guys were able to take advantage of that?
TYLER ULIS: You know, we both played yesterday. So I felt like we both just came out there and fought. I feel like they came out in the first half, and they were really hot. It's hard for a team to stay that hot all 40 minutes. We stepped it up defensively, and fortunately, we came out with the win.

JAMAL MURRAY: You know, they tried to play fast and tried to up tempo the game, but we were able to play our speed and our pace, and it worked out for us. We were able to get the win.

ISAIAH BRISCOE: I don't think fatigue played a factor because, like Tyler said, we both had a game yesterday. They came out hot in the first half, but it's two halves of a game, and you've got to play a full game for 40 minutes.

Q. Cal, the hug for Charles, was that about Charles, or was that about Isaiah and what he wasn't giving you at that time?
COACH CALIPARI: I was happy for Charles. He's been struggling, and I'm trying to get him to understand the best version of him is unbelievable defender, sprint the court, slash for baskets, offensive rebound, rebound defensively, and fly. That's the best version of him. But it's hard because I want to do all this other stuff. I like shooting threes. I like doing -- well, let's settle in and be your best version for your teammates and let them do the things that they do well.

So, no, I was extremely happy for him. And also, though, when you have that next-man-up mentality, the bench is our best friend as coaches. And what I want to see is, all right, you're not having it today? It's okay. Either Dom or Charles will bring in or come there and give it to us. You don't have you as a big man, we've got four of you. And really, we even went to Isaac today to see if any of them will get going, and then we would have rode whoever, next man up.

That's why your job is to make sure you're prepared. And in this NCAA Tournament, the more weapons you have, the more chance -- foul trouble, bad play. It's not going to trip you up. You just go to somebody else. You play somebody different. And that's what I was happy about with this game.

Skal, I looked -- again, I only played him a few minutes, and he had some fouls and all that, but the reality of it is Skal is playing really well, and he's been a difference maker for us.

So when I meet with the team, I'm going to is say the guy that's fresh tomorrow is going to be Skal. You didn't play today. So we need you to have a big game because you're going to be fresher than anybody on the court.

Q. Do you think Georgia's a tournament team?
COACH CALIPARI: I do. I mean, what I saw today, how they played today. They've won five in a row. So when you talk about teams, how they're playing at the end of the year, it's like us. If you would have rated us a month ago, you would have said, well, where do you see these guys? Now it's kind of like uh-oh, like now all of a sudden, where do you see us? Do you want to ruin someone's season and mis-seed us, and we've got to play somebody that they look and say, why are we playing Kentucky? This is crazy.

So that's part of it. And the same with Georgia, and the same with Vanderbilt.

Vanderbilt had a tough loss against Tennessee. We lost to Tennessee. There are other teams that had tough losses in tournament play. They lost. Well, that doesn't affect them. Well, it shouldn't affect Vanderbilt. South Carolina should be in. They held out their best player for the NCAAs. They didn't want to -- probably his own welfare also, but that shouldn't affect South Carolina.

And obviously us and Texas A&M should be in. I think us and Texas A&M were fighting for a good seed. We want the highest seed we can get, the best chance to advance.

But this is one of those years I'm not sure that mis-seeding by one or two won't affect the team you mis-seed. It will affect the team they're playing maybe.

Q. Did you see anything today that causes concern for tomorrow against Texas A&M?
COACH CALIPARI: No. I love what I saw. I love the fact that they shot 60 percent in the first half and didn't miss any shots and we were hanging around. I love the fact that Isaiah shouldn't have played but about three minutes, and Charles went in and played so well and helped us. Love the fact that Skal struggled and we went with a different lineup, and we played fine.

I love how my guards played. I probably played them too many minutes, but I love how they played, and I love what Isaiah did in the second half.

How about Alex in the second half? He gave us a goose egg in the first half. He now begins to say, okay, let me get this going. Well, he's not done that throughout his career. So this was a big day for Alex.

And we played a really good team. I mean, they're a very, very -- like I said, they're an NCAA Tournament team, and they're very good. Mark had a great game plan. This is our third game in three nights. We're going to platoon. We're going to go in and out. It kind of screwed us up. We're looking like, dog gone, do I need to sub? What should I be doing here?

And then they were making every shot. They made 60 -- I mean, they were making jump hooks, fadeaways, bank threes.

When you're in this tournament -- and you guys know, I've said it over and over. I'm not a big fan of three games in three days. I don't think it does anything for your team. But if have to play tomorrow, we might as well try to win it now. But it prepares you for next weekend, and that's what I want to use these games for.

That was a great test. That was a war. We got down, and we didn't stop. We kept playing. And they didn't go away. We had to make big plays and big rebounds down the stretch to even think about beating them.

Q. Cal, considering you're talking about Georgia and Vandy getting into the tournament, does it concern you with the committee not having basically ten basketball people? It's kind of an mishmash?
COACH CALIPARI: Why, Greg, are you looking at me smiling? I've got the bully pulpit. Can I use it? I'm not going to use it.

They've got a tough job. It's tough to do this. What they have to do to pick this, and their job's at stake. Literally, their family's at stake. And what we're all counting on is what is the criteria? Stick to the criteria. What is it?

And all of you on this committee, don't tell me you all have different criteria. Have the same criteria so that we know what we're trying to do to get the best seed and all that.

I would tell you that, you know, I like to tease them and tweak them to let them know that you're no different than anybody else, and if you become petty, it proves you're not. So I tweak them, and Greg knows I do it, the committee, and give us a bad seed because I said this and this.

Reality of it is they've got tough jobs. They're all good people. I know who they are. They're good people. And I believe that, at the end of the day, there's going to be some upset people. Just how it is. There are going to be some happy people cheering and going nuts.

And then my biggest concern is my own team and our path. Now, our path, as you know, because you followed us every year, will be the hardest path of anybody in the NCAA Tournament. Sometimes they stick the Lakers in there to get that going. Somebody told me they're going to put Louisville back in the tournament in our path. That's how it is.

We get a tough path, and that's fine. It hasn't hurt us. It's been kind of exciting. Made the games good. But we will see.

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