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March 23, 2012
Kentucky – 102
Indiana – 90
THE MODERATOR: Coach, if we can have you start with your opening thoughts, and we'll take questions for the student‑athletes.
COACH CALIPARI: It was a war, and Indiana played great, and we just happened to play a little bit better. But it was a war.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for the student‑athletes.
Q. Anthony, can you discuss the early foul trouble, particularly the first call when Cody came across the lane and you kind of bodied him and what that did to you as you were able to come back in the game in the second half, how quickly you were able to feel like you were able to play like yourself once you got back in the game.
ANTHONY DAVIS: I got in early foul trouble. By the second half, my teammate told me, you're fine. Just come out and play your game. We need you to steal, block shots, rebound, and score the ball.
So that's what I did in the second half, don't let the first half get to me and just come out with the same intensity the players came out with in the first half.
Q. Doron, you said yesterday, we were talking about the missed free throws at end, you said, if I had a chance this time, I'm going to knock them down. You guys 35 of 37 today. Maybe all you guys up there could talk about this. Those free throws were so big. Today you hit every one, 16 straight in the last four minutes.
DORAN LAMB: Today in the pregame, we all made our foul shots, so I knew today would be a great time for us making foul shots today, and we did today.
Q. Darius, with all the foul trouble early, did you feel that you had to come in and make something happen coming off the bench, just like you've done the last four or five games?
DARIUS MILLER: Not really. I just had opportunities. My teammates did a great job of finding me when I was open, and they felt like I had opportunities I could take advantage of. So they got me the ball, and I just tried to produce.
When the coach or the team call my name, I just try to come out, play aggressive, and get shots.
Q. Doron, how did your legs feel after all that running?
DORAN LAMB: My legs feel great. I think I'm in shape. I run a lot in practice, so I think I was good today.
Q. Darius, you have the most experience of anybody up there. Have you ever played a game this well? In a game that you played this well? As a team, not you individually.
DARIUS MILLER: I feel like we did a pretty good job. So did Indiana. The game was a very intense game. It was up and down for the most part. I felt like both teams did a great job of executing what they were trying to do. They did a great job on defense and offensively against us. They executed and got what they wanted. It was a fun game to be a part of the way both teams played.
Q. Question for Anthony. I was going to ask you, what do you think about Mike's play, especially his rebounding, and when you had fouls, how he picked it up with his rebounding?
ANTHONY DAVIS: Mike's a spectacular player. He brings a lot of energy, score the ball, rebound. Coach Cal told him, go out there and rebound the ball, especially offensive rebounding.
That's what he did today. He played spectacular, knocked down shots, scored when we needed him, got the and ones, went perfect on the line, 10 for 10, and he had 10 rebounds along with 24 points. So that says it all about Michael right there.
Q. Anthony, going back to the early foul trouble, you haven't had that happen very often, so how do you go out next game and completely block it out and just play like yourself again?
ANTHONY DAVIS: It's game over. Can't worry about it now. Just go out and get ready for Sunday's game. Just play the way we normally play. Can't worry about the past. This game is over, so I've got to put it in the back of my mind.
Q. Darius, what were you not doing defensively? What allowed Indiana to get to the rim so often on you guys that you haven't allowed teams to do very much?
DARIUS MILLER: That was them. They were knocking down shots. They were being really aggressive and getting to the rim. We just had trouble guarding them tonight. That was pretty much them.
I don't think we came out lacking intensity or lacking focus or anything like that. They just did a great job of executing their game plan and coming out ready to play.
Q. Doron, were there any adjustments made at halftime, or what type of adjustments were made? Because it was a pretty close battle going in. In fact, you actually fell behind a little bit. What was your thinking as you went out there in the second half?
DORAN LAMB: The second half, we just wanted to come out and play very aggressive on offense, guard the ball screen very well, connecting on it, and making it very hard for them to rebound the ball and execute our offense.
Q. You're the point guard, so you control the tempo. Was there ever a point during the game where you sort of thought, you know what, guys, we might need to slow this down. This is a little too hectic.
MARQUIS TEAGUE: No, we always want to push the ball and stay aggressive. There was a few times where it got a little haywire and made a few turnovers‑‑ I made a few turnovers myself‑‑ and slow it down. But for the most part, we want to stay in attack mode.
Q. Marquis, I just wondered did your family‑‑ were they in town to see Jeff? Did you get to meet up with Jeff and have any kind of get‑together the last day or so?
MARQUIS TEAGUE: My family's here, but I ain't got a chance to see my brother yet. Hopefully, I'll see him tomorrow or something.
Q. What was that like to know you guys were playing in the same city half a mile away from each other, same night?
MARQUIS TEAGUE: It was fun. He got a chance to come to my game. He don't get to see me play much. It was fun. We got a chance to go out and compete against a good team. So he got to see a good game.
Q. This is for Terrence. Woke you up a little bit, didn't I? Is this the kind of game that players like to just get out and go? If you guys could have it your way, would every game be 102‑90?
TERRENCE JONES: Yeah, I feel we like playing fast‑paced games just because we like being on the attack, and we like when Marquis pushes it. We're playing our best basketball just because we have so many options, and he's such a good ball handler and he controls the tempo and he just gets us in everything we need to get to.
We try to control the pace and slow it down if we don't have anything.
THE MODERATOR: Guys, thank you very much. We'll take questions for Coach now.
Q. Coach Cal, what did you think of Anthony's second half?
COACH CALIPARI: He played like he always does, came up with balls, couple blocks, made free throws, made a couple baskets. He kept driving left and was getting that body‑check and didn't‑‑ wasn't able to play through that.
But short of that‑‑ you know, I'll be honest with you. I've never really seen him play a bad game. You're out there getting blocks and rebounding and tipping balls free and and‑ones and making your free throws, he's a really good player.
Q. Cal, Tom came in here and said to you after the game, I hope you have enough to win this thing. This game took a lot out of everybody. Are you worried at all about that?
COACH CALIPARI: No. When you're playing at this time of the year, you've got more energy than you need. This team is in great shape. They've been in great shape. We got a bad rotation because Anthony got in foul trouble, but if he didn't, we'd have had guys playing about 32 minutes a game, which is about what they need to be playing, so we had to play a little bit more today.
That was a fast game. I love coaching those kinds of games. I can't stand a game in the 50s. Can't stand coaching it; can't stand watching it. There are games that are going to be like that, and we've got to be prepared to play.
What we did the last four minutes is we went to our grind it offense and let the shot clock go down. Darius took a basket, and Terrence took an NBA 3, he was thinking.
Q. John, can you talk about Michael's play? What is it that he continually has these types of games in your bigger games?
COACH CALIPARI: One of the things I was on Michael about is I want him to offensive rebound. You have no responsibility back, go get the ball. And he did that today. So those and ones were big.
And the other thing we kept telling him is attack the basket. Go to the basket, get to the rim. He's a good shooter.
Tommy did something interesting. They didn't play him. I don't know if you noticed, they didn't have a man on him. And he was on the right side facing. I just told Mark: Give it to him. Shoot it. He shot one and waited. I said: Give it to him again. Then he drove the ball and got the and one.
Sometimes they don't play Marquis Teague, and I say take good shots. Iowa State said we're not going to play him. And even this game Tommy was fouling him. He made four free throws late.
We have a skilled basketball team, I think all of them. I just want Marquis to run up and score. When you get opportunities, pick your balls, take your shots. Michael Gilchrist, you're our energy guy. Go after every offensive rebound. Fly up the court in transition. They all have those kinds of roles we want them to fill.
Q. How much do you think the practices you guys did with Anthony not on the first team maybe had a calming effect when he got in foul trouble?
COACH CALIPARI: I think it helped us, and it also helped us coaches feel comfortable we could play without him. That's part of it too.
You're over there in a panic mode, they can feel it. These kids at this time of the year are going to go where you take them. They're going to go where you take them. I'm just wanting them to have a ball playing basketball. I want them to have fun.
I don't want them to feel all this‑‑ you know, it seems like there's only one team that is not allowed to lose in this tournament, and that's us. I don't want them to feel that. That's not the case. What I want them to do is go have a ball playing, be aggressive, play to win. If that's not good enough‑‑ like, I'll be honest with you, folks. If you told me the team we're playing today, Indiana, was going to score 90 points and shoot 52 percent from the floor, I was going to have to tell you, wow, it's been a nice season. Hate to end it that way, but it's been a nice season.
And we won. We played very aggressive and did stuff down the stretch that we needed to do offensively.
Q. Coach, the team played well. They mentioned how much fun they had. You mentioned how much fun you have in coaching games like this. It looked like there were points of the game where you were particularly aggravated about the team's defense, their defensive rotations and things like that. Can you talk about that a little bit?
COACH CALIPARI: Let me tell you why. I don't know what you know about our team, but we lead the nation in field‑goal‑percentage defense all year. Normally, we're holding people to 56, 55, 59. They scored 90. They had more layups in the first half than we have had scored on us for the year.
Now, part of it was Anthony was out. The other part was we were just getting broken down. We were playing pick‑and‑roll defense so poorly that they were getting whatever they wanted.
And so I was aggravated, like: You guys have got to be kidding me. But offensively we have worked all week on we're attacking that rim. If in doubt, drive the ball. That's what we said. If you're in doubt, drive the ball. We worked on some dribble‑drive action so that we could get to that, and we did it.
But, yeah, I was somewhat frustrated. I'll be honest with you. I'm coaching them like I've coached them all year. We haven't changed.
I told them forget about this tournament. We're playing a basketball game. Now we've got another one here Sunday. Forget about this tournament. We're playing a basketball game.
I like my team, I like our players. I want them to play as well as they can play. If that's not good enough, then it's not good enough.
Q. Coach, what are the qualities of teams that get better as the stage gets bigger?
COACH CALIPARI: What I believe is that there are teams that know they can lean on each other and they have a comfort in that. This team has 27 players who scored 25 a game in high school, and they share the ball the way they do. They know they can rely on each other, and they really like each other. So there's no pressure on any one player.
And I think the great teams go into it knowing we're going to be there for each other so I can let loose. I can go play. And you don't have to worry about it because I got your back and you got my back.
At the next stage, they don't play tight. They don't play not to lose. This is a very unusual team. Any one of them could go for 30. We've had seven different players lead us in scoring this year, seven. Tonight we had six guys in double figures, if you count Anthony that only played a few minutes and had nine points.
Q. Coach, wins aren't easy to come by at this point. Is there any enjoyment‑‑ I don't know if that's the right word. Can you enjoy a basketball game like this the way the guys sitting in Section 112 can? I know you're working it, but is there enjoyment in a game like this? Take away the frustration and everything else, when the clock says 0:00?
COACH CALIPARI: You want to win the game. My enjoyment is watching my team play well. When they're really on all cylinders and everybody is doing their job, I have a ball watching my own team. My job is to get them to chase perfection. I don't know if we're ever going to reach it, but how well can we play?
Let's play against ourselves. How good can we be? You take it off the other team. We didn't worry. There's no revenge to Indiana. Tommy, I love the guy. He's a great coach. I have the greatest respect for him. I'm not going to have my team hating his team. We didn't do it. We never watched the ad, I didn't put in tapes, we didn't talk about the last game. We didn't. Let us worry about us playing well. If that's not good enough, us at our best, then someone played really good.
Now every team can do that to us. Today they had a chance to beat us in the way they played and gave themselves every opportunity. But I enjoy this. I tell these guys all the time enjoy winning. You smile and enjoy it because the other stinks.
Q. John, ever had a team shoot 35 of 37 before, free throws? Just what was that like to see the guys connect like that?
COACH CALIPARI: I've been doing this 20 years, so I don't know, but I've probably had some teams that have done this. But I've also had some teams that shoot 30 percent from the foul line. So I've had bad free‑throw‑shooting teams and had to figure that out.
Let me say this. It's a lot easier when they go up and make free throws, I'll tell you that.
Q. John, did you see a light go off in Michael when they weren't playing him in the first half? He said it really got to him and motivated him.
COACH CALIPARI: He's such a wonderful kid. You know the greatest thing, I try to tell these guys, what do you do to help us win when you're not making baskets? Tell me what you do.
He does about ten different things. We've been building him up all week to tell him, I knew he was going to be great. I told him: You're going to be great in this game. Go and get offensive rebounds. You're going to be great.
He worked his butt off all week. He spent extra time. I'm in the office at night, he's in the gym. We're winding it down, and he's stepping it up. He is just a wonderful player to coach. You know, he's just‑‑ he's one of those special, unique players.
Q. Coach Crean mentioned that you guys have like a first‑round pick coming off the bench, so everybody knows this is one of the great collections of talent that we've seen. You even mentioned that you're the only team that people don't expect to lose a game.
COACH CALIPARI: Ever. If we don't win by 25, the people of Kentucky are: What is going on?
Go ahead. I'm sorry.
Q. The ultimate goal is the championship. Does your team get any satisfaction from reaching the Elite Eight knowing what the ultimate goal is?
COACH CALIPARI: We're just talking about taking‑‑ we're not in any tournament. We're playing basketball games. We're not worried about a tournament. We've got a game coming up Sunday, we're playing basketball. We took them to the movies last night because I didn't want them to watch all the games. So they went and watched "21 Jump Street." Which I had to sit through, by the way.
And so again‑‑ look, these young people have sacrifices for each other. They deserve good stuff to happen. My job is to get them in a frame of mind where there's nothing on you. Just go play. That's what I'm trying to do. Just do your best.
Let's prepare. They've done that. They've been great at shootarounds. They've been great at practices. They've been really great at film sessions. I don't overload them with stuff from the other team. There's no scouting report on the other team. There's a four‑minute film session on the other team, no more.
There's not we're watching seven games‑‑ I do. But my team will watch five minutes of their team. They'll watch them the day of the game. That's it. I want them worried about us. Let's just have fun playing basketball. We'll tell you what you've got to do and how you're going to have to play and what this other team is going to do to you. You don't worry about it. You worry about us.
I don't know how I got to that or what your question was.
Q. John, these guys play a lot of basketball in high school before they get here. How much have you seen this team and teams in the past when you talk about basketball IQ? There's God given, there's work hard, there's innate, and I'm assuming part of your job is to make sure their basketball IQ, especially at this time of the year, is at a place where they get it in those formative film sessions, maybe easier than they would have in the beginning of the year before they got to college.
COACH CALIPARI: You know, I think, when you have it, getting the players together like this, they've got to have good hearts. They've got to‑‑ to play together like they are, they have to be smart, and they are. They have to be intelligent enough to know I can sacrifice some stuff, and I'm stepping up, and I'm even better. Taking less shots, good for my team and good for me too.
You have to have the basic basketball knowledge because of how we do it. You're right. And this team has it.
But the biggest thing, I'm just telling you, to get young players, one, they got to know you're not afraid of them. I don't care who you were; you are going to play the way we have to play to win. You're going to defend. You're going to play hard. You're going to be unselfish. This is how we need you to play. We're going to help you improve.
Everybody is like: This must be a hard team to coach. Folks, it isn't. You know what's hard? When your players are bad. That's really hard. This is not hard. They're smart. They like each other. They respect coaching. They respect authority. They're great with my family, my wife, my kids. They're young.
Michael Gilchrist is one of the youngest freshmen in the country. He's young. He's the youngest freshman on our team. So they're doing special things. I think sometimes young guys, they don't know all this is supposed to be happening. Like what? This isn't supposed to be happening?
But they're together, and it's hard. We're playing a Baylor team that's just as talented as we are now. Just as long, just as athletic, just as talented. We've got a hard game. For us to win that game, it's going to be hard. So now we've got to go back and give them what we need to without overloading them.
I don't want to overload their minds. I don't want to overload them in practices. I want them on the court to leave everything out there, and just try to play that way, and that's what we're trying to do.
Q. Can you speak for a moment about the tradition of Kentucky, tradition of Indiana. There's been a lot of games in this series like the one tonight, and the fact that both problems are obviously on good footing going forward.
COACH CALIPARI: Well, I'm truly happy for Indiana and Tom Crean. When he took that job, I told him, You are taking one of the top five jobs in our country in basketball. That's it. Indiana's it.
And he said, Cal, it's going to be hard. Yeah, it's going to be hard, but it's Indiana. It's Indiana. So you'll get it going. Walking into Kentucky, it's hard, but it's Kentucky. It's North Carolina, it's Duke, it's Kansas.
If you have one of those jobs, you have a chance to be a top five program year in and year out. What he's done there, where it came‑‑ you think about it. They lost 25 games their first year. He had a lot of people griping. Hey, you've got to build the foundation, and he did it.
Now you have a team out there with a bunch of guys‑‑ he's got a young team, and that's not a veteran team. He's got a young team.
And the only thing that's going to happen with Indiana, it's going to get better and better and better.
I'm happy where we are, and I know Tommy is happy where his program is right now.
THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you very much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports