Kentucky’s John Calipari snaps back at NCAA Tournament doubters after crushing Auburn
Kentucky has regained its swagger. The Wildcats thrashed Auburn 86-54 on Saturday with 22 points and 17 rebounds. Oscar Chibwe and 19 points, nine assists and four steals from Cason Wallace.
The star duo from Kentucky had a lot of help. Antonio Reeves scored 18 of 21 points in the second half, and Jacob Toppin made the second consecutive double-double (13 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists). Kentucky (20-9 overall, 11-5 in SEC play) is well into the NCAA Tournament Predictions.
“People tried to talk us out of the NCAA Tournament,” the Kentucky coach said. John Calipari said. “They tried. They ran out. They ran out. They’re terrible. They’re like that. You play yourself or play yourself. And it really never ends when you have an auto bet tournament. So everyone in our league still has a chance.” but I just kept telling them you can’t – what they say doesn’t affect what we’re going to do. And again, I always say, my opinion or hope? They give you their opinion or hope? They seem to know what it is.”
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Here’s what the Kentucky coach said at the post-game press conference:
On whether this was the hammer game that Kentucky needed:
“Well, the return of CJ (Fredrik) gave us minutes. Now you can look and say he only played six minutes. That’s a lot of minutes for someone who plays 40 minutes. The other guy they were talking about, they said Chris W (Livingston) had foul problems and you were playing with Adu (Thiero). How well did he play? I mean, he played well. The difference for us was that we made triplets. We’re very lucky. But we do triples, we can stretch things out a bit. And we did triples today.
“We still hit the ball, we defend very well. We are getting better. The things I talked about, like what areas we can get better at this time of the year. In some areas, you will only improve by one percent.” .But confidence, individual confidence can really grow. And that is, you do it in practice, you enter the game and act. on the same page so you can take risks, you can play, you can be aggressive because your teammates are behind you.
“And they also know and believe that whatever the game plan is, everyone is locked in. Our gunfights are now 30 minutes. 30. These dudes are locked up. . They have a size. They have a defensive game. I think the size of our defenders probably bothered them a little. But they are good. I mean, this is a team that can score in groups and can help you defend. and they are good.”
When Jacob Toppin’s effort on glass clicked:
LSU. Was it an LSU game? Yes. He started. to try and take your foot off the gas and pretend to be offended. And I’m like, “Are you hurt? Do you need to go out? Your body language affects us. And he plays so well, I just say, “Why would you want to be that other guy? This guy, he’s one of the best players in the country. Oscar, do you see his confidence returning? has one or two errors. But it suits me. Because he does so many other things.”
On how close Kentucky is:
“We are on the rise. And at this time of the year, you’re trying to empower them. Now they are collecting plays in droves. Tell me I’m coming, let’s do it. Because it’s not my plate and now it’s on their plate to make it work. And I want it. It’s the same in defense. We talked about change and they said, “No, let’s keep playing.” here. OK. Went.
“So you want them to be empowered. You want them to be confident. But it is equally important that you want them to play ball. Especially at this time of the year. Because you don’t want it to end. Refusal to lose. This does not mean that you win every game. It reflects your attitude towards how you play. run away from you. But you just keep going. And these guys are embodying that right now.”
ON prevents Auburn from returning to the game:
“We showed them the tape. We watched. We said, “Why is that? Why is this?” So, I have a very smart team. Smart team. And they understand it. But you must be sure. Do you know what you should do? Free throws. dagger. Do you know what to get? A hard rebound, forward throw and three. This is a dagger. And we kept running today. I mean, we didn’t stop. We wanted this game to be fast. how we play. Offensively, you know, I can’t imagine that we’re not in the top ten in the country on offense, the way we play. And they understand it.”
Antonio Reeves ON Defense Upgrade:
“It was Florida. What happened in the game in Florida? How was he played? For downtime. Do you know what he didn’t do against Florida the second time around? He didn’t get to beat the back door. And he looked at me, and I looked at him, and we both just smiled. Like, they tried. And that’s what I’m talking about, confidence in defense.
“You think I’m talking about just throwing the ball and just letting it go. No. I’m talking about confidence in rebounding the ball. Confidence in protection. Confidence flying up the floor, even if you don’t think you’re going to get the ball. that you are sure that if you are open, you will receive it. you never jog. sure that you are a playmaker and you are not going to charge or throw it away. , today we did not have many losses in the open area. They realize better than any team in the country, if you turn over, live ball loss. So we are getting better. A couple more. Yes?”
On the mood in the locker room compared to losing to South Carolina and Georgia:
“You know, when you coach, there are two things: first, you have to hold them accountable. For example, you should – no. You say no. because you also have to create them. But if you just agree, yes, you’re fine. Just keep going, yeah you know. Vanderbilt, so you have to hold them accountable, challenge them. Make them think in terms of improvement. And that’s all — all we’ve been talking about is winning today. Win today’s practice. We gave out rewards for every workout. We just stayed in the moment. They just told me — I didn’t even — I know we’re playing Vanderbilt because they just told me what’s next. I don’t know who we’ll play next. Now I know Vandy. That’s all I know and that’s what I’m focused on. So I’m trying to get these guys to stay in the moment. Then another thing, you know what everyone is saying. You don’t have to read it, look at it.”
On improving rebounding in Kentucky offense:
“These are corners, this is jamming. How about this: we are things that are evaluated in every game. First, sprints. You get grades. A, B, C, D or F. repeated sprint. We also evaluate offensive and defensive rebound attempts. Attack rebound attempts. Who do you think is the best on our team? Oscar. Who is second on our team? Chris. Wow. Because he’s trying so hard, he’s a rebounding chance. We also evaluate the defense of the weak side. So when the game ends, they are scored for every possession.
“Again, to hold them accountable. They really listen and follow the game plans. We don’t break. Especially in defense, where for a while it was terrible. We’re just getting better. I’m happy for these guys. And you know what else, I’m so happy for our fans. What we promote and promote. And I mean the building was packed. Do you think it affects the game? influence on the game. And so now we’re going to Florida, what do you think they scream at the end of the game? Go Big Blue. Louder than their fans. And these are our fans on the road. And I. ..