Kentucky’s improvement impresses Davidson

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Davidson coach Bob McKillop and his players shared some thoughts on Kentucky today during a press conference in Boise, Idaha, today. The teams play Thursday night in the NCAA Tournament South Region.

Q. As you were preparing for Kentucky and watching film and probably the first thing that pops out is their length and athleticism. How do you slow down a team like that?
COACH BOB McKILLOP: What impressed me most is how much they’ve improved throughout the season. We’ve watched tape early and we’ve watched tape midseason. We watched tape late. We watched tape conference tournament. And they just seem to be getting better and better. And that’s a statement of the outstanding job that John has done. John has brought a group of young men in there and molded them into a team.

That’s not easy. Everyone thinks it’s, if I had those kind of players I’d have a great team. It’s not easy. And that’s why he has done such a marvelous job as a coach and that’s why he’s a hall of famer, because he’s taken young men and put them together as a team, even though they were the stars. And I think he has a host of high school all-Americans, and yet now he has to mold that talent into a team.

So hats off to John for accomplishing that, not just this year, but that’s been a tradition that John has had wherever he has been.

Q. Someone asked Coach Calipari to size up what a threat Davidson is. And his quote was to the effect of: They’re going to take 35 threes, and they make 20 of them I’ll tell my kids, Well, it’s been a terrific season. To what extent is the three an equalizer in this situation?
PEYTON ALDRIDGE: Well, they definitely spread the floor at all five positions, with everybody being able to knock down the three. And we definitely try to get inside out to get some easy ones to fall early. If we can knock down some 3s, we’re tough to beat.

Q. In Kentucky you had this big name school with a bunch of players on their way to the NBA. How important is it for you guys to show that you can play with them?
RUSTY REIGEL: I think it’s extremely important. I think we all feel that we absolutely can play with a team like that. We feel like we’ve been playing against teams similar to that caliber throughout the year in UVA and with Carolina. Players that are very talented. We’re going to come out tomorrow and prove ourselves, not that we haven’t done that throughout this year.

Q. As you guys were studying film for Kentucky, was there anything that surprised you about Kentucky when you were studying them?
PEYTON ALDRIDGE: Well, we knew they were a very athletic, very long team and that they really crashed the offensive glass and got out in transition and ran. They are able to spread you out, as well, with different lineups they can spread the floor and knock down open 3s. It will be a challenge to guard inside and out if they’re knocking down 3s from the outside.

KELLAN GRADY: I was a little bit surprised. They do a lot of baseline down-screen action. Thinking of Calipari and Kentucky, I thought dribble handoffs and ball screens and downhill motion. They run a lot of stuff for Kevin Knox and some of the perimeter guys coming off the baseline. So I was a little bit surprised by that, watching film on them.

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