By LARRY VAUGHT
John Calipari says that Duke has “unbelievable talent, unbelievable team” as Kentucky gets set to play the Blue Devils Tuesday night in Indianapolis in the Champions Classic after Kansas and Michigan State play the first game.
“So where are we right now? I have no idea, to be honest with you. I have no idea,” Calipari said Sunday. “This will be one where hopefully a couple guys stand out. We’ve had it before in these events where certain guys just went – and you got to see them.
“We’re not – we’re still going at our pace. I didn’t change anything to try to speed stuff up because we’re playing this game. This is the pace we go and if it’s not it or they do something we’re not used to – if they start switching everything or they do some crazy zone that we’re not ready for – than we’re not ready.”
Calipari said his team is “excited” about Tuesday’s game that could be a preview of the Final Four based on the talent both teams have.
“We may be facing a team that’s better than us. OK. But over the long haul, the way this team practices, the way they get along, the grind of this, that each individual player has gotten better, I’m good,” Calipari said.
“I want this team, and we’ll throw it up and see what goes on.”
Kentucky has three sophomores — P.J. Washington, Quade Green, Nick Richards — used to big games along with Stanford transfer Reid Travis. Calipari isn’t sure it that will give his team an edge or not.
“Their experience should make them less anxious than anyone in the building. They’ve been through it. I mean, I would guess all four teams are questioning like, how good are we? How are guys going to respond in this environment?” Calipari said.
“We have a couple of guys that should not be anxious, but, you know, this has become – maybe because of where they’ve placed it – this has become a humongous event. And to play it to start this year when you’ve barely got out-of-bounds plays and all of a sudden you’re running up and down on national television.”