By LARRY VAUGHT
The dribble-drive offense — when Kentucky really has run it — gets a lot of notoriety for coach John Calipari. However, what he’s always counted on from his teams is a strong defensive presence.
That has been lacking often this season, but Saturday against Utah the Cats got 34 points off 18 Utah turnovers.
Calipari said his team had “active hands” on defense, something that had been missing.
“We were collapsing on drives. We were anticipating better. You know, the whole thing defensively, if you want to be — you’ve got to be able to stop the drive so that you don’t have to scramble all over the place and get full rotations, which usually gets you beat,” Calipari said. “And the second thing is, you’ve got to be an anticipating kind of team where just like a pass coming to you, you’re looking like who is open. Before you catch it, you know what’s going on.”
Wait? What does that have to do with defense to anticipate passes on offense? Let Calipari explain. “Defensively is no different. You’re on the weak side; where is he trying to pass that ball, and I’m moving in that direction. We’ve got some guys doing it pretty well,” Calipari said after the game.
“I was happy with Immanuel Quickley today. Immanuel’s got to make some shots, and he did today. And Ashton (Hagans) did what he was supposed to, got in that lane, got seven assists. We’re kind of defining the roles a little bit better.”