By LARRY VAUGHT
For a team that coach John Calipari says needs improvement in a lot of areas, Kentucky has a stretch now where it plays just one game a week for the rest of this month.
Is that a good or bad thing?
“We need to figure stuff out. We need to press a little bit, so now how are we going to do it? Now I have time. We just had so many games, we just had to worry about us,” Calipari said. “We’re worried about staying in front of everybody. We’re worried about closing out with high hands. We’re worried about helping the helper and rotating and anticipating.
“Think about that. That’s all we’re doing right now. Offensively we haven’t done much because we’ve worked so much on the defensive end. Now we have time.”
So what will he work on the most?
“If we’re going to press, what does it look like? We don’t know yet. If we’re going to play some zone, what does that look like? Who are the players that can play against that zone?” Calipari said.
“Some offensive things, how do we maybe space the court wider? We’re doing one of the things you guys keep talking about, we’re rebounding so well; well, have you kind of figured out that we’re keeping guys near the rim so we can? When you space that court, the one thing you’ll usually give up is that ability to offensive rebound, and that’s important to us. ”
Kentucky has won seven straight games since losing to Duke to open the season. As he often does, Calipari insists the team is “getting better” daily.
“In the process of I’m going every day, how do I help them get better. I’m doing individual meetings, we’re doing everything I can to help them, but they are responsible for themselves, and we’ve just — we’ve got to fight to win games.,” Calipari said.
He felt his team did that against UNC Greensboro Saturday when it relied on its defense late in the game to secure the win.
“That’s what we’ve got to do for 40 (minutes). Let’s go. Fight to win. I told them again, the other team, the beginning of the game, nothing to lose. You’re fresh. You had five days to prepare. Nothing to lose. They’re going to play that way. Make them play that way for 40 minutes,” the Kentucky coach said.
“This is every team we play, guys, until the NCAA Tournament. Then everybody has something to lose. Games are different now. We’re used to playing like the other team has nothing to lose. Now we both have something to lose. So every game we play, even the games we have coming up will be the same. ”