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SEC has prepared Cats for different teams all playing with an “edge”

Reid Travis (Jeff Houchin Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

It’s hard for any team to know exactly what to expect from NCAA Tournament play because there are so many teams with different styles of play and coaches also never know who will win to advance so that can make for short preparation time.

Kentucky coach John Calipari says Southeastern Conference play has prepared UK for whatever it might face going forward.

“The hard games that we had, especially at the end of the year, I think has prepared my team. The great thing that’s happened in our league right now, everybody is playing kind of different. It’s not like everybody plays the same way,” Calipari said on the SEC coaches teleconference Monday.

“Whether you get a zone team, a 1-3-1 team, 2-3 team, a team that plays man, a team that grabs and holds and plays physical, a team that shoots 3’s, a team that’s trying – I mean you face it all in our league.

“I think it’s going to help all of our teams going forward. I mean, so many games were decided in the last minute. There wasn’t a whole lot of separation from one to nine. I mean, literally, there wasn’t.”

Kentucky starts play against Abilene Christian, a No. 15 seed and 21-point underdog, Thursday in Jacksonville. Next up would be either Seton Hall or Wofford on Saturday if the Cats win as expected.

“Everybody’s going to have an edge. Everybody’s playing for their life and survival. Can a team go back to their training? You can’t play up to the tournament. You know why? Because you can do that in 15 minutes. You can’t play up to the opponent because you can do that for 15 minutes. You have to play to your training, you play to your conditioning,” Calipari said.

“And that you can do for 40 minutes and if you can play for 40 minutes, you’ll have a chance to win every game you play. You may not win them all because there’s so many other factors that are involved in it, but you put yourself in the best position to win if you can play if your team can play 40 the way they are capable of playing it.”

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