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John Calipari: Cats have to be “strong with the ball” at South Carolina

Kentucky players celebrated when EJ Montgomery hit a 3 against South Carolina last year in UK”s win. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

John Calipari knows what kind of game Kentucky can expect Wednesday night when it plays at South Carolina.

“Very physical, deny you the ball, you’ve got to work to get free, you’ve got to be strong with the ball. They collapse on defense. If you leave your feet, they take charges,” Calipari said on his weekly radio show.

“There are a lot of teams in the NCAA Tournament that will play that way. It’s always nice to play a team that plays 40 minutes of zone, just so you know what’s coming and how you have to play when you’re playing to win (in the NCAA).”

Calipari noted South Carolina coach Frank Martin likes to play a 1-2-2 press to go with the zone defense.
“Frank has got them doing a lot of different things. They can throw it in the post, they can run some high-lows,” Calipari said.

Playing at South Carolina’s Colonial Life Arena has not always been kind to Calipari. The UK was ejected after getting slapped with two technicals in the first three minutes of UK’s 89-62 win there four years ago and got ejected in the second half in 2014 when South Carolina beat UK, which then went on to reach the national title game.

“He talked about it yesterday, how he got tossed there,” UK freshman guard Tyrese Maxey said Tuesday. “The vets say it’s going to be hard, but every road game is hard. You gotta go out there and fight as one unit and be together.”

Calipari said on his radio show to expect more “crazy” things during SEC play.

“LSU has to throw a ball in at the buzzer to beat Mississippi State. Alabama beat Mississippi State by, what, 20? Now Florida goes and loses to Missouri by 20. Not a buzzer-beater game. This stuff is crazy,” Calipari said.

“That’s why I’m only worried about my team. I saw some scores I was really stunned at, but I shouldn’t be.”

1 comment

  1. They better put the boxing gloves on for about 15 minutes prior to hitting the floor…everyone needs to bring it because it will be an ugly slug fest.

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