Calipari, Wildcats look ahead to Indiana rematch

  • 03/19/2012 3:26 pm in

Kentucky John Calipari claims that he knew a rematch with Indiana was inevitable before the NCAA Tournament bracket was revealed.

“He [Tom Crean] and I talked, and I told him ‘you are going to be in our region,'” Calipari said Saturday following the Wildcats’ third-round win over Iowa State at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. “Has nothing to do with match-ups or story lines or any of that. I knew we would be playing him.”

As it turns out, the third-year Kentucky coach was right.

In perhaps the most anticipated Sweet 16 game, Calipari and the Wildcats will get the opportunity to avenge their 73-72 loss to Indiana in Atlanta on Friday in a South Regional semifinal in the Georgia Dome.

For Calipari, the game will be difficult for two reasons: His friendship with Crean, and the relentless approach IU’s coach takes when preparing his team.

“I cannot stand playing friends because, if they win, I’m sick after the game,” Calipari said. “And if I win, I enjoy it, but I don’t enjoy it because I know what they’re going through because I know how it is.

“Tommy, if you’re watching,” Calipari continued, addressing Crean. “I’m putting in new out of bounds plays. I’m going to put in side out of bounds and two new offenses because he will watch every tape and know everything that we’re doing except for that stuff. He won’t know that stuff.”

The buildup to Friday will likely focus on the Wildcats (34-2) attempting to get revenge for one of the top buzzer-beaters in all of college basketball this season.

Kentucky freshman Marquis Teague isn’t buying in, at least not publicly.

“We’ve had to move on past that day,” the former Pike standout said. “We had other games we had to play. So I guess we got them again. We’re just going to come out and play our hardest. We’re not really saying anything about revenge or anything like that. We’re just going to come out and play like we would any other game.”

UK senior Darius Miller, the defender whose outstretched arm couldn’t get to Christian Watford’s game-winning shot, took a similar stance.

“We were a totally different team than back then, and so are they,” Miller said. “We’re going to try to see what the outcome is. I know both teams are going to be ready to go. So it should be an exciting game.”

Indiana and Kentucky took different paths following their first meeting.

The Wildcats went on to rip off 24 straight wins and finished the regular season as undefeated champions of the Southeastern Conference.

The Hoosiers rode the confidence of the win until their conference opener, struggled through a lull that included a three-game losing streak, and rebounded by winning eight of their last ten.

Both teams are different, but both teams are better.

“Right now Indiana, we’re better than we were, but so’s Indiana,” Calipari said. “Tommy’s done an unbelievable job. Think about where that program was and what he’s got that thing going now. He’s got a great recruiting class coming in.

“So I said this beginning of the year. They’ll be a top-five program in short order. Everybody looked at me and thought I was crazy. Shoot, they may be a top-five now. They’ve got terrific players. They’ve got competitors. And as far as game preparation, you’re not going to have a better coach than Tom. He’s as good as they get.”

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  • IUeconAlum

    IU should unofficially cancel classes Thursday and Friday and bus them down to Atlanta. If they miss this game, they will regret it like no other.

  • Kenneth234

    Verdell Jones lll vs. Kentucky on Dec. 10, 2011.  8 pts, 4 reb, 3 Ass, 5 TO’s, 2 of 7 shooting from the field, 4 of 5 from the line, 0 for 1 from 3pt range; in 34 minutes.  Now from my memory at least 2 of those turnovers turned into fast break buckets for Kentucky (not prepared to watch the whole game again to see if it was 3 or 4, but I know that he had at least one that did not turn into a fast break bucket.  That was the one in which he turned his ankle and threw the ball out of bounds.  I also don’t want to count how many times he lost his man on defense but I am sure he was getting beat quite a bit as well.  Considering all of this, the team is better with him being a vocal leader on the bench then on the court.  I will give you that after his shoulder injury he was playing much better than he was early in the season, but regardless we have more minutes going to Abel who is more likely to be able to gaurd Teague. 

  • Kenneth234

    I think it is quite possible that these will be the early matchups.  But I also think it is quite possible for Watford to start on Teague, and Oladipo or Sheehey taking Jones or Gilchrist. 

    But more importantly, the bench matchups are going to be really crucial.  I think we need to see Zeller, Watford and Pritchard on the floor quite a bit.  When that happens, I think you have to move Zeller to Jones, and allow Pritchard to do his best to defend Davis.  Also, when Remy comes in to spell Hulls or Shelidipo, he will need to give Watford a break from Teague and keep him in front of him.  Elston is my big concern…he doesn’t seem to be as good defensively as he is on the offensive end.  Hopefully, UK doesn’t attack him too much.  I think Roth can only matchup with Lamb if Lamb doesn’t try to drive against him, I also hope that doesn’t happen either. 

  • Kenneth234

    I think it is quite possible that these will be the early matchups.  But I also think it is quite possible for Watford to start on Teague, and Oladipo or Sheehey taking Jones or Gilchrist. 

    But more importantly, the bench matchups are going to be really crucial.  I think we need to see Zeller, Watford and Pritchard on the floor quite a bit.  When that happens, I think you have to move Zeller to Jones, and allow Pritchard to do his best to defend Davis.  Also, when Remy comes in to spell Hulls or Shelidipo, he will need to give Watford a break from Teague and keep him in front of him.  Elston is my big concern…he doesn’t seem to be as good defensively as he is on the offensive end.  Hopefully, UK doesn’t attack him too much.  I think Roth can only matchup with Lamb if Lamb doesn’t try to drive against him, I also hope that doesn’t happen either. 

  • smartybucket

     I’m sure Kentucky had something if not a lot to do with their comeback.  And I’m sure they had chances to ice it.  And they might have had something to do with us missing those quickish shots too.  Just saying that I remember feeling like we could have won by more.  Of course, we could have lost too.   Same with VCU game, but that’s how I felt afterward.  Felt the same way about Purdue losing to Kansas, and VCU prolly feels the same way losing to us.

  • plane1972

    What about Watford on Teague? I know he has blow-by speed, but so does Keith Appling and it caused MSU fits. Then pick your poison for Will and VO between Jones and Gilchrist. I think we’re gonna have to throw the kitchen sink at them defensively.

  • plane1972

    Sorry. Kenneth234 nailed this point already.

  • plane1972

    Like the way you think, Kenneth.

  • jmfriedman

    That is also called throwing a ton of high percentage alley oops to a guy that is way taller than the high school level SEC competition.  UK basketball is one of the farthest styles from “team” basketball.  

    If the players really cared sooooo much about their “so called” team, they wouldn’t be at the NBA feeder system that is UK, and would not be so anxious to go one and done.  These kids wanna get paid- that is their reason for going there. UK’s motto should be “As long as you win, it is OK to cheat.- World wide Wes says so.” —- THAT is UK basketball.

  • plane1972

    I say Coach Cal must be the unluckiest coach ever to have had to vacate two entire seasons, including a Final Four run. I’m sure it’s all coincidental.

  • plane1972

    I say Coach Cal must be the unluckiest coach ever to have had to vacate two entire seasons, including a Final Four run. I’m sure it’s all coincidental.

  • DannerPerea

    Why not Remy instead of Hulls?

  • Petefaggen

    This is it Remy. Absolutely agree with all of your points. Why shouldn’t we win this game. I don’t want to just be happy to get here. That’s a loser’s mentality. Did I expect this? No way. But now that we are here, we need to take care of business. The Big Ten is superior to the SEC. Games we were playing against Nebraska and Penn State were much harder than theirs against Auburn and Arkansas. … And sitting in the stands on that Dec. 10 game, I remember thinking we were going to blow this team out. If THAT IU team takes the floor against Kentucky, we win. Why? IU’s offense is that good. Kentucky can’t stop it. They can’t match up with Watford. They can’t stop Oladipo driving to the rack. Zeller has improved, Sheehey, the list goes on. … Turnovers will determine this like a football game. … But I am not just happy to be here. This is a winnable game and I expect IU to shut up the critics once and for all.

  • brycekrispy09

    They should do a Tebow commerical about us.
                
              They said we couldnt compete in B10.
              They said we couldnt come back
              They said we couldnt win on the road.
              They said we would get blown out.
              They said Zeller wasnt that good.
              They said it was a fluke.
              They said we couldnt beat the 13 seed.
              They said we couldnt beat VCU.

  • HoosierFromCt

    sorry but who said Zeller wasn’t that good? And UK/PU fans don’t count…

  • HoosierFromCt

    sorry but who said Zeller wasn’t that good? And UK/PU fans don’t count…

  • oladipo0

    and i believe every true iu fan had to give it up for the boilermakers in the tourney. gotta look at the bigger pcture. Go Big10!! gotta respect them cause painters schedule s just as tough! IU baby!!

  • Tom S

     I say…

    Seriously, dude, punctuation and proper grammar could be your friend, if you’d only let them.

  • Funderburke

    Since you mentioned living among ‘them’ for 13 years….I am married to a die hard UK fan. She was very gracious on Dec. 10th (which happened to be our anniversary). She wants revenge very badly. I have been telling her that IU has no chance this week, that the Hoosiers are just lucky to be there, etc.
    But I sure hope Watford, Hulls, the Big Handsome, Will, and Co. play their very best and find a way to beat UK again.
    This season has been great. Crean has done a fabulous job. This team has been so much fun to watch, and they have really developed into a fine team.

  • Aubreyhouse

    I say….
    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck,… you know the rest.

  • jwcasey
  • Jim

    I agree, Crean’s friendship with Calipari is disturbing. If you lie down with dogs….

    Also think the pressure is mainly on KY. But that doesn’t mean our giys won’t give it their best. The meanest, most famous rivalry in IU history is back with a vengeance. Aftet all we may be the only team which can prevent KY’s (ugh!) eighth national championship.

    (At least until they forfeit it for violations in a couple of years.)

  • 888

    what do you expect their from Kentucky. Probably played for the basketball program. They have fifth grade educations. Main course foe a UK player. Ballroom Dancing., True story.

  • 888

    what do you expect their from Kentucky. Probably played for the basketball program. They have fifth grade educations. Main course foe a UK player. Ballroom Dancing., True story.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I say where there is smoke, there is fire.  I also say using punctuation and capitalization and not repeating a word three times in a row would be nice.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I posted about this earlier but I feel pretty strongly about it so I will respond here.  IU has far fewer outside expectations than Kentucky.  However, saying IU has “nothing to lose” is just wrong (in my opinion). 

    The IU players have worked just as hard as Kentucky’s and have just as much to lose as Kentucky.  They are playing for the right to keep working towards their ultimate goal of winning a title.  They are playing for the right to keep their season going.  They are playing to not let each other down.  I think that’s plenty to lose. 

    I understand that you probably mean Kentucky fans expect a title or they will consider the season a failure and IU fans are already happy with the season.  That’s fine.  But to the players and coaches, they expect to win and they have plenty to lose when they take the court on Friday night.

  • jmfriedman

    They must have gotten a little something extra in this weeks paycheck…

  • marcusgresham

    I remember one of the assists.

  • marcusgresham

    And there were tons of questions about Rose’s eligibility/the validity of the test score, yet Cal was still happy to take him.  Do you seriously think a kid from Chicago, who took the SAT and was unsuccessful, goes to Detroit to take it and mystically passes it, yet nothing untoward was associated with it?  He also surrounds himself with skeevy characters like “World Wide Wes.”

    Also, since you appear to be a Kentucky fan, let me help you out here with a  grammar/English lesson.  Any time you begin a sentence you use a capital letter.  Also, as they are proper nouns, the words “Cal, UMass, Camby, NCAA, Coach (when placed with ‘Cal’,) Memphis, Rose, and SAT,” receive capital letters.
    Notice the spelling of the word “receive,” in the previous paragraph and remember this phrase: “‘I’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’.”  You will also want to remember “committed and taken.”  
    “Roses and Memphis,” (in the “after memphis season” quote,) are possessive and therefore require apostrophes, as in “Rose’s and Memphis’.”
    There are further run-on sentences and and others that sorely need commas, but we’ll save that lesson for later.

  • marcusgresham

    You said ”
    Cal took Rose because the Ncaa gave him the ok and said he was cleared.”  
    I don’t care if he was cleared or not, I’d be suspicious of a kid having to go a couple hundred miles from his home to take a test he couldn’t pass in his home town (especially when his home town is the 3rd largest city in the country and is certain to have multiple sites at which to take the test.

    You said ”
    Wait does Indiana people even know what an Iphone is?”  In this usage “people” is a collective and therefore considered singular so it should read “do Indiana people…”

    You said “Ky fans dont storm the court when we win a big game, not even when we were on probation back in the early 90s. We expect to win games and beat #1 ranked teams. You will never see Ky basketball fans storm the court because we never have been shocked and surprised when we beat a #1 ranked team and nor will we ever be shocked and surprised. We expect beating a #1 team. Enough said. How is that grammer and punctuation for you.”  
    That probation did not do nearly the damage to the roster that Indiana’s most recent issue did, so this isn’t even a valid argument.  The second year of that probation you had a team that went 14-14, so you only suffered one losing season.  Even still, the only “big game” you won the first year of your probation was beating a 17th ranked Tennessee team.  As for not storming the court when you beat a #1 ranked team, you didn’t accomplish that feat after your probation until beating Arkansas in 1994—after you’d already been back in the tournament three consecutive years.  I’d venture to say we won’t see Indiana’s fans storm the court in two years, either. As a matter of fact, a couple of weeks after beating Kentucky there was a victory over #2 Ohio State and the playing surface was not approached by anyone other than those associated with the game.  
    You ask “how is that grammer and punctuation for you.”  I’d still say poor.  It’s “grammar”, “beating” should be “to beat,” and when you ask a question you follow it with a question mark, not a period.”

  • plane1972

    Sorry 888, but it’s “they’re” not “their” in that context. I am a grammar stickler, so I am loving this much-needed grammar and punctuation lesson being provided by gresh above. The internet is killing the English language.