UK notes and quotes: Tennessee and SEC Tournament



Three topics of conversation in the media session and video with John Calipari and select players:

1. Scoreboard-watching the Georgia and Vanderbilt games

The scenario for getting a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament has been established: win at Tennessee, and have either Vanderbilt or Georgia lose. The second part of that equation will be determined by Saturday, meaning UK will take the court knowing its potential fate. Will UK be watching the games (or at least the scores) on Saturday?

Darius Miller: “I’m pretty sure a few of us will be looking at it, but I don’t think we’re going to make a big deal out of it. We’re just trying to take care of the games we can control.”

Brandon Knight: “Not really. Whatever happens, happens. Just focus on our game and what we have to do.”

Terrence Jones: “I’m going to watch them. Hopefully it works out for us.”

If UK does get the bye, it would save from having to play (potentially) four games in four days. Considering the short rotation has logged lots of minutes this year, that would be as beneficial as anything.

“That would definitely be nice to have (the bye),” Miller said. “Four games in four days would be tough. We’re trying to get it.”

Knight, who said he receives regular treatment that includes a cold tub to maintain his body, said it would mostly help save their legs. But if they get it, the workload would be something UK would have to work through.

“It might be (tough), but if you’re put in that situation there’s nothing you can do,” Knight said. “You can’t make excuses about it. Just got to go out and play through it, even if you’re tired.”

2. UK will (obviously) be looking to win at Tennessee no matter what

It’s Senior Night for the Volunteers. Allan Houston’s jersey will be retired. And the 2 seed might even be in play for the Volunteers as well, depending on if Georgia and Vanderbilt both lose.

UK has yet to have a defining road win this year. It has one last chance to do it.

“(We want to) prove to ourselves we can do it,” Knight said.

The road is still a mental roadblock for UK. Heading into postseason play, a win could be confidence-inducing.

“We just have a whole different mindset because we’re playing on the road, the troubles we’ve had on the road,” Jones said. “I think it’s just about the confidence.”

Tennessee is led by Scotty Hopson, who Calipari called “maybe the best talent in our league.”

“He can score, he can take over a game, create his own shot without help,” Calipari said. “Those are the guys that are dangerous.”

3. Talking Tournaments

Calipari has always maintained getting as high a seed as possible is the main goal for UK. Right now, they’re projected anywhere from 3-5, depending on how things go in the last stretch of conference play.

“Important game for our seed,” Calipari said of Tennessee. “The higher your seed is in that tournament, the better chance you have at advancing.”

Calipari said UK, because of its RPI and strength of schedule, is going to be one of those teams opponents don’t want in their bracket.

“We have a hell of a shooting team now,” Calipari said. “Scary.”

Helping the seed even means rooting for past opponents to do well — including Louisville.

“When you go to Louisville and spank them, you want them to win every game,” Calipari said. “Because now you’re strength of schedule (goes up).”


Calipari, part 1:

Calipari, part 2: