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On The Road Again...UK vs. Arkansas

Reported by: Alex Risen
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Updated: 3/02/2013 12:19 am

Kentucky Men’s Basketball
Pre-Arkansas Game Quotes
Lexington, Ky.
March 1, 2013

Kentucky Coach John Calipari

On Archie Goodwin returning home to play …
“It will be tough. We talked a little bit about it. It is going to be a hard deal for him, but I think he’ll be fine. He may have a couple moments, but he’s had them without being home. Where he does some things like, ‘Oh my gosh, what did you just do?’ So I don’t think it is going to affect him. I just told him you have to keep your head focused on our team, but it’s hard. It will be a hard deal for him.”

On how Archie Goodwin is handling those moments …
“He still has a couple a game. It’s just like, ‘You just shot with three guys on you and two guys wide open. What are you thinking?’ Or ‘Why did you leave your feet, spin in the air, and shoot a left handed hook? Why did you do that?’ He’ll say ‘I don’t know’, and I’ll say, ‘ok’. He’s trying.”

On what makes Arkansas so much better at home compared to the road …
“Well you have a lot of teams, and we were there a couple years ago. It was hard for us on the road. We were young. It wasn’t that we were playing that bad, we couldn’t finish off games. I think in their case they’re a lot of that. Like if you watch a bunch of those games, they had their chances to win. Then all of a sudden, with a minute to go, somebody makes a shot and they don’t. They may be more comfortable at home. I don’t know. It happens to a lot of teams, not just them.”

On if this is a legitimate breakthrough for his team …
“They just have to keep playing each game. I know this game will be very physical, hand to hand combat. And it’s something that we haven’t played through well. And this will be the next evolution of this team. When stuff gets rough and it’s body to body, can you play? And that’s what we’ll be able to see.”

On how much different, mentally, the team is from two weeks ago …

“We won some games so they are better. You have to get hit in the mouth a little and see how guys respond. That’s why you play these kinds of games. It is a tough challenge for us going in there.”

On how tough it is for the guards to play well under that kind of pressure …

“It doesn’t matter who we play. In college basketball, guard play probably dictates where your team is going. Our guards have played better. We have played better. This will be an environment where they will be able to see what they are about.”

On if the team expects Arkansas to play a lot of full court pressure …

“Yeah, yeah. They get up in you and they will run at you and they will trap it different. They are more, I don’t want to use the term helter skelter, but there is no rhyme or reason, sometimes why they are trapping or what they are switching or what they are doing. It’s trying to speed up the game and trying to be aggressive. You have to play with instincts more. Historically, our teams have been fine at doing that. We will see, in this environment, how we do.”

On giving the guards more freedom to make plays in the offense …
“That’s true. We try to put more on their shoulders. What you don’t want is any excuses, no cop-outs. ‘What do you say now?’ You’ve got to have those guys take responsibility. The other side of it is having the team hold each other accountable, which is beginning to happen. So it’s not just what’s happening on offense, it’s what’s happening on defense and its guys holding each other accountable instead of looking for every excuse they can use on why they’re not playing well. That’s part of the growth of a team, that’s part of the maturity of a basketball team, especially a young team like ours.”

On any surprise that Julius Mays has become the “coaching guy” on offense …
“No, because he’s not afraid to miss tough shots, the game-crunch shots. He’s not afraid to miss them and that’s how you have to be able to play. And he’s made a bunch of them. He’s really helped us. And like I said our team’s playing better.  We’re now going on the road in a hostile environment and this will be the next test for us. Where are we? How far have we come?”

On continuing to process Nerlens Noel’s absence …
“I think we’re good right now because everybody’s started focusing on the guys we have - as a coach and as players. And we’re just trying to say ‘Let’s get in here and help each other.’ So I think we’re in good shape there.”

Kentucky Student-Athletes

#12, Ryan Harrow, G, So.

On the pressure going against Arkansas …

“I feel pretty good. We have been working on it in practice, trying to play each other real hard. Do other things that they would do against us at their home.”

On Arkansas home record in the SEC …

“We’ve done really well on the road besides the last two road games. We just have to keep doing what we have been doing and prepare today and be ready to play tomorrow.”

On Arkansas’ defensive pressure …

“I don’t really know much about Arkansas, I just know, and the coaches have said that they pressure the ball a lot and they get up in you. We just have to be physical and be able to play through any fouls or anything like that.”

On what makes playing in the SEC on the road difficult …

“You got the crowd behind you and you feel more confident at home. That’s what I think it is, but we have been able to win on the road except for those two games.”

On why the team has been successful on the road …

“Just preparing. Coach prepares us for what we are going to go up against and we really focus on the things that we have to do. When we get there we prepare more and we’re just ready to play.”

#34, Julius Mays, G, Sr.

On how much more confident the guards are …
“I think a lot. Everybody is playing with a lot of confidence. We all know what we are doing. Ryan (Harrow) has been leading the team, playing like how a point guard should play. Archie (Goodwin) stepped it up, he had, those last couple games, a few big second halves. I’ve been shooting the ball well, Jarrod (Polson) has been playing well. All of our guys have been playing well. Really, everybody has been playing with a lot of confidence and it’s making us come together.”

On how important it is for the guards to play well against a pressing team …
“I think we need to play really well. Obviously the ball is going to be in our hands 90 percent of the game and they’re going to get up in us and be pushing us the whole game, trying to get us to turn it over.”

On experience from road atmospheres …
“It’s always going to be a game of runs. They’re going to go on their run, we’re going to go on our run. It’s just about who will go on a run those last five minutes, who is going to make the toughness plays and that’s who usually comes out on top.”

On being more vocal on the court …
“I think we needed it. It was that time where we all start to take ownership of. It shouldn’t have to keep coming from the coaches and I feel like I’m a guy that they all trust.”

On how different the team is since the Tennessee game …
“I think we’ll come out playing with a fire. We have a lot of confidence in each other, trust in each other a lot more when you’re out there talking.”

On head coach John Calipari implementing a new offense …
“We just talked about it after the Tennessee game. He talked with us to see what we felt comfortable with. It was more him putting the ball in our hands, until he really had nothing to do with it. He told us just to go out there and play.”

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