CRAWFORD | Kentucky's Calipari on close wins: 'Enough is enough' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Kentucky's Calipari on close wins: 'Enough is enough'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — After back-to-back (unexpected) overtime wins to start Southeastern Conference play, University of Kentucky coach John Calipari had a message for his team on Monday.

“Enough is enough,” Calipari told reporters during the weekly SEC coaches' teleconference. “We had enough of these games now. Let's get some games that are a little bit easier for us. But I don't think we'll have many. I think every game we play is someone's Super Bowl. They're going to play out of their minds.”

There may be something to that. Yes, everybody wants to play their best against the No. 1-ranked team in the country. And in the SEC, beating Kentucky in basketball is a big deal, always has been.

But teams don't get up for Kentucky any more than for Duke or North Carolina or other top programs.

The fact is, UK needed double-overtime to beat a Texas A&M team without its leading scorer, and Calipari knows, just looking at the talent on the court, something isn't right.

That's why he held a team meeting with his Wildcats today to take a second look at their first two league games.

“Have we lost our edge?” Calipari said he would ask his team. “Have we lost our swagger? Have we lost a little bit of our focus? And then if we have, what was it? What was our swag about? What was our focus about? What was our, you know, edge? What gave us an edge? Then the question becomes how do we get it back. If we lost it, what were reasons we could've lost it. It's not like we're losing. We're still winning tough games and we're fighting like crazy, it's just that we're not exactly where we were, and that's all good because I don't want us to be like it's March right now. It's too early to be like it's March, it isn't.”

One problem, perhaps, is that the team spent most of its “Camp Cal” session with nine days off working on offensive sets. It appears to have thrown the Wildcats' defense out of whack.

If Calipari is asking what made his team special, defense has to be answer No. 1. And the defense hasn't been the same — especially at the rim — against Ole Miss or Texas A&M.

The Wildcats are still the No. 1 defensive team in the country, by a pretty good margin, but they haven't contained as well defensively in the past two games, and haven't had the kind of consistent shot blocking around the basket as they had earlier in the season.

Nor are they the only team in the country hashing things out during the second week of January. Duke lost big at N.C. State last weekend. Wisconsin lost to Rutgers. Arizona fell at Oregon State.

Calipari says he just wants to take a second look at the focus of his players.

“One of the things we talked about is are individuals feeling something they shouldn't be feeling,” he said. “So we've got a lot of things working. It's crazy, every team in the country has issues right now. Every team. Every team's working through something. All I'll tell you is I'm happy I'm coaching this team. I believe I have the best team in the country with the best players. So we have some things to figure out, we'll do it together.”

Two things are in Calipari's favor: Talent and time. And he has plenty of both of them.

“I've said all along that you don't want to go through a season where you're never in a close game because you don't learn about your team,” Calipari said. “You need to be down 10 or 12 and see how they respond. And you need to be in overtime games where they've got to really lock down and be efficient offensively and make free throws and create good shots.”

The Wildcats now have had two overtime tests. Calipari is hoping to see a positive response when they face Missouri in Rupp Arena at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

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