John Calipari on basketball court

Pictured: University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari. UK takes on Georgia and LSU this week, trying to find some momentum.   

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky has 13 games remaining on its regular-season schedule, and it will take wins in the majority of those games for the Wildcats to have a shot at getting in the NCAA Tournament. 

They currently sit at 4-8 overall and 3-2 in the SEC after losing back-to-back games against Alabama and Auburn. This week, the Cats have games at Georgia on Wednesday and home against LSU on Saturday. 

There was very little talk about the game with the Bulldogs during Tuesday's pregame news conference. It was a wide-ranging discussion with head coach John Calipari and graduate transfer guard Davion Mintz about basketball, mental health and the many outside influences that have made this a very challenging season. 

It has been a balancing act for Calipari, trying things he's tried in the past while still remembering the unusual circumstances that his inexperienced team is experiencing.

"It's just a different," Calipari said. "I've had more coaches say we're all sensitive to how we approach what we do this year more than any other year, and the kids are a little more fragile across the country because of this. They're missing what being on a college campus, what being in a college program, having fans, they're missing all of that." 

"It's been a really tough season," Mintz added. "I can't lie. It's been hard. We understand that we have a job to do. We obviously can't give up. We've got a lot of people depending on us, a lot of people supporting us still. There's no reason to put our heads down now. We've just got to keep pushing through it."

"I'm tweaking everything," Calipari said. "I'm working out, running, sleeping, getting my rest. I'm in a fighting mood. I'm mad. I'm disappointed. I'm not happy in any way. But these are our guys, and I'm going to say this to all of you and to our fans: We can't trade them. This is who they are. And now I have a job to do: Keep them safe. How can I get each individual playing better? How can I make sure that I challenge without burying them, (i.e.) take their heart away? How do I do this and say, 'Guys, what is the best team within this team look like?" 

Calipari said he is still searching for the right combination of players on the floor. He found one that has been stellar defensively but not very good offensively and vice versa. And he knows answers need to come soon. 

"We've got to break through at some point," he said. "If it's not this week, this Wednesday, then it better be this weekend. Time to break through and make strides."

The Cats and Dogs (8-4, 1-4) tip it off at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Athens. 

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