“Kentucky is a great team and they play really well together. They’re tremendous in transition and they just keep getting better and play well together. We fouled them too much, and they got in the bonus in the second half in five minutes. It was going to be very difficult to win that game no matter how close we got it in the second half. We fouled them 31 times, and they fouled us 18 times. Those are errors. Now, they force you to do some of that because they’re so big and they attack very well. You can’t miss ten free throws and expect to make a run and put a scare into them. We challenged them in some ways, but we really never threatened them.”
“You can’t extend too much and you’ve got to make them make some jump shots. They made eight threes in the first half that I didn’t think they’d make. Eight more and that would be down to three, so if we could have them down to three in the first half and three in the second half then we would have had a fighting chance. You’ve got to build a wall, and you’ve got to show a lot of help on Bam [Adebayo]. The other thing too is how we guard the ball screen. If you go over the top, then he rolls down and he’s free to throw it up to the rim. We did a pretty good job at taking that away. That’s the beauty of their team. They take what the defense gives you, and that’s what Kentucky did.”
“For a long, long time, one of the greatest jobs in the history of college basketball is what John Calipari did at UMass. I’ve said it for a long time. I grew up in Boston and I went to Boston College. I was there and I left when I was 22 years old. I know what UMass basketball was, I know what he made it, and I know what it has been since he left. He doesn’t get nearly enough credit for that. When he went to Memphis, he was at a place, and it’s hard to believe this. I was at the big school. I was at Tennessee, and Memphis was a smaller school in a corner. They hated Tennessee, and that was the beginning of John and I having a bit of a rivalry. I’d like to think that the things he doesn’t like about me are some of the things I don’t like about him, but I had great respect for him. I always have. When you have respect for a coach like that, and I do, you have to challenge John. I want him to have to prepare to play Auburn. I want him to be pissed off that we beat them last year. They weren’t a great team and we made some shots and made some plays. It was a tough place to play and it matters if you can beat John Calipari at Kentucky. You do want to earn the respect of them here because you respect him.”
“The only way we could score was to bring their bigs underneath the basket, set ball screens, and drive it down the hill. That wasn’t very pretty, and it doesn’t require a lot of passing. It’s just T.J. Dunans or Jared Harper, guys who’s not very striving downhill in scoring space. Whether it was years ago when I coached against Ohio State and Greg Oden, or when I’ve coached against Kentucky’s bigs. We’ve always done it. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the farther I get Bam away from the basket the better fighting chance we have. He beat down a lot of balls and they’re going to see that all year long because they’re so good defensively. We thought we could turn a corner. We made some tough twos, they blocked some shots. We made nine threes and we probably should have made thirteen or fourteen. I didn’t think that once our guys got downhill kicked it out enough to compliment getting to the rim, but I thought we would get it to the rim.”
“That was the game plan. We knew they were better at twos then threes. So, we were just trying to make them shoot and they were just hitting shots.”
“I had a mismatch the whole game. They put a four-man on me, so I was just trying to go downhill.”
"We had the same game plan coming in: To just be aggressive on offense and take shots or kick the ball out."
"Coach Pearl told me to just go out, play and keep attacking. Either take the shot or get the foul on one of my teammates. They were letting me go downhill, so I was just trying to attack."