SELF on UK as a team

NEW YORK — How good could Kentucky be this year? That's a question UK?players and coaches get often, and did again here Tuesday night after the No. 2 Wildcats beat Kansas 75-65 at Madison Square Garden.

NEW YORK — How good could Kentucky be this year?

That's a question UK?players and coaches get often, and did again here Tuesday night after the No. 2 Wildcats beat Kansas 75-65 at Madison Square Garden.

"This team has to be special, but we have got to come together," said Kentucky coach John Calipari after the game.

"They are good. I don't read what you guys write about Kentucky and all those things," Self said. "He has to make sure those guys in their second game of the season are grounded. You don't trust young kids to just go out there. He will ground those guys. He will keep pushing them. They have a chance to have a special, special team without question."

Self said his team's inept offense and mistakes at times helped UK?too much in this game.

"They are good enough offensivley that they can score points. They just can't get easy ones. If they do, you cannot match their length," Self said. "If I had it to do over and I?would never do it in the second game of the season, but a team that could make them defend for 35 seconds would be a team that would take away some of the athletic plays they can make that no other teams can match."

Read that again. Self said "athletic plays they can make that no other teams can match." That's big-time praise.

Calipari didn't want to say this was the most talent he's had. He's taken three teams to the Final Four, but he had five players score between 12 and 17 points in this game and the Cats were 16-for-25 from the field in the second half. UK?also had 13 blocked shots for the second straight game.

"The message I gave them for three days going into this game is that we don't compete with each other. We push each other. We challenge each otehr. We complete each other," the UK?coach said. "We are not competing with each other. It looked like we did (compete) in the first half.

"We have a ways to go. We beat a ranked team. The slow start, I expected. Did my 7-footer (Anthony Davis) shoot a 3 to start the game? Good start."

It wasn't — and the Cats knew it.

So how would preseason All-American Terrence Jones respond to this team being better than last year's Final Four team?

"I say it is early. That was a whole different season with whole different group of guys," Jones said. "We have to learn our own way. We learned late last year. I think this year is a whole different situation with whole different players. I?just wanted to play as hard as I could to help my team win."

And despite 19 turnovers, 38.5 percent shooting in the first half and being outrebounded 39-34, Kentucky did beat Kansas with more than enough skill and athletic plays to leave one only wondering just how good this team will eventually be.


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