Wildcats discuss matchup with Cards

The day before the latest installment in the Kentucky-Louisville basketball rivalry, the teams met with the media in Indianapolis to discuss their Sweet 16 matchup.

The day before the latest installment in the Kentucky-Louisville basketball rivalry, the teams met with the media in Indianapolis to discuss their Sweet 16 matchup.

Here's what the Wildcats had to say:

Q. What's the difference between the team that obviously you guys had some ups and downs and the team that we're seeing right now and the way you guys have come together?

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Julius Randle: We just have committed to each other on both ends of the floor. Our chemistry is a lot better. And we've listened to Coach. He's made our roles really simple and just listened to him and it's kind of working out for us.

Andrew Harrison: Like he said, we're playing as a team, having a lot more fun. We're enjoying just being on the court with each other now.

Q. Julius, in the first game I think you were 7-for-8, had 17 points, the second half you only played four minutes because of the cramps. Were you just on that game, a mismatch problem you took advantage of; and secondly, is the cramping thing behind you?

JULIUS RANDLE: I don't know if it was a mismatch or anything. I was just kind of feeling it. Just my teammates did a good job of getting me the ball at spots where I can attack. And I was just aggressive, and as far as the cramping thing, I hope that's behind me. I mean, I haven't cramped in a little while. Knock on wood. But just eating better. More fluids, more rest. I haven't cramped up.

Q. For any of you guys, does it almost feel like you guys have played three different seasons? You come into this season with so much expectation, ranked No. 1, everybody I think probably buried your season at some point down the stretch, now you're sort of looked at as a team that can make a run at this again. Does it feel almost like three different seasons?

Aaron Harrison: I mean, I think not really different season. I think we're a different team now. And we're just playing together as a team, and we're just having more fun. So I don't think it's different seasons, we're just a different team.

Dakari Johnson: Like what Aaron said, I think we're a different team. We're committed to each other now. Just committed on defense a lot more.

Q. Andrew, wonder if you could update us on the condition of your elbow and how much you're able to do now that you might not have been able to do last weekend?

ANDREW HARRISON: My elbow is getting better. Still a little sore. Still ice it and stuff. But it's definitely getting better.

Q. For Dakari and James, we came into this year of college basketball it's supposed to be the year of freshmen. So many guys aren't here in the tournament, but what does it say about you guys still standing here with so many freshmen?

James Young: Seems like we stuck together during hard times and listening to Coach, I guess, and just brought us here this far and we're going to keep listening to him.

DAKARI JOHNSON: Yeah, just listening to Coach and then just playing together as a team is the main thing.

Q. Question for James. James, I was talking to one of your former high school coaches the other day, and he was telling me that a 3point shot fits your personality more than, say, like a dunk. Obviously a lot of folks know that when you're on you're really on with that. Can you sort of talk about maybe your evolution of learning the shot. And your coach said today that he was hoping you would start going a little bit more towards the basket a little bit and address that as well.

JAMES YOUNG: During AAU season and growing up I was just always a shooter. It was something that I was always working on and getting extra shots up with my coaches and with my dad and stuff. And I haven't really been taking it to the hole, I would say, probably my senior year. And I'm just getting better as the season started and Coach has just been getting on me to attack the rim a lot more, that's what I've been working on. And that's about it.

Q. For any of you guys, a lot is made of the oneanddone rule and whether it should be in place in college. I'm wondering what you guys think about that and some of the criticism maybe Cal has taken because he tends to have younger teams or kids that leave school early?

JULIUS RANDLE: I really haven't paid much attention to the oneanddone rule. Like I said, I don't pay attention to it all. I'm just a college athlete. I enjoy being a college athlete, and that's really my focus right now.

ANDREW HARRISON: We're just focusing on our game we have tomorrow. We're not really thinking about that. A lot of people say we just this is like a pit stop for us, but it's not at all. We love this. We don't know what's going to happen next year, but we gotta focus on this game tomorrow.

Q. You get a lot of the one-and-done questions. But when there's a guy like Jon Hood on your team who has been around as long as Coach Cal, is he sort of is he a coach? I think Coach Cal told us when he's telling you guys this is what John Wall used to do, he goes, hey, Jon, is that true and he says yes. What's his role and what does he do for you guys on the team? For any of you. Julius, you laughed so maybe .

JULIUS RANDLE: I guess he is like a coach. He's kind of the old man on the team. But he's definitely somebody we can look forward to for advice. He's played, seen every kind of team that's been through here with Coach Cal. So whenever we have a question about anything or struggling with anything, about basketball, school, anything, he's definitely somebody we can go to for advice and appreciate it.

AARON HARRISON: I mean, yeah, Hood really is kind of a coach, really. He doesn't like it when we call him that. But he really helps all of us out, and he's seen a lot. And he knows every position, every play, where everybody's supposed to be. So he really helps us out. And he's really intense at practice and stuff because he wants to win just like the rest of us. So he really helps us a lot. So he is kind of like a coach.

JAMES YOUNG: My first couple of weeks here during practice and stuff I didn't really know anything. And Hood, he's always, like, helping me out with everything and showing me where I'm supposed to be, helped me out with the drills and stuff. So he was just a big help.

Q. Dakari, considering the size advantage you all might have tomorrow what are the advantages of that lineup we've seen with you and Willie at the same time?

DAKARI JOHNSON: That lineup is pretty big, and Willie helps me on the defensive end because he can roam around and block shots and he just helps me on the defensive end. I think that's something we can take advantage of, but their big man is very physical. So we have to play physical, too.

Q. On if they are a better team than the first meeting in December:

Alex Poythress: "We are a lot better. We are a whole different team. We are fighting more and playing better defense. We are better on offense and everywhere. We are just a whole different team."

"We just have to stay focused and within ourselves. Just focus on the game itself and not listen to the outside media or social networks or anything like that. Just stay off Twitter, don't listen to ESPN, things like that."

WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN: "We are just a different team. We play way different than we did then. It's the same with their team, they are completely different too. It's going to be a fresh game for both. You can't really go off the last game."

"How they've been playing and how we've been playing, that's the only thing you can really go off. You just wait until the ball gets thrown up."

On what needs to happen for Kentucky to be successful:

ALEX POYTHRESS"We just need to fight and keep doing what got us here and that's defending. We have been doing a great job defending the last couple of games and we just need to keep on doing that. We never doubt ourselves and we came together as a team. We just grew up. We started to churn more, to try to lock up on defense. It all starts on the defensive end."

Q. On being from outside Kentucky and being part of the rivalry:

WILLIE CAULEY-STEIN: "I think of it as the K-State-KU rivalry. It's the same thing. The fans are the same, it's just different teams. It doesn't really mean much to you if you aren't from Kentucky. If you aren't from Kentucky, you don't understand it. It's that simple. I have been here two years and I still don't understand the rivalry. It's just fun. If you ask a UK fan about the rivalry and then ask a Louisville fan about the rivalry, they say the same kind of trash talk about each other, but just different. It's the same thing, just on a different side of it. It's funny because it's so similar. They are more alike than what they really think. They say the same things."

JULIUS RANDLE: "We don't want to add any pressure on ourselves or try to make it bigger than it is. It's just another game to get better and hopefully get closer to our goals and our dreams."


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