Calipari on UCONN game

"We are going to get knocked in the mouth and we better play with the same intensity," said the Kentucky coach Tuesday. "If we don't play better, then we are going to get beat."

Once again, John Calipari is predicting this could be the game Kentucky loses.

"We are going to get knocked in the mouth and we better play with the same intensity," said the Kentucky coach Tuesday. "If we don't play better, then we are going to get beat."

Kentucky plays Connecticut Wednesday night in New York's Madison Square Garden in the SEC/Big East Invitational.

No. 14 Connecticut (6-1) has lost only to Duke and has four players averaging in double figures, including talented guard Jerome Dyson. He's one of only two players in the country averaging at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists per game.

He has a talented backcourt mate in Kemba Walker, who averages 15.4 points per game and leads the Huskies in assists at 5.7 per game.

"They have a talented, veteran backcourt versus an inexperienced backcourt, there's trouble," Calipari said.

He knows the Huskies will present problems for freshman point guard John Wall, UK's leading scorer.

"They will try to take away John," the Kentucky coach said. "This team does things that could be interesting. They will try to slow us down and trap and make John give up the ball. If there are two guys on John, he will pass. We've got enough other players."

Wall is ready for the challenge much like he was in Saturday's win over North Carolina. "UConn is a pretty good team. They have experienced guards and it will be a great test for us," Wall said.

The freshman guard has tendinitis in his knee that he says is no big deal. Calipari says any player who has played as much basketball as Wall has knee or ankle pain. "You learn to live with it and play or you retire," the UK coach said. Calipari says the leg cramps that sidelined Wall for part of Saturday's win over North Carolina will not be a lingering problem, either. "He's our hardest worker in practice. He was great in practice. That won't be a problem," Calipari said.

He doesn't think comments Connecticut's Stanley Robinson made about UK freshman DeMarcus Cousins being "cocky" will impact the game, either.

"I hope DeMarcus will just play ball," Calipari said. "I hope he will not talk. Just go play. It's our team against their team."

Kentucky freshman Daniel Orton just laughed when asked about Robinson's comment and Cousins' reaction.

"DeMarcus is confident, maybe a little too confident at times," Orton said. "But that is good, too. That's what gets him going. He'll be fine."

Calipari expects to see various zone defenses from Connecticut and knows what to expect from UConn coach Jim Calhoun.

"He lets his team play. He's going to give them space to play. They are great shot blockers and rebounders and have been for years," Calipari said.

The Huskies have led the nation in blocked shots the last eight years and are averaging 9.9 blocks per game this year led by Gavin Charles' 23 blocks in seven games.

"If you fade, they block it. If you are a big guy, go right at them," Calipari said. "But they will feel some coming back at them, too. We can block shots."

Calipari is looking for his team to sustain effort better than it has in games this season. "If you do not want to play every possession, why come here? If you want to play casual, why come here? Go to a program that has 1,500 at games and do your thing," Calipari said. "You can't come here and be casual. Every possession matters."


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