Kentucky’s experienced starters, Darius Miller, DeAndre Liggins and Josh Harrellson were all part of the team that defeated Louisville in Rupp Arena last season. The trio and John Calipari recalled last season’s battle with Rick Pitino’s Cardinals and spoke of expectations for this season’s battle.
Calipari was asked what he remembers from last year’s game.
Calipari said, “I can’t really remember, but I knew everybody made it out to be the biggest game of the century, which I just try not to do. I say for us it’s the next game. I have to have my guys ready for every game. Every game we play is someone’s super bowl. The next game will be someone’s super bowl. Every game we play in the league is someone’s super bowl. Every game we played is in a sold out arena, and it’s the biggest game on their schedule. We can’t make one game more important than any other, but in this state, we understand and the players will understand when the game starts. The guys that don’t understand it will feel it. You will feel it.”
The Kentucky players spoke of the physicality of last year’s game when they were asked what they recall from last seasons tilt.
“Last year’s game was kind of different than any other game that we have been involved in really. It was really physical from the beginning and really intense from the beginning … I am sure that the intensity and physicality will be the same,” said Miller.
"It was a rough and tough game, people were trash talking and people were about to fight. It’s definitely going to be a war out there," said Harrellson.
“It was a very physical game. A couple of guys got into it, but overall we came out with the win. I don’t know if this game will be similar or not. We are going to be in their building and we know that they are going to be physical. We just have to get prepared,” said Liggins.
Kentucky’s freshmen, Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb, are a big part of the Kentucky attack. Are the freshmen ready for the intense rivalry of the game?
“I don’t know. We had a day yesterday where we didn’t beat them up because we just played a game the day before. We have a practice today where we are going to try to go fairly hard, but they have no idea. We are playing a ranked team. They are well coached, they make 3’s, they create havoc; you know they may be a top 15 team. The more tape I watch, the more impressed I am of them. Guys are just doing what they do for them. The big guys are banging and blocking, they take charges and flops; they get up in you. They play,” said Calipari.
What do players expect this season? Have the Wildcats looked at Louisville on tape, and if so what did the team see?
Miller said, “Yeah, we have seen a little bit of them. Like I said, they play very physical and with high intensity and play the whole 40 minutes. This is one of those teams that we are going to have to be ready and go out and play the whole game.”
Will Louisville be as physical as last season?
Liggins said, “Last year’s game was one of the most physical games of the year. So we expect that again this year and we are going to be physical with the ball and breakdown our opponents on defense and on offense and we will be fine.”
Harrellson said, "I think so because we're a young team again. They'll definitely try to do the same things like trash talk, and see if they can get us out of our game, but we're prepared and we're ready for them."