Cal wants Cats to have fun in tourney

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Cal wants Cats to have fun in tourney

Post  BestdamnUKfanperiod on Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:48 pm

Cal wants Cats to have fun in tourney

Kentucky is one of the hottest teams entering the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
The Wildcats have won three straight and six of their past eight games going into Friday’s conference tournament opener. Although Kentucky went 10-6 in the conference after losing just two league games a year ago, it is one of the favorites to win a second straight tournament title. The Wildcats won the tournament last year in Nashville.
Kentucky coach John Calipari doesn’t mind being one of the favorites, especially if it enhances the team’s RPI and leads to a higher seeding in the NCAA Tournament.
“If it helps us get a better seed then let’s go for it,” he said. “I just want my team playing well. If we’re playing aggressive, if we are coming out and having a ball then we’re executing.”
Kentucky has fared well in tournaments played in Atlanta and won the title in 2004. Kentucky is 19-7 in tournament games played at the Georgia Dome and is 114-22 overall in the event.
Prior to leaving for the tournament Wednesday, Calipari talked to his team about the importance of playing loose and relaxed in the four-day tourney.
“I (talked) to them (Tuesday) about winning in (the) post season,” he said. “I (told) them some things that my best teams, what we drove them with and what they thought about and see if we can get into the frame of mind.
“I’m (talked) to them about the success our teams have had post season, both in the (conference) tournament and NCAA tournament. But there’s only one way to do that. You have to have more fun than everybody else and you really have to stay in the moment, you can’t worry about anything else.”
Calipari likes the way his team is playing heading into the tournament and likes his team’s chances of bringing home the trophy and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Kentucky coach said his team is “a little more established on what we are and our weaknesses.”
“It’s taken some time to get individual players to accept their weaknesses. But, I think they’re slowly understanding that if they recognize, they can change,” he said. “If they do what they’re supposed to, their game elevates and so does ours. I wish we’d won a couple of those road games but it’s all a test, it’s all a lesson.
“We just don’t have the most viscous kind of guys, yet they’re getting that way. They’re getting better.”
Kentucky junior DeAndre Liggins added that staying fresh also is the key to playing successful in the postseason.
“Get rest,” he said. “That’s the most important thing for the tournament.”

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Story by Keith Taylor

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