Kentucky coach John Calipari received an updated scouting report on the Commodores after their upset of the Tigers and knows they are risky, regardless of their recent struggles.
No yelling. No tirade.
"I told (the team) they made eight 3s and we missed eight 1-footers", United Kingdom head coach John Calipari said. "This is going to be what the score is'".
"He was real calm", Hagans said of Calipari. "He wanted us to work it out altogether and talk on it". The Cats never trailed from that point, though Vanderbilt came to within five in the second half.
The 12th-ranked Wildcats (18-5, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) inched out a 71-62 win over the Commodores last month, so they are aware of Vanderbilt's potential.
No. 12 Kentucky looks for its eighth straight win in the head-to-head series over Vanderbilt.
Immanuel Quickley came up with two huge threes in the last four minutes to give Kentucky an 11-point lead and put the game away. The scoring differential is bad and reflects that the Commodores have not been within reach of their conference foes in the second half of games. Kentucky's coaching staff has been impressed with Jerry Stackhouse's ability to guide the Commodores through treacherous waters in his first season at the helm. We got out of the gym alive when they came here. "I think that's just part of our growth". Tyrese Maxey is the happy-go-lucky boy wonder, coming up big in the big games. Dylan Disu had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Scotty Pippen Jr. had 13 and Maxwell Evans 10.
And yet I can't help thinking that through 24 games of this Kentucky basketball season, Immanuel Quickley may be the player most responsible for this team's success. The Wildcats took their first lead with 11:17 to go on in the game on a Tyrese Maxey layup. Vanderbilt is 95-238 all-time against ranked opponents and 65-78 at home. Four others made at least one 3 as Vanderbilt shot better outside the arc than Kentucky from the floor. In their last game at Tennessee they shot a season-high 54.3% and held the Volunteers to just 35% shooting in a 77-64 route and cover as 3-point chalk.
Vanderbilt then went cold and didn't score again the rest of the half. Kentucky wasn't much better. If the Commodores could pressure the Wildcats and make them turn over the ball, they definitely have a good chance to win the game. They made eight threes in the first half. The Commodores look to end their seven-game losing streak against the Wildcats, last beating them in 2016.
40-20 - Kentucky's scoring advantage in the paint.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores are playing without the SEC's leading scorer in Aaron Nesmith, lost after the SEC opener, with Clevon Brown also out with injury. Maxey was 10 of 17.
"For the first time this year, Tyrese Maxey played with a toughness to win versus just play basketball", Calipari said.
In his first 400 games at Kentucky, Rupp won 331 times. So you have to understand. He's taken some pointed criticism from United Kingdom head coach John Calipari of late, so it was good to see him respond.
United Kingdom will look to reach 20 wins against Ole Miss on Saturday in Rupp Arena.
Vanderbilt starts a two-game road swing Saturday at Florida.