John Calipari leads Kentucky into a Tuesday trip to LSU. (Chet White, UK Athletics)

The way John Calipari described it after Saturday’s win over Georgia, to become a team you have to break down a team.”It
is about players first,” Coach Cal said after one of his team’s better
performances of the season, a 79-54 rout of Georgia. “You’ve got to get
them right. You’ve got to get them in the frame of mind, and then you
get your team right.”For maybe the first time all year, after a
half-season of breaking individual players down and redefining their
games, Calipari has hinted in recent days about having a team, not a
collective group of individuals.”It took us time to get them to
think different, think totally different than you’ve ever thought about
this game, and then it’s taken time to define how they should play,”
Calipari said on Monday. “You got to kind of define it, and we were all
discombobulated for the first month trying to figure that out.”Recent
play would suggest the Kentucky Wildcats (15-4, 5-1 Southeastern
Conference), who moved up three spots to No. 11 in both major polls this
week, are starting to jell. For one thing, UK has quietly won seven of
its last eight games, but maybe more defining are the not-so-obvious
signs.Talk to the Wildcats long enough and you will hear them
talk about having fun playing with each other. More and more often Coach
Cal is raving about the Cats’ approach at practice, even on the
tough-to-recharge day after games. Watch the head ball coach during a
game and you won’t see as much individual teaching.Maybe, just maybe, they’re starting to get it.”We’re
getting to where, like, every day you can try to get better because
we’re not fighting it,” Calipari said. “DeWayne (Peevy, UK deputy
director of athletics) says he doesn’t hear me yelling every 12 seconds,
‘Plaaay! Plaaay!’ I don’t yell that anymore because they’re now, you
know, (getting it).”Coach Cal said his players are getting better because they are learning to love the grind.”Anything
you do is going to be a grind, but I think the biggest thing is we
learn to enjoy and love the grind and love the process,” Julius Randle
said. “It just makes things a lot easier. We’ve fallen in love with the
whole process of getting better and changing habits, and because of
that, it’s been smooth for us.”After Saturday’s win over
Georgia, James Young said individual players only cared about how they
were playing two months ago, not how the team was faring. The more
they’ve worked together and the closer they’ve become, that notion has
been flipped on its head.Now, as Calipari said at Monday’s pre-LSU media opportunity, each player is rooting for each other.”They’re
so happy that Alex (Poythress) is playing the way he is,” Coach Cal
said. “They’re happy for what Willie (Cauley-Stein) has done. They’re
happy for Dakari (Johnson). I mean, they’re happy for each other.”Perhaps
that’s why Cauley-Stein talked so glowingly of Johnson’s play during
this three-game slump. Maybe that’s why the ball movement was as good as
it has been all year on Saturday when the Cats passed up good shots for
better ones.Calipari talks about the youth of this team ad
nauseam, but there is a point to all the talk about inexperience. After
all, the Cats really are the youngest team in the country, ranked dead
last in Ken Pomeroy’s experience rankings.Julius Randle was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday. (photo by Chris Reynolds)”It
takes time,” Calipari said. “We got the youngest team in the country,
and there’s all kind of things that we do that other teams don’t have to
do. They got established teams. They’re just hoping they don’t get
injured. They know who they are, they know how they play. That’s not
us.”Now that Kentucky has figured that part out, the next test
is winning on the road where there Cats haven’t fared well this season.
UK is just 1-2 in true road games this year heading into a stretch where
the Cats will play four of their next five away from the friendly
confines of Rupp Arena.Though UK’s stock appears to be up, some are waiting to buy until they see how this team fares in a hostile environment.”It’s
a big-time test for us. … Wherever we go we have something to prove,”
Randle said. “We know it’s everybody’s biggest game.”Caliapri said the key to winning on the road the next couple of weeks will be mental discipline.”You
don’t have anything behind you,” Coach Cal said. “You’re not going to
get a break. There’s nothing that’s going to go your way, so you can’t
have the seven errors that we had at Arkansas. You can’t (do that) and
win. ‘Well, it went to overtime.’ Yeah, and we lost because of those
seven breakdowns. And they were mental breaks. ‘You  just stopped. Why
did you do that.’ ‘I don’t know.’ And so, those are what we’re trying to
eliminate.The physical challenge for Kentucky on Tuesday when
it meets LSU at 9 p.m. ET in Baton Rouge, La., will likely come down to
how the Cats’ front court handles LSU’s big men.All-SEC forward
Johnny O’Bryant, a bruising 6-foot-9, 256-pound forward who is
developing an outside game, is still the focal point of the LSU offense,
but he’s got some help down low now in highly touted freshmen Jarrell
Martin and Jordan Mickey. Martin was ranked the 13th-best freshman in
the country by Rivals and Mickey wasn’t far behind him in the Rivals
rankings at No. 41Calling the Tigers’ front court one of the
best in the league, Calipari compared to LSU’s post players to
Tennessee’s, only longer with a better touch from the outside. Remember,
Tennessee was one of the few teams this year that has physically
overpowered the Cats.”They’re bigger and longer,” Coach Cal
said. “The advantage we had (over Tennessee) was, we were long. The
advantage (Tennessee) had was strength. These guys are strong and
they’re big. They’re not 6-7, 6-8. They’re big.”Cauley-Stein admitted he hasn’t exactly done well against more physical teams.”They probably outweigh me by like 40 pounds,” he said. “I don’t know anybody who wants to do that.”Cauely-Stein
just so happens to be in tied for the SEC blocked shots lead with
Mickey. In addition to using his speed and quickness to counter LSU’s
bulk, Cauley-Stein said pride will be on the line going up against a
shot-blocking counterpart.”Hearing about him is going to make
you step up,” Cauley-Stein said. “Anybody in that position would step up
and try to prove themselves.”UK-LSU still a go — for nowDespite canceling classes on Tuesday and even a suggestion by LSU head coach Johnny Jones on the SEC teleconference that the game could be canceled because of wintry weather on the way, UK-LSU is still on for Tuesday night.LSU sent out a release Monday afternoon that said the school was “moving forward for the game to be played as scheduled” but noted that LSU Athletics personnel, school officials and the SEC will continue to monitor the situation throughout the night.The forecast for Baton Rouge on Tuesday calls for a wintry mix of snow, sleet and ice with temperatures nearing record lows.UK’s flight left Lexington on time and arrived in Baton Rouge on Monday without any problems.”We’re good,” Calipari said. “We’ll practice and we’ll get down there. Our fans are going to be there. They were in Dallas (during that ice storm), believe me, so they will be there.”The issue, as Coach Cal told the media, will be getting back to Lexington. UK usually flies home after road games, but there is a contingency plan in place to stay overnight in case the weather is too bad Tuesday night.LSU encouraged fans to stay tuned to and for official further updates. We will also have updates at and

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