Notes: Calipari asks fans not to ruin Vandy's GameDay moment

jtipton@herald-leader.comFebruary 10, 2012 

UK fans watch as Kentucky defeated Penn State 85-47 at the Mohegan Sun on Saturday November 19, 2011 in Uncasville, CT. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff

MARK CORNELISON — Lexington Herald-Leader

  • Kentucky vs. Western Kentucky

    When: 7 p.m. Saturday
    Where: LP Field in Nashville
    TV: ESPNews
    Radio: WBUL-FM 98.1; WLAP-AM 630; WWRW-FM 105.5

As the social media buzzed with plots of Kentucky fans crashing Vanderbilt's GameDay party Saturday, UK Coach John Calipari suggested a more gracious approach. He said UK fans should let Vandy have the stage.

"If our fans are ruining their day, don't do it," Calipari said Friday. "If it's Vandy's day, don't do it. Don't ruin their day."

ESPN plans to originate its College GameDay shows from Vandy's Memorial Gym. This led to what was called an "Occupy Memorial" movement. Twitter postings called for UK fans to attend GameDay in such numbers as to make Nashville just another town in the Big Blue Nation.

Calipari said UK fans should occupy their minds with more constructive thoughts. As for Vandy fans enjoying the role of GameDay host, he said, "That's part of it. Let them enjoy themselves."

Vandy spokesman Andy Boggs said the school was aware of the "Occupy Memorial" idea.

"We've heard about it and we're preparing for Kentucky fans to be at the Gameday shooting," he said.

UK's Alumni Association distanced itself from the idea. Associate Director Kellie Elam noted that the Alumni Association did not support nor promote the idea of flooding Memorial Gym with Kentucky fans.

ESPN spokesperson Rachel Margolis said that it was not unusual for fans of the visiting team to attend GameDay telecasts.

"We encourage fans from both teams to come out to the weekly site and show their pride in a respectful manner," she wrote in an email.

The College GameDay shows air from 10-11 a.m. on ESPNU and from 11 a.m.-noon and 8-9 p.m. on ESPN.

Birthday wit

Friday was Calipari's 53rd birthday.

"Well, two years got vacated, so I'm 51," Calipari quipped.

When asked about leading the UK program for three seasons, he said, "I think we are a program as connected (to fans) as well as you can and been as transparent as we can for everybody because everybody wants to be part of it. They want in. They want knowledge. ...

"This is not a program you can go to the office and hide."

Less yelling

Less yelling by Calipari means a better grasp of the point guard role, Marquis Teague said.

"He doesn't yell at me as much as he used to," he said.

Teague said he has a better feel for the pace of a game.

"I'm picking and choosing when to go 100 (percent), and when to slow it down," he said. "It's real hard because you want to push it and get ahead of players and get layups."

Goals

Terrence Jones noted four goals UK has for any game: a plus-10 in rebounds and blocks, 20 assists and limiting an opponent to less than 40-percent shooting accuracy.

Selective memory

In assessing Kentucky's stellar season, Vandy Coach Kevin Stallings said, "They lost one time. Somebody has to slop one in to beat them in that one. They're a great team. They really are."

Kentucky brings a 24-1 record and No. 1 ranking into the game. But it's a stretch to attribute the one loss to "slop." Indiana's Christian Watford's game-winner completed an 8-for-15 shooting game (4-for-6 from three-point range).

Bad memory

Stallings stopped short of saying this was the best Kentucky team he's seen.

"From a won-loss perspective, I don't remember playing a Kentucky team with only one loss at this juncture."

Calipari's first UK team took a 25-1 record to a game at Vandy on Feb. 20, 2010.

While mistaken on the won-lost record, Stallings said, "(John) Wall and that group was really fantastic."

9 p.m.

In handling a late tip time (9 p.m. EST), Calipari said he'd want the players to see Memorial Gym, eat dinner and then go to a movie Friday night.

He'll let the players sleep in until around 10:30 or 11, Calipari said. "I don't want them getting up at 8. Then it's a whole day (of waiting for the game)."

Etc.

■ UK has won five straight road games for the first time since 2005. The 16-game winning streak is UK's longest since opening the 2009-10 season with 19 straight victories.

■ Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale and sideline reporter Erin Andrews will call the game for ESPN.

Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com

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