Noting the sometimes outlandish gestures by pro athletes as a poor example to follow, Kentucky Coach John Calipari said freshman star DeMarcus Cousins should not have gestured to the crowd after scoring at Mississippi State.
Cousins used his right hand to suggest he was speaking on a phone, an obvious reference to the abusive calls he said he received from people in Mississippi earlier in the week.
Calipari, who said he did not see the gesture until watching a replay, said he spoke to Cousins on Thursday.
"We have a team that has to mature," Calipari said before citing the gestures made by pro athletes. "(UK players) don't know you don't do that. You don't act that way.
"It's all a maturing process. The things we all think they know, they don't know. So you have to tell them. You tell them that's not the way to act."
Ogilvy vs. Cousins
When UK beat Vanderbilt in Rupp Arena on Jan. 30, Cousins outscored (21-12), outrebounded (10-4) and thoroughly outplayed A.J. Ogilvy.
Afterward, Cousins added a parting shot, saying he was inspired by talk that Ogilvy was the best center in the Southeastern Conference. "Not even close," he sniffed.
Apparently, Cousins learned to rein in his comments about rivals. When asked earlier this week about making the same point to Mississippi State's Jarvis Varnado, Cousins said, "I'm not going into it like I did that game. I really shouldn't have done it that game."
UK enjoyed a 41-22 rebounding advantage against Vandy in Rupp.
"I think, if we just play more physically, especially me, then it will be a little bit different than last time," Ogilvy said. "Last time, we got a little bit punked inside. So hopefully (Saturday) it will go differently."
Vandy Coach Kevin Stallings suggested the Commodores might try to defend Cousins differently this time.
"If I knew what we were going to do for sure, I wouldn't tell you," he told reporters in Nashville. "But he's a terrific player, a terrific talent. Great size. He's a handful. We'll have to do a much better job than we did the first game, that's for sure."
Vandy is known for three-point shooting. The Commodores have the second-best accuracy in SEC play at 37.7 percent. But UK has made more three-pointers: 67-63.
In the first meeting, the Cats made 12 of 23 attempts, which remains the team high in league play.
When asked about defending the threes better, Stallings said, "I think you just have to guard them the way you think the best way to guard them is. I think there are other things they do better than shoot threes, although they shot them great the first time we played them."
UK is coming off a 4-for-24 three-point shooting night at Mississippi State. In the last four games, the Cats have made only 25 percent of their three-point shots (19 of 76).
Like four other UK opponents this SEC season, Vandy will be playing its second game in three days. The Commodores won at Mississippi on Thursday.
"You play them when they schedule them," Stallings said. "That's how it will be, hopefully, if we get to the NCAA Tournament. Might as well accustom ourselves to doing it now. (It is) tough, obviously, with the opponent we have coming in. But we have to play them when they show up."
Calipari suggested recent injuries to freshman shooter John Jenkins and physical forward Andre Walker, both of whom missed games but are not totally healthy, will make the Commodores a "rested" opponent.
"The bottom line is, it's going to be a difficult game for us to win," the UK coach said.
■ Calipari said UK's approach would not change despite having two "big" games this week. "If you want to win them all, you can't be, 'This is the one,' " he said. "Then you're going to lose to the team you're not supposed to lose to."
■ Of the 13 UK teams to advance to the Final Four, 11 won at Vanderbilt during the regular season. The exceptions came in 1993, when No. 1 Kentucky lost to the Commodores, and 1942, when UK did not play at Vandy.
■ Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale and Erin Andrews will call the game for ESPN.