Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari holds no monopoly on saying an opponent looks at a game against his team as a Super Bowl. Penn State Coach Patrick Chambers has said the same thing.
"I just said that to my team the last three games," he said of Penn State foes Hartford, Radford and Long Island, who all lost to the Lions. "That's their Super Bowl."
Chambers acknowledged that the prospect of playing Kentucky excited his players.
"I'd be lying to say they're not a little fired up to play Kentucky," he said. "I've been trying to get through to them. It's the next game on our schedule, and it just happens to be Kentucky."
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Chambers said he had been emphasizing self-improvement to his players. But he seemed to recoil from the idea of his team as naturally inferior to Kentucky.
"We're a high-major team, too," he said Friday. "We're a Big Ten team."
Penn State basketball
More than once, Chambers noted how his players had to play Penn State basketball.
When asked to define that term, he said, "Our foundation is attitude. ... When you're not making shots, you have to keep playing hard. Don't let making shots define your effort. We have to defend and rebound. Scrappy. Gritty. We have to get a little dirty (as in diving on the floor and making sweaty effort). Hopefully, that comes across tomorrow."
Penn State depends on guard Tim Frazier, whom Chambers considers the fastest player he's coached. That includes Kyle Lowry, a guard for Villanova when Chambers was on Jay Wright's staff.
"Are they up there with John Wall?" Chambers said of Frazier and other fast guards he's coached. "Maybe Tim is. His speed and quickness going rim to rim is really tops in the country. We're going to need that tomorrow."
Cal on PSU
UK Coach John Calipari on Penn State: "Shoot the ball fairly well. They do a nice little job throwing some zone at you. This is a game if we think we just walk in and just win, then it'll be like the first half against Marist except you'll be down."