After weeks of asking his team to "negate" opponents' physical play, Kentucky Coach John Calipari shifted gears Monday. He encouraged referees to call fouls, in part, to prevent a repeat of LSU player Malcolm White's flagrant foul/takedown of Anthony Davis last weekend.
"My whole point is if you don't call rough play, that's what it goes to," Calipari said. "You've got to call rough play."
Coincidentally or not, Calipari also noted how Tennessee figures to try to set a physical tone against Kentucky on Tuesday night in Rupp Arena. The UK coach envisioned a "hand-to-hand kind of deal" against the Vols.
"We don't want it to be a rough-house, win-in-the-weight room game," Calipari said, speaking generically. "That's not how we play."
Leading the nation in shot blocking as a team and individually (Anthony Davis), Kentucky presumably has less need for physical play.
"I preach we're not to foul," Calipari said. "We play not to foul. We want six fouls at halftime. ...
"If I preach that, we've got to stay in control (of emotions)."Calipari acknowledged his concern when freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist rushed to protect Davis/confront LSU players after the White takedown. "Because I don't want to see anything," the UK coach said.
No violence ensued.
Kidd-Gilchrist always manages to combine relentless effort without betraying any emotion. His physical play and effort has not led to a loss of poise by Kidd-Gilchrist or an opponent.
"I think it's all he knows," Calipari said. "So he's just doing what he does naturally. He's just playing."
Tennessee uses the phrase "Stay ugly" to describe first-year Coach Cuonzo Martin's preference for a gritty style.
"It's just playing hard," the UT coach said Monday, "and not being consumed with how you look. It's how you play."
Meanwhile, Calipari suggested that the essence of the sport not get lost in the pursuit of physical play.
"Let's make sure it's about basketball," he said. "Let's make sure it's about execution, making shots and playing ball. And we don't get into mud-wrestling matches with everything. We want to play basketball."
Southeastern Conference spokesman Craig Pinkerton confirmed that the league will not take any further action against White because of the takedown of Davis.
"The game officials ruled the penalty on the play was a flagrant foul, which included the ejection of the offending player," Pinkerton wrote in an email. "Since the fighting rule was not invoked, there would be no further suspension."
LSU Coach Trent Johnson said on the league teleconference Monday that he would impose additional discipline. But he added that he wanted such action to stay "in-house."
With Martin emphasizing defense, it's no surprise that Davis has caught the eye of the Tennessee coach.
"He can change the game completely with the way he defends," Martin said, "and, most impressively, he does it without fouling."
Martin noted that despite a slender frame, Davis can stand up to physical play.
"He takes a hit, he's very physical and he doesn't back down from challenges," Martin said. "You scheme for him like he's an offensive player when he's on defense."
The LSU coach voiced the idea of conceding the league race to Kentucky.
"If Terrence (Jones) is going to show up and play like that, they need to crown them right now," Johnson said.
When asked to react, Jones said many of his teammates could impact a game as he did at LSU.
Maybe, but Calipari noted Jones' potential to make a significant impact.
"If he gives us a physical presence, other guys can do what they do," the UK coach said.
Martin on Miller
Martin was one of the coaches for the U.S. team that played in the World University Games last summer. One of the players was Darius Miller.
"I really like him," Martin said. "He's the most complete player. You can put him anywhere on the floor and he's effective. ... I really like the way he plays, and he has composure to him."
While suggesting that Tennessee controlled much of the game in Knoxville, Cameron Tatum suggested a modest goal in the rematch.
"When you're playing a top team, for one, you don't want to get embarrassed," he said. "And you want to see how you stack up against them."
Tennessee is 0-6 when playing on the opponents' court this season. UK owns the nation's longest active home winning streak: 47 games. ... Dave O'Brien and Fran Fraschilla will call the game for ESPNU.