Press Virginia, as West Virginia has become known this season, thinks of its pressure defense as relentless, primeval and unique. To explain how Kentucky will respond to this threat, Willie Cauley-Stein cited base survival instinct.
"It's just like cornering an animal," he said Wednesday. "You're hunting. The dogs corner an animal. The animal is not just going to die. It's not going to lay over. The animal in the corner, he's going to fight till he dies.
"That's how we're going into the game."
What animal will undefeated Kentucky be like when cornered by West Virginia in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Thursday? A proud lion?
"Have you seen a raccoon?" Cauley-Stein asked a reporter. "Raccoons are feisty. They're not going to just roll over.
"If you bring the dogs on us, we're going to fight."
West Virginia (25-9) will bring the dogs. West Virginia must bring the dogs.
Former Cleveland State Coach Kevin Mackey, who helped WVU Coach Bob Huggins implement the style last fall, said the pressing and trapping are a form of survival for the Mountaineers.
"If they didn't do it," he said, "they'd have no chance to make the game competitive."
Forward Jonathan Holton suggested that Kentucky doesn't yet know what will — literally — hit them.
"I tell you, that press is a boogeyman," he said. "I say this every time I speak to the media. That press is a boogeyman. You might watch film on it, you might watch a game, but you will never really know until you're on that court against that press. Honest to god, the only person I ever saw beat that press was Juwan Staten."
Staten plays for West Virginia.
As did Cincinnati, Arkansas and other Kentucky opponents, West Virginia spoke boldly. "We're definitely going to pull an upset," Holton said. "I say we're definitely getting ready to pull it off."
Andrew Harrison shrugged. "We've heard it before," he said. "What are they supposed to say? We're going to lose?"
As players from both teams spoke to the media Wednesday, analogies to the elemental sport of boxing got a workout. Hit or be hit was the idea. Or both.
"We hear all of it," Devin Booker said of all the pre-game talk recently. "Eventually, they have to step in the ring, like Coach Cal says. We'll see how that turns out."
Much has been made of Cauley-Stein's flying dunks demoralizing opponents (although Cincinnati associate coach Larry Davis dismissed that notion when asked about the impact of such a dunk in Saturday's game).
If Cauley-Stein dunks on his head, it won't be unchallenged, Holton said. "You've got to hit him," the West Virginia player said. "You can't just let me just fly to the rim, thinking you can go up and get the rebound. Nah. You've got to put a body on all those guys. I'm definitely going to be putting a body on somebody tomorrow."
"Every team we play, they try to do the same stuff," he said. "They try to beat us. They try to pressure us. They try to get us out of our element."
West Virginia ranks first in the nation in steals (10.9 per game) and second in turnover margin.
"Make them do different things that they don't like doing," Holton said of the idea behind WVU's pressure. "For example, make Cauley-Stein make plays instead of Tyler Ulis. Get the ball out of the playmakers' hands and put (the ball) in the hands of people who don't really do that well."
Booker welcomed the idea of Cauley-Stein or, say, Karl-Anthony Towns making decisions on offense.
"I feel our big guys can do a lot of things that little guys do," he said.
Of course, it can be argued that pressing and trapping plays to Kentucky's advantage. It opens up the floor and gives UK's athletes room to operate.
"By pressing us, you're going to bring out the best in us," Cauley-Stein said. "By letting us relax and kind of do things. ... We have so many competitive dudes, if you got guys coming at us, we're not going to just let you come at us."
Erik Martin, an assistant coach for West Virginia, acknowledged that the pressure defense can unleash Kentucky's players.
"First thing is you have to beat it," he said. "It's easy to say. I'm sure they're going to beat it sometimes. But that's what we are. That's what we've been all year."
Cauley-Stein termed the game — do the dogs or the raccoon win? — must-see TV.
"Both teams are super competitive," he said. "It's going to be one of those games everybody should tune in and watch."