Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: Game Day vs. The Auburn Tigers

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Feb 5, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; The Kentucky Wildcats cheerleader perform during a time out in the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated South Carolina 77-55. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats are back in Rupp Arena this afternoon to take on the Auburn Tigers. The last time Kentucky saw Auburn was a few short weeks ago when the Wildcats rolled over their opponent 75-53 on the road. That was a break out game from Kyle Wiltjer in which he scored a game high 17 points and it was the first time that we really saw the offense being run through him.

What has Auburn done since losing to UK? They lost their next four-out-of-five games. They did win their latest one, springing a surprise upset at home over rival Alabama, 49-37. That’s right, Alabama scored only 37 points. And how the hell did we lose to the Crimson Tide?

Anyway, Kentucky is a 17 point favorite as they were Tuesday night when they smacked down South Caroline by 22 points. This is not the game for the Wildcats to be messing around. They need to hold serve at home, win by double-digits, preferably by 20 or more, and then get ready for a huge game on the road against Florida. Auburn is terrible and they should be treated as such.

Feb 5, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the second half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated South Carolina 77-55. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari spoke to the media yesterday and went all Confucius on everybody. The Kentucky head coach started talking about life skills and taking leaps of faith:

If you love — and truly love — that means it’s more about the other guy than you,” he said. “Then you have discipline. The reason you have discipline is you’re playing for him because you love him and you got his back.”

Calipari has sounded more like a shrink that a coach lately. It’s not by accident. He said he has, for the first time in his career, stopped watching game tape with his players. The assistant coaches handle that and Calipari focuses on “teaching life skills” to a roster full of 18-year-olds. He said he’s spoken to multiple sports psychologists, including the famous Bob Rotella.

“I’m reading three books a day,” Calipari said. “I’m taking stuff from everything I’m reading. Praying in the morning — hard. Just for strength to keep going for these kids, because they deserve to feel the joy of doing something unique.

The team is winning and actually looking like it is coming together. Calipari can get as lovey-dovey as he wants as long as that keeps happening.

And check out Cal’s latest mailbag. In the video he discusses why Archie Goodwin can’t shoot lay-ups at practice and whether or not this has been his toughest coaching job, among other topics.

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