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Coach Cal talks Malik Monk, Louisville, Rick Pitino and Podcasting

John Calipari’s pre-Louisville press conference had quite the variety of topics.

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NCAA Basketball: Valparaiso at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari spoke to the media on Tuesday to preview Kentucky’s matchup with the Louisville Cardinals. He spoke on everything from Malik Monk’s abilities, to future coaching strategies, to his rivalry with Rick Pitino and even his new podcast.

Cal first talked about Malik Monk, which comes as no surprise after Monk exploded for 47 points against North Carolina.

Cal said that Monk wasn’t getting enough touches sometimes before the UNC game.

“We weren’t doing him justice early,” Calipari said.

Cal said that at one point against Valparaiso, Monk didn’t get the ball for six minutes, and that’s on the coaching staff, not Monk. Calipari also said that Monk still needs to drive and get fouled more, but when he’s hot he’s hot. He said that he tells him that he better make the ill-advised shots he takes, but when he does, Cal has no problem with it.

“There are times they have a better feel than I do,” Calipari said.

Calipari of course talked about the battle against Louisville on Wednesday. He broke down what he saw in scouting Louisville.

“They’re long,” Calipari said when describing why they’re good defensively. “They’ll mix it up and play different ways. They switch.”

Calipari also said they play zones that allow them to take certain players out of an opposition’s offense.

“I would imagine in this game they’ll play fast, and if they don’t score fast they’ll play the clock,” Cal said. “They’re a terrific defensive team....and offensive team.”

Calipari said that he watched part of the Louisville-Baylor game, and was shocked that Louisville somehow lost the game, because they were up by so much in the parts that he watched, and Baylor played a man-to-man defense. Which brought him to what his defensive strategy might be.

“I’m not playing zone. I might in this game, Rick,” Calipari said.

Calipari also talked about how good Louisville is at rebounding, and how that could be a problem, because Kentucky struggles on the boards at times.

Calipari also talked a lot about the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry, and the Pitino-Calipari rivalry.

“I’m happy when it’s over,” Cal said of the annual rivalry game. “Let’s just play the game, let’s see what happens and let’s go.”

Cal also said he and Rick know each other somewhat well, and have gotten along before, even having worked out and talked together in the past, but their positions make it tough to get along.

“It’s hard to send each other Christmas cards,” Cal said.

He praised Pitino as a Hall of Fame coach.

Cal got into a discussion about Mychal Mulder as well, who didn’t play at all against North Carolina. He said Mulder is much better than he was coming in, but he couldn’t have played him with how well all the other guards were playing. Monk had 47, De’Aaron Fox had 24 points and 10 assists, and Isaiah Briscoe was rebounding well. There was no place for Mulder. Cal said he may, in the future, play a four-guard style, like the Villanova Wildcats do. But for now, he’s sticking with three guards at most.

Calipari also talked about the fact that he has a podcast now (hey, us too!). The Cal Cast, as he calls it, featured Coach K today. The funniest part was, Calipari had to ask the reporters how you find his podcast (he knew you could Google it).

When he was asked if he wanted to do a podcast, he responded, “what’s a podcast? I don’t know what a podcast is.” Now he says he’s having fun with it, and plans to have a Christmas episode with his family, and do episodes with his wife.

You can find his podcast on iTunes here.