Rumors earlier this week had Kentucky's John Calipari potentially coaching the Dominican Republic's national team. Right now, he's more concerned with the 13th-ranked Wildcats not taking their next opponent too lightly.
Kentucky will try to head into its Christmas break with a fourth straight win Wednesday against Winthrop.Calipari said Dominican officials hadn't contacted him during a press conference Tuesday, one day after Louisville's Rick Pitino was named Puerto Rico's coach."It would be an honor to be considered for something like that, but I don't know the timeframe, I don't even know if I could do it," Calipari said.In the meantime, Calipari will try to help the Wildcats (8-2) match their longest win streak of the season, but he said that might not be easy against the Eagles (5-6).Winthrop has already won at Wake Forest and beaten a Jacksonville team that upset No. 20 Florida on Monday."This is a step up for us, and we better be ready," Calipari said. "It's a scary game because we're going home for Christmas. And don't think everyone in that locker room, managers, players, coaches, is not thinking, 'What time does this game end?' It's just how it is. It's just what we have to deal with."If the Wildcats can repeat their effort from Saturday night, they won't have many concerns heading into their break.Kentucky held Mississippi Valley State to 32.8 percent shooting and forced a season-high 23 turnovers in an 85-60 victory. The Wildcats had five players in double figures, with freshman Terrence Jones scoring a team-best 19 points.Calipari missed the final 6:26 after receiving a pair of technical fouls, but he got a good chance to see what his team needed to improve upon while in the locker room.One area Calipari said needed some work was rebounding, and he also wants a better start to games from Jones.The Wildcats were outrebounded 41-37 and Jones had zero boards in the first half before finishing with eight. He's averaging team bests of 18.9 points and 10.0 rebounds."He has to start playing better. He has to start coming up with balls. He can't stand there and watch a ball bounce from you and hope someone else grabs it," Calipari said. "He is doing some of the things good. ... I want him to be special."After their home win over Jacksonville on Dec. 12, the Eagles fell back below .500 with a 73-58 loss at Dayton on Monday night.Sophomore guard Robbie Dreher, averaging a team-best 15.4 points, was one of three players in double figures with 14. Senior center Charles Corbin had a team-high 18 points in his first start this season.Kentucky, which won 65-44 in its only previous meeting with Winthrop on Nov. 21, 2003, is seeking its 24th consecutive home victory.