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John Calipari: “I’ve got to do a better job.”

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes beat UK for the second straight time in Knoxville Tuesday. (UT Athletics)


For Kentucky coach John Calipari, he hopes that Tuesday night’s 82-80 loss at Tennessee turns into a “great learning experience” for his team.

“I’d rather do it in a close win than a loss like this, but sometimes it takes you to get knocked in the head to say, ‘Please, let’s come together,'” Calipari said.

“I’ve got to do a better job. Look here’s what it is with coaching: I can sit here and say what I want, but if they’re playing a certain way that’s because they think they’re allowed to play that way, that I’m accepting it. So, all of it comes back to me.

‘I’ve got young guys. Either they don’t understand how I want them to play, or they’re not accepting it, and if they don’t accept it then I gotta do different things to try to get them to understand. Sometimes a loss gets them to understand, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you’ll make excuses that it was somebody else.”

Calipari has not changed his opinion about his team.

“We got good guys, we got a good team, we got post presence, we got some depth, we’ve got good guards. Tennessee was better than us tonight. They deserved to win the game,” Calipari said.

“It’s not that we got selfish guys, they’re playing – just playing – versus OK, what are we trying to do each trip down? We’ll see. This is going to be a tough road and it’s a tough learning thing. The good news is it’s still January. That’s what’s great.

“And this isn’t college football. This is get your team right. Last year I believe we came up here, had a big-time lead and they beat us and I think we did OK after that. So, hopefully it’s another good lesson.”



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  1. OMG….hard to find a starting point, but it is clear that Barnes now owns Cal and was a very superior coach, at least on this night. Cal has been very obnoxious all year with his ranting and raving and apparently hit his zenith last night. This was a total meltdown by a team and a coaching staff who seemed powerless to make adjustments. Do you remember a week or so ago when Cal lauded the recent practices of Tai and made the comment that he could be an answer for us and then he gets John Hooded. Briscoe has been playing “stink ball” for 3 games now and is a nut job, Willis seems happy with his one good game one bad game consistency, and apparently Humphries has not been told that the season has started yet and is a liability every time Cal shoves him out there. We apparently are now peaking for our March run. We are now not a Top 10 team. KU will K.O. UK team this weekend. Experience and talent will overcome talent and Team Chaos.

  2. It’s the old “Rocky Top” syndrome. By that I mean, I don’t care if it’s basketball, football, or ping pong, UT always seems to come out with more desire to win the game than UK does when the two teams meet anywhere, men or women. UT flat outplayed UK last night. I also do not think Fox was 100%, and Briscoe is in a “funk” right now. UT pretty much shut him down as well. Cal mentions his youth as an excuse for losing play all the time, yet his teams are always loaded with freshmen stars year in and year out by design, his. That excuse is sort of getting old. He did give UT a lot of credit. Barnes and his team deserved it too. UK had to little to late. Cal said had UK hit a three and won the game “it would have been a shame.” Really?

  3. We can talk how bad we looked last night, it’s over let move on there’s still plenty games left to get better some nights you have some nights you don’t part of game. were not the only top team got beat so it shows any given night you can get beat by anybody basketball is parity compare to years ago. The sun is shining bright today.

  4. Why does the player that hits 7 of 8 only get 8 shots, while the player who can’t throw it in the ocean for this game, takes 19??? Same reason they lost to West Virginia in 2011 when Knight went 9 for 20 and Harrellson was 7 for 10. Win more games shooting 70%-80% than 30%-40%. A couple of players on this team are always looking for the 3 and never looking inside. Until this is corrected, this team is as good as it will get. Yes, Monk and Fox are great players. Monk, when he is hot outside, Fox, when he is beating his man off the dribble. When that’s not happening, they need to find ways to get the ball to someone else that is. Bam should get 12-15 shots every game and this team learns what DEFENSE means or this team will not make it passed the Sweet 16.

    1. The player who took 19 shots ended up with 25 pts which he has done for several games.

      1. Efficiency is what matters. My mother is 76 and can score 25 on anybody if they give her enough shots. In a team sport an individuals points don’t matter if they are not efficient and playing as a team.

  5. I guess I can’t really talk because I rant and rave a lot myself, but at least I am not doing it in front of 10-20k people. Cal did not have himself or the team prepared to play last night, and we paid the price. The game was not as close as final result showed. Cal gets a lot of credit from many reporters and outside pundits about how good a coach he is. I will concede that, but I am not going to throw him in the “great” category. He gets by because of recruiting expertise and good coaching ability. I do wonder how many parents and parents of future prospects feel about his tirades on the floor which seem to be getting worse and more frequent. I think I biggest impediment to hanging many more banners in the rafters will be Cal’s “choking” like he did last night and other post season games and last night wasn’t a critical game. It is very tiring to continually hear him talking about discipline and youth in every interview. We possibly have the worse interior defense I have seen at UK in a long time and with exception of Bam we have no interior offense either.

    1. Cal’s antics on the side of the court are not as bad as some other coaches….I’d rather have Cal then bobby knightmare coaching my son and thankfully we don’t have to worry about him any longer.

    2. Has UK contacted you yet.?
      Someone with your level of expertise must be in demand…..somewhere……..for something !!

  6. Until lasts nights game which was hard to watch the previous games where we walked all over everyone were also hard to watch. There was no competition, it proved SEC basketball was weak. Last night should have been the same but instead we ended up being on the wrong end of the ball…Cal can blame himself for not having the guys ready, discipline or what ever it is that was off last night, but he did not miss the shots….he does need to get these kids to share more, there was only 14 assists and 14 to’s…that is shameful. Fouls were not the problem, only 20 but still too many if you ask me.
    we can sit and analyze and think abut what is wrong but we are not the coach. I’m still gonna enjoy this season even if we lose a couple more. We Are KENTUCKY. 1 loss in the SEC and everyone thinks it’s the end of the world, just hold on tight, get another seat belt if you need to, we might not make it to 9 but it is Kentucky basketball, don’t want to watch any other.

  7. I don’t know why somebody is worry about Cal’s ranting on the sideline to his players he’s being doing that since day one he came to ky.He’s trying to coach these kids to be better players. Cal not gonna be perfect and so is the players every team has a bad night and last night was one of them. I rather lose now then later. The WORLD IS STILL SPINNING!!!

  8. Things could be a lot worse. Remember who Cal replaced.

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