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Kevin Knox “not really” worried about UK’s NCAA Tournament status being in doubt after another loss

Kevin Knox (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

John Calipari pointed out that Kentucky’s strength of schedule and RPI are both very solid after UK lost 85-74 at Texas A&M Saturday night.

He did that knowing that many are starting to question whether UK will be in the NCAA Tournament. The Cats are still safely in the tourney today, but they also have road games at Auburn, Arkansas and Florida. Home games remain with Alabama, Missouri and Ole Miss. As of today, Auburn, Florida, Alabama and Missouri are all above UK in the SEC standings.

Kentucky freshman Kevin Knox, who had 18 points against Texas A&M, didn’t seem alarmed about UK’s NCAA position.

“We have to play a complete 40 minutes to win games but this will be a learning experience for us to get ready for March,” Knox said.

So he doesn’t feel like the team’s back is against the wall and has work to do just to make sure it reaches the NCAA?

“No, not really. Coach tells us even after losses to come out and play like you won. We just have to figure out how to get there. We have a lot of guys that really want to get there and play in March,” Knox said.

What team doesn’t?

In fairness, Kansas lost Saturday. So did Oklahoma. So did No. 2 Virginia as it fell at home to Virginia Tech, a team UK beat earlier this season.

Duke has had recent issues, too, including that shocking loss to St. John’s

“I thought they made us look bad, but we made ourselves look bad. We did not play basketball the first 32 minutes worthy of our program. And we had blank faces, we didn’t talk, we were like five individuals out there, and it was disgusting, really,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said after that loss. “I do not know why. I can tell you, that’s not the group I’ve coached all year, and they were a very frustrating group to coach today because they didn’t respond to anything until the last eight minutes, and that’s unacceptable.”

That’s about what Calipari had to say after Saturday’s loss. He said he was tired, not frustrated.

“I feel bad for individual players when they play like they did (tonight),” Calipari said.

The numbers would back him up, but the problem is he has nowhere else to turn. The roster is what it is.

Calipari also wisely admitted not to be tricked by the way UK finished the game and cut into the lead. In the words of another former UK coach, that was fool’s gold.

“They were just trying to run the clock out, so no,” Calipari said when asked if there was anything late in the game to build on for his team. “There just is not enough pride and fight. They have to trust each other and trust what this program is about.”

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  1. This team has lost 3 in a row, and Wednesday night it is likely to be 4 in a row. Next Saturday, when Alabama comes to Rupp, this team is vulnerable to 5 in a row, and should that happen, it will grow to 6 in a row when the Cats go to Arkansas.

    6 in a row, returning home to face a Missouri team that man handled this team last week, and regardless of the Rupp court, there is no assurance that it won’t grow to 7 in a row.

    Then there is Ole Miss (the worst team in the SEC this year) at Rupp for the traditional “Senior Day” Oh wait, we don’t have any seniors do we, so I guess its’ “Been nice seeing you guys, and maybe I will watch you in the NBA Day”

    If they don’t stop losing that night, then it will be 9 in a row going into the SEC tournament.

    Yes, yes, yes, I know I should not be speaking this way about our beloved UK basketball team, but the remarks by Coach Calipari and Kevin Knox are just as outrageous.

    This team this morning is flirting with the NCAA bubble, and with 3 more losses over the next 6, will be teetering toward the NIT side of that bubble without a deep run in the SEC Tournament.

    Yet, does anyone think Knox, Diallo, Richards, Green, Gabriel, Gilgeous-Alexander have any doubt that they will each be playing for pay next fall?

    1. Its getting worse instead of better so nobody should be surprised that there will be no first round picks from this team and possibly only 2 second rounders if that. The offseason should be a time to commit to serious strength training and conditioning for every who is coming back and the newcomers too. Cal never has been big on beefing up his guys but it will help to adapt to the physicality that everyone else brings to a UK game. Those who are willing need to move on one way or another.

      1. Typo..those who aren’t willing need to move on.

  2. Does this team look like they have any resemblance of looking like winners coming off all these losses? I still see the same lack of effort, emotionless apathy, and bad body language. Knox seems more concerned with big paycheck coming and less about winning and commitment to team.

  3. We just gotta hold our breath and see what happens. I still got faith in them to turn things around. But time is running out.

  4. Does anyone on this team even break a sweat? I don’t see any effort from most of these players; they are just going through the motions and think because they are at UK, they are automatically going to the tournament. There is not a single player on this team that could start for any of UK’s previous teams under Cal; with the exception being the 2012-13 squad, but even that is debatable. This is definitely the lowest Basketball IQ squad I can remember in a very long time.

    1. Now you are making too much good sense. I had read earlier about a couple of words describing this team so I can’t take credit, but the words were no “skill” and no “fortitude”. Now how accurate is that? It looks like Knox will definitely be gone, and I hope someone is foolish enough to take Richards and Washington. IMO none of the three are positive assets in the locker room or on the floor. It is very easy to wonder what ITH this high priced coaching staff does during the week in practices because they get 0 return on game day. I have watched and rooted for UK BB for approximately 50 yrs. and have forgotten many teams in the process, but I have never seen such inept execution in all phases of any team I try to remember

  5. This may be UK but they are not automatically going to the NCAA Tournament this year. Yet, Kevin Knox’s and Coach Calipari’s comments seem to suggest such a believe permeates within that locker room.

    What happened to Calipari’s usual message that nothing is given, all must be earned? Now, sitting on the brink of not having earned it, now it is simply expected?

    Coach, the inconsistency is unexpected from you.

  6. Larry, thanks for pointing out the other elite teams that lost yesterday. We should all remember that this is the way of college basketball this season and that we are not the only team that is struggling. I have to believe that the kids want to win as badly as we want them to win. Coach Cal has to stay positive with them , what choice does he have? He cares as much or more than we fans do. I believe, as spoiled fans, we let our pride get in the way.

    1. Well said Catfanjudi couldn’t said it any better.

  7. UK players didn’t look like they wanted to win to much when they wouldn’t hustle back back on defense, while letting A&M players run right past them to the basket and score time and time again Sat night. That is just a lack of effort. Perhaps they are not as conditioned as they should be this time of year. All I know is that something is wrong.

  8. Pup…..you are making this look like this has only been happening 1 game.

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