By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky coach John Calipari admitted on his weekly radio show Monday night that he had underestimated the defensive deficiencies he had seen from his team during its exhibition games in the Bahamas in August.
He thought his team would be better defensively now than it has been and plans to change that in the weeks ahead, something his players know they must accept.
“We’re all disappointed as far as keeping guys in front of us, moving our feet, blocking shots. There’s just a lot of opportunities were seeing on film and a lot of things that we want to do the right thing and putting in a lot of effort to do the right thing, then we get in a game and a lot of the work were putting in just isn’t showing as much as it should right now and that’s the frustrating part,” Kentucky senior Reid Travis said.
“We’re putting in the hours and we’re doing it in practice, then we get to the game and there’s lapses so it’s frustrating but it’s not something we can’t work through. It’s going to be nice to have another game on film to really look at where we are messing up and going in and trying to get better.”
Kentucky hosts Monmouth Wednesday night. The Cats are 5-1 after losing by 34 points to Duke to open the season but have not been overly impressive in any of the five wins.
“The expectation is raised. In high school, maybe you can trade baskets and maybe you had more talent than the other guy so you end up outscoring them by the end of the game, but in college you can’t trade baskets,” Travis said.
“If the team’s defending you, then they’re stopping you from scoring and then you’re just letting them score at the other end. That’s when games become toss-ups and games are closer than they should when you play certain teams. For us, it’s not expected to out-talent and outscore teams but just really defending teams.”