By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky is preparing to open Southeastern Conference play Saturday afternoon at Alabama and is obviously playing the best it has all season with wins over North Carolina in Chicago and over Louisville in the Yum Center.
It’s the kind of play Kentucky fans — and probably players — expected when UK went to the Bahamas for four exhibition games in August and just dominated the competition.
At the time coach John Calipari warned UK fans not to be “intoxicated” by what they saw because the team had flaws that were certainly evident when the Cats opened the season with a 34-point loss to Duke. However, after the Louisville win, Calipari did something rare — he admitted he might have overestimated his team.
“There were things that happened (in the Bahamas) and I said I’m not intoxicated by what happened down there but I probably was,” Calipari said. “The beginning of this year we were a bad defensive team. We had a bunch of unwilling passers.
“In other words, I’m only passing if I don’t have a shot. We had guys that were so focused on themselves that they couldn’t play for us.”
The “intoxicated” Calipari admitted he “missed” the shortcomings his team had.
“But after I saw it I was like alright we’re going back to these things and we’re going to get better at this stuff,” Calipari said.
Of course, he couldn’t stay totally serious when admitting he had likely overestimated his team to start the season.
“There are times I make mistakes. I think it was 1978? 77 or 78? Something like that,” Calipari joked. “If you screw up you’ve got to start all over.
“But these kids are doing exactly what I’m asking them to do so if it’s not working don’t be mad at them. No one should get mad at these kids. They’re 18 and 19-year-olds. They’re just out of high school.”