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Calipari on Vols: “They’re not overrated. Probably underrated.”

John Calipari tells fans not to chant “overrated” to Tennessee. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Not only was Tennessee ranked No. 1 in the nation, but the Vols had won 19 straight games and were unbeaten in Southeastern Conference play before Kentucky won 86-69 Saturday night in Lexington.

After Kentucky once had a 24-point lead and clearly had the game won, UK students and fans started that infamous “overrated” chant. But Kentucky coach John Calipari wanted none of that and signaled for fans to stop — and they did.

“I know how good Tennessee is and that’s why I told our fans, enough of the they’re overrated. They’re not overrated. Probably underrated,” Calipari said. “People don’t realize.

“When you have a team like that that’s been together, that their assist-to-turnover ratio is off the charts, when they create shots for each other, like they do, when they’re that physical with an inside and an outside game, where they don’t rely on 3’s. They only shoot 18 threes a game, like us. We shot 13 today. They shot a bunch more today. But on average they’re shooting 17 or 18.

“They’re not winning shooting 3. They’re winning playing basketball and they’re unbelievable defensively and we got them today, but we got to go up to Knoxville. Do we have to go up to Knoxville?
”

Yes, Kentucky does go to Knoxville March 2 for an atmosphere that will be likely as intense as what the Vols faced in front of over 24,000 fans Saturday night.

Credit the Vols for making no excuses about their defeat.

“We were exposed tonight for things that we’ve talked about like defending and rebounding,” Tennessee junior Grant Williams said.

“From the jump, we weren’t aggressive, and we didn’t establish our inside game,” Tennessee’s Jordan Bowden said. “It was hard to flip that script in the second half. We didn’t come out intense enough like we were supposed to. We settled a lot in the beginning, we couldn’t get inside.

“But, they did a good job shrinking the court and getting the ball. I feel like there was a point where we just hit a wall mentally and we just folded. We hit a tired point in the first half and we just didn’t push through like we normally do. So, we have to learn from that.”

 

3 comments

  1. I am very impressed with Coach stopping the crowd with their “overrated chant”.
    Then on the other hand How can the number one rating be “probably underrated”?

    1. This is a rivalry game, so let the fans enjoy themselves is what I say Coach. Calipari nor Stoops either one seem to understand that beating Tennessee in anything is a big deal for UK fans since many times UK loses to that bunch from Knoxville. UT definitely has Stoops’ number. Calipari’s teams had been on the wrong side of the score several times in the past coming in to last nights game too. Not many thought UK could beat that bunch wearing that puke colored orange. The chant was all done in fun. It’s a game, a mere game, get over it. If that is all these players from UT will have too face in life they will be extremely blessed. Calipari was just trying to console his old buddy Barnes and called out his own fans for engaging in a little ribbing. Now lets see how UK gets treated in two weeks in Knoxville. I don’t like hearing “Rocky Top” all day either But I endure it. Much to do about nothing.

  2. We were the first ranked team that UT had played since that early December game with Gonzaga. Tennessee may not be the team every says. Its not hard to look good against inferior competition. They go to LSU, Ole Miss, and Auburn and have Miss. St. and us again in Knoxville. Those 5 games will tell what caliber a team UT is.

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