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Bruce Pearl: “We got manhandled” in loss at Kentucky

After Auburn dismantled North Carolina 97-80 Friday night in Kansas City and put six players in double figures to move into Sunday’s Elite Eight, coach Bruce Pearl immediately got a couple of questions relating to Kentucky — which is playing Houston  now

Q. The second straight defeat of a blue blood. You have a chance, depending on if Kentucky wins, on knocking off the top three schools all time in wins. What do you think about that?
BRUCE PEARL: I take it one at a time. You know, for me seeing Houston and Kentucky in a Sweet 16 game, I was at Boston College in 1982 — actually it was ’81. I think we played a Hakeem Olajuwon in St. Louis for the Midwest Regional Championship. To me, Houston is kind of a blue blood also because of the great Guy Lewis, incredible rich and history of tradition. It will be a challenge regardless who advances.

Q. Bruce, understanding that it’s still early, how do you feel about Sunday’s matchup, whether it’s Houston or whether it’s Kentucky?
BRUCE PEARL: We played Kentucky, and they physically overwhelmed us in Lexington. We actually went into that game playing pretty well, and we got manhandled.

We haven’t lost since that game in late February. The lesson there was we didn’t — because we respect Kentucky so much and we recognize they had a great night, these guys weren’t destroyed. Kentucky really beat us. We didn’t play great, but we got it handed to us because they played so well.

I know Kelvin Sampson is a great coach, one of the most underrated coaches in our game, and I would say this is going to be a great matchup of two really good defenses. Coach Cal does a phenomenal job with his defense. Both teams play hard. I don’t think we’ll get near 97 or 80.


  1. A win is a win, but it should have never been in doubt like it was. It seems that our kryptonite is a double digit lead against teams that have unconscious 3 point shooters. If you live by the 3 you can just as easily lose by the 3. Maybe this will be a wakeup call that we pay attention to and bring our A game on Sunday. It would really suck to lose to Auburn and deny Reid the chance to play in the Final 4 in his home state. Surely Auburn can’t keep shooting lights out. Hopefully PJ will be able to play on Sunday, but why he won’t rebound is beyond me. It would be nice to get to the Final 4 again. It would be great to see Reid have 2 great games there to close out his college playing days, but we have to win on Sunday first. Congrats on the win, but we will need to play better from here on.

    1. You are right Catmandoo, UK does need to play better, but it don’t matter if they keep winning does it? The Professor’s analysis had UK winning against Houston by a mere 6 points, so I will gladly take a 4 point win. Houston was a great team, and Sampson can coach. I was not real sure UK could beat this Houston team, especially if PJ was not able to play, but they did. Elite 8 has a nice ring to it now..

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