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Calipari admits he will probably “find four, five things” he should have tried against Auburn

John Calipari admitted he would second guess every decision he made Sunday. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Just as he probably has every season-ending loss at Kentucky, coach John Calipari will spend some time second guessing himself after Sunday’s Elite Eight loss to Auburn in Kansas City.

“It just stings, but this is part of sports,” said Calipari Sunday. “I feel sick, feel sick for these kids. I’ll go back, is there anything else we could have done, is there any other ways we could have played?

“I tried just about everything, but I’ll probably find four, five things I should have done or tried. Right now, couldn’t tell you what those are, but I probably will spend some time that way with myself.”

One thought that will  haunt him could be UK’s foul shooting. The Cats were 12 of 21 from the line but made only five of their last 13 — and didn’t get to the foul line as often as Auburn.

Kentucky shot 13 free throws the first half, but only four in the second half before the overtime. Either Kentucky quit being aggressive on offense or Auburn quit fouling. For the game, Auburn shot 24 free throws and made 18 while UK attempted 21.

“Stuff happens. I mean it’s just — it happens. Let me say this: All that set aside, we still could have won the game. One play, one shot, one rebound. I’ll say this to everyone here: The hard thing when you’re coaching young kids like really young, that when we had four days to prepare for Houston, we could really dig down and drill and drill,” Calipari said.

“When you have 36 hours and you say do not let them drive right and you show them on tape, you go over it but you don’t have time — they shot 15 layups right-handed today. Do not let them — the last one they just drove in and went right and shot it.

“Again, when you’re talking 17 and 18-year-old kids, there’s going to be slippage sometime. The same with free throw shooting. Sometimes you get up against it and you miss some shots.”

 

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  1. UK actually played well enough to win IMO. Auburn’s shooting was off, especially their 3 point shooting. UK lost against Auburn at the foul line, that simple. They lost by 6 and missed 9 free throws in doing so. I also think the officiating was a little tilted toward Auburn (I know excuses, excuses) but that is the way I saw it. There was lots of pushing and shoving by Auburn defenders all day with no calls. Auburn was also better on the free throw line making 18 ft’s, six more than UK made, the final point spread. I also thought UK did not protect the rim, and allowed Auburn guards easy drives to the basket for layups. I also think Montgomery and Richards should have played more maybe, but it is hard to take Washington and Travis out in the heat of battle. Basketball sucks. Bring on UK football.

  2. GO Auburn, raise the SEC banner high!!!!

    1. War Eagle !!!

  3. The morning after can be very cruel and does leave a very sick feeling. It was hard to hear some of the players say and confirm that they wanted it more than we did. It was hard to believe that Cal said he tried everything to win this game. Some of the national scribes are calling it a choke job. This is not a typical UK team that has progressed thru March with visible improvement like most of Cal’s teams. Auburn was playing and coaching at a higher level at end of season than we were. They made jump shots, foul shots, and defended the interior better than we did…GAME

  4. I think Cal needs to bring in an Assistant that can really help with his offense. His UK teams usually play pretty good defense, but his offense is usually lacking. I don’t think Cal ever has over 1 sometimes 2 players you can really count on for offense, yet he recruits players that are supposed to very good at creating shots, getting to the basket, or hitting open jumpers.
    Herro, Johnson, Quickley, and Baker were all supposed to be very good outside shooters, yet when they get to UK, they aren’t a consistent threat from anywhere.
    Cal needs someone that can build an offense based on the players he has to work with and be consistent.
    For an example, I heard Auburn had 7 players hit at least 3 three pointers in the tournament. UK barely has 7 players to hit a 3 all season.

  5. I believe Cal even said this would be one of, if not the best, shooting team he has had at UK. OldFan might be right that Cal obviously could use extra help because we have too many players that weren’t coached up this year. Herro improved big time with his defense but what other player really showed consistent productivity thruout the year? Baker really didn’t show much with minutes he was given and Nick and EJ both got yesterday exactly what they earned during the year. Yes, Cal could have used both for blocks and some rim protection, but they both would have given more points via foul proneness than they would have saved. They both have shown that they are offensively challenged and unmotivated. I would be ok if they both decided to massage the transfer portal.

  6. Brad Calipari graduates in two more years. Don’t be surprised when his dad leaves with him.

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