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.”