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John Calipari hopes “disappointing” loss will eventually help Kentucky

John Calipari hopes some way the loss to Utah will help Kentucky. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

LAS VEGAS — Will losing to Utah 69-66 here Wednesday night be good for Kentucky?

Coach John Calipari hopes so.

“A lot of times you win a game like this it hurts you more than it helps you. A lot of times you have to take it to understand that this is not going to work this way, and it’s not going to work for individuals either,” Calipari said after his team almost rallied to win after being down 17 points with 12 minutes to play.

Calipari admitted it was a “great win” that Utah deserved.

“It’s disappointing, but this stuff happens,” Calipari said.

Well, it’s happened twice now because last month Kentucky lost in Rupp Arena to Evansville, a team that lost by 26 points at Jacksonville State Monday. Utah had lost to Coastal Carolina and Tulane.

Utah had the lead for almost 38 minutes in this game and hit eight 3-pointers to only two for UK — which shot 17. The Utes also had as many rebounds as UK.

“I know this, you gotta fight. We fought to get back in the game. Then we fought – dove on the floor, we got after balls, we did some stuff. So why didn’t you start that way? Because you don’t think you have to fight,” Calipari said.

Why would the Cats think that? The coach had no way to explain it.

“How about they had three freshmen starting and two sophomores and they punched us in the mouth?” Calipari said. “So all this stuff about my young team? He has a young team, too. One guys weighs 250. Uh no, 195. The other guy weighs 260, no 210. They weren’t beasts that way.”

No they were not but they looked like beasts playing against UK because Utah had its way inside most of the game against older, more experienced UK players.

“What they did was they physically fought. They fought for position. They fought you on defense. They fought for rebounds. It’s what I’m trying to get my team to do,” Calipari said.

He’s been preaching that for weeks. So far, the Cats don’t seem to have bought in totally — something they better do before playing No. 5 Ohio State here Saturday or it could get ugly. Same with a home game Dec. 28 against No. 3 Louisville.

“My team, more than any team I’ve coached in the last five to seven years, needs each other,” Calipari said. “You have to do your job or we’re in trouble and most of that is battle. We all have to do this together.”

17 comments

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  1. The object of the game is to win the game. Losses are not good.

    Trying to convince oneself that losing is good is classic rationalization, and I find it sad hearing it from the head coach.

    Players taking opponents lightly, players talking out of school about an opponent, players unable to make shots, players who seem unable to recognize a good shot from a bad shot.

    All of these issues can and should be addressed so there will not be losses due to these excuses, and failure of coaches to teach and players to learn these lessons as a prevention against losses does not excuse the loss because some players might just understand the issue now that they have been force fed the products of defeat.

    1. Say what? All you guys that are on Calipari’s case after a close loss like this could be on to something. I guess Barnhart needs to just go ahead and fire Calipari, right? I hate to see UK lose anytime, but it happens, even after great effort. You can play good defense, and still lose if the shots ain’t falling. Some of you people are just a bunch of sore losers.

      1. Where did you see great effort? They had no idea what they were doing the first 3/4’s of the game. Don’t you get tired of coach saying “we got out played and out coached?” Have you ever seen a UK team miss as many in close shots and 3’s as Cal’s team last couple of years?

        1. I saw the game, and It was not a lack of effort IMO. It was poor shooting. It gets real tough on a young team when collectively they can’t buy a basket. I give Utah credit for a great win. Now, was that effort from UK that cut that Utah lead of 17 points on a horrible shooting night , tie the game after a double digit lead in the second half, and have a chance to win? If you are honest, yes it was.

          I’ll tell you what I’ll do Mike. I say UK beats OSU. If they don’t, I’ll leave this site for a year and join the hot shot Catmandoo in exile. Of course he has already broken his word. Shows you how good his word is now don’t it? /////// Now if UK beats OSU, you leave for a year. You game? You are so sure this UK team is a loser anyway, and their HOF Coach is a fraud, according to you. What do you have to lose? OSU is a great team. You in?

            • Mike on December 19, 2019 at 8:19 pm

            Duped by Cal…remember he said this would be his best shooting team and more makers than shooters.

          1. Yeah I thought you were all talk. You evidently don’t believe what you preach Cardinal man.

        2. Kentucky’s effort first 30 minutes left a lot to be desired to say the least

          1. They wound up losing by 3 points Larry V. And that on a dismal shooting night, and after being down by double digits, add that. If this team ever starts hitting open shots, they will be champions. We have seen that occur already this season. I still say the best is yet to come. I hope Calipari does leave UK. He deserves better than what he is getting from a few on this site. A group of cry babies.

      2. Pup, my word has never meant anything to you anyway so cry and scream all you want, but my love for Kentucky is too hard to ignore what the Professor, Mike, and so many more in BBN are coming to see. Calipari says he doesn’t have a clue about this team, the truth is he never has. A loss to unranked Evansville in Rupp Arena, a loss to unranked Utah on trip that never should have been scheduled except for Calipari’s insatiable need to say, Hey Look what I have done! He has embarrassed this university with his Las Vegas extravaganza. A loss to Ohio St. on Saturday and then a 4th loss to Louisville will show that Calipari is not a coach, he is nothing more than a Show Man feeding his own ego. The losses for this team will continue to pile up, even in a weak SEC. The 10 losses are coming. No SEC season crown or tournament title. A number 8 seed in the Big Dance if they even make it, but more probable an NIT bid that will last no more than 3 games. Enough is enough! Calipari needs to go on to the NBA or politics or just go. YOU need to go with him! Mitch Barnhart needs to talk with Calipari about finishing the season and then start the search for a new coach. You need to wake up to what everybody else already knows.

        1. Oh you are on record with Hornet1 on the permanent ban, but you wouldn’t honor that either. I didn’t think you would honor your word. This proves it. You are a piece of work dude. Your are a chicken shit Catmandoo, all talk. There are still a few Calipari fans around, you can believe that.

          Fire the guy then, he don’t need UK. But no matter who UK would hire you would be smarter than the next coach is. After a couple losses, you would be crying for his head too. This site has turned into nothing but a bash Calipari site from many. And after all the talent and success the man has brought to this program. I hope you get your wish. UK is turning into a football school now anyway, which is the perfect setting for the conference they play in. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

  2. If the past 10 yrs of Cal are a downer for anyone wanting to get rid of him, then I just don’t see that as reasonable…JMHO.

  3. Who ever the coach is they still wouldn’t be happy. Just typical losers.

  4. Just because a few of you can’t take the heat when some of us call out bad play and coaching allow me to say that we are achievers and not losers. We want the best for this team and the BBN but we also expect them to live up to their expectations and star ranking they came here with. If the talent really isn’t there then that is on Cal and staff, and I do question the talent that has been put on the floor. Cal talks about having to play against the physicality of 250-260 lb players yet he is unable to bring any beef to Lexington. He seems more content recruiting 6’9″ – 6’11” stilts with good length but limited heart, motors, IQ, and scoring ability. Cal has made some ridiculous statements over the years, but he totally insulted our intelligence with the proclamation that this year’s team might be his best shooting team and that there were more makers than shooters. Apparently there are 300 or so teams out there that shoot the 3 better than we do. Evidence so far is that we are pretenders more than contenders. This is on Cal. He is still a great recruiter and ambassador for UK but continues to lose traction with his inability to mold the talent he has and doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of help with other staff on the bench.

    1. You are full crap Mike. Like I said, Cal don’t need UK, but UK needs him if we expect to bring in top talent, which he has done now for 10 plus years. He’ll coach somewhere until he hangs it up. I hope it’s UK. You are a gutless wonder boy. If you really believed all that BS above you would take my CHALLENGE.

      1. Ha Ha……knew that would get you going this a.m. You constantly run around with a target on your back and I love it. Cal is great recruiter and average coach. How many 5*’s did Evansville and Utah have? There are many coaches out there that could take this same talent Cal gets and have better results. He is correct that we do need Fight & Finish, but right now neither is on display.

        1. Hey, Mr. Cardinal, since your brother is back, breaking his word, you have suddenly developed diarrhea of the mouth. GO CATS!!! No. 9 on the way.

            • Mike on December 20, 2019 at 6:46 pm

            You stay an easy target.

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