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Calipari accepts blame for humiliating loss to Duke

You’ve gotta give John Calipari this: when his teams struggle, he doesn’t hesitate to shoulder the blame. After Kentucky’s humiliating loss to Duke, Calipari took to social media this afternoon to tell an upset Big Blue Nation this loss is on him.

“I’ve been in early season games like this one and been on both sides,” Cal tweeted. “Duke deserves a lot of the credit. They were outstanding. Having said that, we weren’t prepared physically or mentally as I thought we would be, and that’s on me.

“I can assure you this has humbled our team and our staff. I can also assure you that I wouldn’t trade this team for anyone and I can’t wait until we start clicking collectively. When players try to establish themselves, that kind of game is usually what you get. One unit, one heartbeat, and it’s always a process.”

The 34-point loss was the worst of Calipari’s tenure at Kentucky, which Jeff Goodman was all too happy to point out in the postgame press conference.

“I think, I’m not sure, but I think it is the worst loss of your career–” Goodman started.

“Is it? So why would you be the one to remind me? It would probably come from you,” Cal quipped.

Last night, Cal said he’s giving his guys today off before regrouping. Interestingly, he’s also giving them tomorrow off from media duties. Usually, two players meet with reporters to preview the next matchup before or after Calipari’s regular pregame remarks, but not tomorrow. On the heels of Reid Travis being the only Kentucky player at the postgame presser (there are usually two), it appears the younger guys are getting some time to lick their wounds.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

71 responses to “Calipari accepts blame for humiliating loss to Duke”

  1. BigolBlue

    As he should. Only reason he didnt blame it on his youth because Duke had all freshman. The guy is trending down and his seat should be hot. The last 3 seasons have been let downs.

    1. timbo

      Hope the same measure is used against you, Eager Beaver.

    2. davis2319

      Agree 100%. Last national championship 7 years ago this April. Similar drought got Tubby canned. It’s all fine and dandy that we get players to the NBA. However, with our 30 something NBA guys, numerous first round picks, and max contracts, how many of them won a national championship while here?

    3. Parker_UKFanNC

      This is a joke. Who is hades is better than Cal out there right now that would continue to have our program be a contender year in and out.

    4. BBNDan7

      Omg shut up. How was a 2 seed and a buzzer beater away from the final 4 a “let down”?

    5. bigblue2284

      Because we didn’t go to ff? I mean if you don’t see that as a let down I can’t help you.

    6. 4everUKblue

      None of us need your help bigblue.

    7. TNCat

      Coach K has been coaching 38 years at Duke and has won 5 titles. 38 years. John wooden spent a ton of years at ucla before he won one. If cal stayed 20 more years likely he has more titles. Plus if all you haters know how to coach better then apply for the job I guess.

    8. bigblue2284

      I think you do if you don’t understand that recruiting has fallen off and the product has been awful for two years at least. I watch awful and I mean awful basketball for 90% of the season while the freshman “figure it out” enough to win two tournament games.

    9. bigblue2284

      TN cat I don’t recall K bragging about all the talent he was putting into the league. Cal loves to brag about draft picks and talent but doesn’t have the titles to back it up.

    10. 4everUKblue

      We don’t pay recruits her at Kentucky, here’s why K started paying.

      2017 – 2nd round loss to USC as 2 seed
      2016 – 3rd round loss to Oregon as a 4 seed
      2014 – 1st round loss to Mercer as 3 seed
      2012 – 1st round loss to Lehigh as 2 seed
      2007 – 2nd round loss to WVU as 2 seed
      2006 – 1st round loss to VCU as 6 seed

    11. wyatts1

      I agree coach cal needs to step it up and maybe find a fresh approach cause something has happened the last 2 seasons. I just don’t see no heart, but don’t make the mistake in thinking if UK got another coach that getting lesser quality players would solve our problems lol. This team is young (sorry I had to) but this team is gonna be a great team just as soon as they start playing as a team. Like coach said, I like my team!! He knows basketball so relax and give him time, we’re always better towards the end of the year anyways (exception last year). But I do wisht we had a legit rim protector.

    12. tgoff

      What you haters/idiots need to understand that despite the talented teams we have freshmen every year and start over. These kids are “the man” against HS competition. Then they come to college where almost everyone they play was “the man on their team”. The playing field becomes very open at that point. I love the talent Cal recruits but if they don’t stay more than a year then we’re reduced to only hope for the next year. Freshmen will not sustain wins against a team of JR’s and SR’s. We’ll be much better off when the one and done’s is gone. We still have a full season of basket and a chance for the freshmen to learn. No coach will win championships with new freshman every year so your expectations of that are stupidity. I’d love to win a championship every year but common sense tells me that’s never going to happen!

  2. Eazy19035597

    It going to be a great story


      Yeah, Aaron Harrison said that during the post-game of the awful loss to an awful SC team, and after dropping 3 of the last four in SEC play. As it turned out, they made things interesting in the post-season, but ultimately failed. Moral of the story: All stories with bad endings suck.

  3. 2Dogs

    Somebody please tell Cal most of the rational fans are still with him and this year’s team. Ugly game and a real eye opener in terms of the discrepancy between UK and Duke on 11-6-18. Duke was mighty impressive and our defense and offensive execution were pretty non-existent. However, I’ll take this team in March and I think we can use this game to motivate us should we meet Duke again in March. For those that want to jump ship feel free to bounce.

    1. JTHinton

      Finally, Someone is being rational! It’s one game!!! I still love this team, BBN!

    2. bigblue2284

      I love the fans who are defending the hot pile of garbage we seen last night. This wouldn’t be such a let down if mr draft lottery had won something since 2012 with all his talent.

    3. Booby Petrino

      Talent? You trolls keep saying he can’t get top tier recruits anymore, now you’re bitching about NBA talent. “we seen” lord have mercy that says enough about you as a person.

    4. 4everUKblue

      A hot pile of garbage bigblue? No one here is defending you. There are plenty of other programs if this one doesn’t suit you. You won’t be missed.

    5. bigblue2284

      I’m sorry no other way to discribe what I seen last night. As far as talent goes yes cal has had talent and not won titles, hate all you want but give any other top tier coach that talent they win multiple titles.

    6. bigblue2284

      Fact is the last two teams now have been borderline awful.

    7. 4everUKblue

      Well bigblue what I “seen” was the first game of the season, there are a couple more games left.

    8. 4everUKblue

      Is the the top tier talent you’re talking about? In case you don’t recognize it, this is Duke.

      2017 – 2nd round loss to USC as 2 seed
      2016 – 3rd round loss to Oregon as a 4 seed
      2014 – 1st round loss to Mercer as 3 seed
      2012 – 1st round loss to Lehigh as 2 seed
      2007 – 2nd round loss to WVU as 2 seed
      2006 – 1st round loss to VCU as 6 seed

    9. bigblue2284

      Missing a couple chips in there.

    10. bigblue2284

      It was also Dukes first game of the year and we would have lost by 50 if K didn’t stop the carnage.

  4. Cmart0907

    Cals top recruiting classes , his 30 win seasons , his Mc Donald’s all Americans. None of that matter if he can’t produce on the court when it matters. It’s all irrelevant. Haven’t reached a final four since 2015. When will Calipari adjust and change his coaching style for these kids? No way in hell we should’ve been dominated the WHOLE GAME!!!

    1. Booby Petrino

      Omg haven’t reached a FF since 2015?there have been three FF since then. Holy crap, thanks for pointing out how terrible Cal is. No FF in the past three years, what a loser.

    2. 4everUKblue

      Before Cal came there was a 10 year absence from the FF. Do I need to remind you how many we’ve been to since then. You do realize Duke didn’t even get a sniff of the FF the last two seasons with the best collection of talent in the country.

    3. 4everUKblue

      This is what makes K such a great coach?

      2017 – 2nd round loss to USC as 2 seed
      2016 – 3rd round loss to Oregon as a 4 seed
      2014 – 1st round loss to Mercer as 3 seed
      2012 – 1st round loss to Lehigh as 2 seed
      2007 – 2nd round loss to WVU as 2 seed
      2006 – 1st round loss to VCU as 6 seed

    4. bigblue2284

      Chips make K great fyi

  5. chris43

    I think we’ll be fine and make a deep run in the tourney. But in all honesty if Duke plays like that all year they won’t take many losses if any. I’m a big Cal supporter and always have been. The only thing I wish he’d change is to go after a few more shooters. Getting Tyler Herro was a great step in right direction imo.

    1. channell

      Cal said earlier that he did recruit shooters on this team and he did, but not scorers. Big difference. he said he learned his lesson from last year. Maybe not.

  6. channell

    Let’s bring Brad back from his redshirt status. Maybe he can score and play defense. Seriously this team has been practicing for 3 months. The last 2 games should have been an alarm because the defense was AWOL. Surely no one thought UK would beat Duke without defense. I believe Cal’s main goal at UK is how many can he send to the NBA. Everything else is secondary. Fans started grumbling last year. More of the same to come.

  7. jim tom

    Here’s a novel suggestion. Why don’t you recruit some players who can actually shoot the basketball

    1. Booby Petrino

      He probably hasn’t thought of that, you’re a genius. He probably should’ve thought about recruiting Zion too. Oh wait…

    2. jim tom

      Round ball round hole. We don’t have players that can consistently do that very well

    3. 4everUKblue

      Booby there’s no talking to jim bob, he has all the answers.

  8. letsroll76

    Wish I had Cal 7 million dollar stress problem.

  9. notFromhere

    He’s right. It is on him. Can the leopard change his spots? Will he prepare them fully, or will he continue to not scout the teams he plays? He’s got the rest of it pretty well figured out. Would love to see the complete package

  10. KYCat4EVER

    This is news? Coach CAL has no other alternative than take full responsibility. I mean what’s he gonna do… blame a lack of BBN support at the game? Now… what I don’t understand is Coach Cal’s statement:
    “When players try to establish themselves, that kind of game is usually what you get. One unit, one heartbeat, and it’s always a process.”

    Well Coach Cal… why didn’t the four Duke Freshman exhibit this “process” last night like our Cats did?
    This explanation is just one more excuse to hide the clear fact that Coach K out coached YOU!

    1. justaregulardude

      2014 – 1st round loss to Mercer as 3 seed
      2012 – 1st round loss to Lehigh as 2 seed
      2007 – 2nd round loss to WVU as 2 seed
      2006 – 1st round loss to VCU as 6 seed
      Any of those losses get Coach Krzkekckvwi#$% fired?

    2. RAGE

      That is a good statement… I am a huge Coach Cal fan even before he came to UK…. But man I was frustrated to no end last night…. But I still have confidence cause if we lose it this early the season will be a wash…. Plus two years ago in SEC regular season play I thought the team had fell apart… then we were one shot from a final four… I said then I would keep my confidence so I am going to try and do that now…. Even in this really dark time

    3. Aar

      In the Bahamas the Cats played sleflessly. Then they went home, listened to their handlers who told the y’all are great, go back and get yours. Establish yourSELF. At every event since they have played selfishly. I’m certain Cal and staff have been barking teamwork, extra ass, talk on D to them but the handlers have continued to stroke egos and they have been doing things the easy way. It takes an embarrassment to break that crap. Guess what? It’s now on them to get back to team basketball and listening to their coaches.

    4. 4everUKblue

      Great point regular dude but you forgot Duke lost in:
      2016 – sweet 16 lost to Oregon
      2017 – round of 32 lost to South Carolina

    5. 4everUKblue

      Maybe this will make it easier to see. This is what makes K such a great coach?

      2017 – 2nd round loss to USC as 2 seed
      2016 – 3rd round loss to Oregon as a 4 seed
      2014 – 1st round loss to Mercer as 3 seed
      2012 – 1st round loss to Lehigh as 2 seed
      2007 – 2nd round loss to WVU as 2 seed
      2006 – 1st round loss to VCU as 6 seed

  11. KYjellyRoll

    What was wrong with jamerl baker

  12. BoogieCuz15

    Sure offense looks rusty – 5 out of the 9 players in the rotation last night were freshman. And our offense struggles early every year. What I can’t seem to get over is the fact that we gave up 118 pts in a college basketball game! 3 returning contributors, a graduate transfer and two “elite” on ball defenders in Keldon Johnson and Ashton Hagans… no excuse. When has a Cal defense looked so bad? We didn’t ask them to learn a Syracuse Zone or a Louisville Press this early – we asked them to play man to man defense which they have been doing their entire life. It wasn’t a lack of preparation last night it was a lack of effort. Hopefully in the end this is a wake up call for the players and is used for motivation on our way to 10, because at the moment last night feels like torture.

    1. BoogieCuz15

      9* sorry can’t count today…

    2. Truth_Hurts

      I agree. I don’t think offense looked that bad. Defense if you want to call it that, was non existent.

    3. RAGE

      I just wanna say that DUKE hasn’t been to a final four since 2015 either to my knowledge… Unless I ain’t remembering right and Duke going into the last 2 seasons have been the overwhelming favorite to cut down the nets and they haven’t… Don’t get me wrong I am as upset and frustrated as anybody…. I agree with BoogieCuz 15 offense wasn’t the problem… We scored 84 points that usually translates to a win… We simply got out played and out hustled… we had no effort DUKE simply wanted it more and whipped us… We didn’t look like the same team in the Bahamas last night… Bad shots and no communication on either side of the ball

  13. ukbradstith

    2016, 2017, 2018…no final fours, didn’t win conference with tons of draft picks and superior talent. Seat should be hot. Oh wait, that’s actually coach k…

  14. runningunnin.454

    Well, regroup and refocus and move forward. The only optimistic thing that comes to mind is that in ’74, we played Indiana early in the season and they whipped us by 24 points…wasn’t really that close.
    In the NCAA tournament that same year we beat them, ended their undefeated season, and sent them home.

    1. symphonist41169


    2. runningunnin.454

      That’s what I said, December ’74, and then we beat them in March ’75 NCAA Mideast Regional Final.

  15. jim tom

    That’s what you get when your starting point guard should still be in high school wherre maybe he could actually learn to shoot for another year

  16. KYjellyRoll

    Any update on baker?


      I’m guessing a medical redshirt, then a transfer….and we’ll never hear anything else about him ever again.

    2. KYjellyRoll

      I sure hope baker doesn’t redshirt. He’s currently holding a scholarship spot that could be filled by a player that could contribute…

  17. ibescootch

    I’d be willing to bet a HUGE amount of money that most of you complaining about Cal and this team were exactly the same losers who have been whining about our football team, you know, the best one in the past 40 years. Since your standards are so high, why don’t you go find another team to follow? Like Duke, since apparently they’re up to the standard you think we should be. Go ahead, we won’t miss you.

  18. katmandue2you

    Chill the freak out kids. Crazy shit often happens in sport. Duke is a great team no doubt but that game was a total aberration. We’re the roles reversed I sure wouldn’t wanna face Duke in the tournament after giving them a smack down of that proportion. Truth is no one truly knows how this season will play out for either team. There’s one thing that pisses me off and it’s how Duke was all business in the tunnel waiting to take the court and we were dancing and mugging for the camera. They were ready to ball and we were ready to showboat. We weren’t ready to play.

    1. RAGE

      Very well said Katmandue2….. I thought the same thing last night… might end up being a good thing being humbled and humiliated… Heads may have gotten to big after the Bahamas trip and beating up old men!!!!!

    2. dcforuk

      Valid point. The only mistake is the mistake not learned from. Hopefully, we learned a lot last night!

    3. notFromhere

      Mic drop, Katmandue. I didn’t get to watch the pregame. It was already 3-0 when I tuned in. Thanks for that insight

  19. dcforuk

    The challenge of every person/leader is balancing humility with pride. If you don’t choose humility, it will be chosen for you which usually is humiliating. Cal is doing what a leader should do……..own it for your team so you can get past it and move. I’m sure he felt a little humbled last night and this morning. It happens to us all. Embrace your humbling experiences so that you aren’t humiliated later! Go CATS!

  20. RAGE

    Have we had rim protector since WCS and Towns???? I don’t think we have not a true one at least and I think Cal defensive strategy don’t work without one

  21. dcforuk

    Do your best to get as much talent as possible and then mold them based on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities (but not necessarily threats). dUKe was a threat. We’ll be ok. FF not out of the question. Christmas is coming. Put on the Polar Express and get a train ticket punched out with the word BELIEVE! Way too early to give up believing on this season. Be sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see!

  22. Steven69

    Life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% of how you react to it.

  23. Ukfan4life0551

    Everyone keeps pointing out that this was the first game of the season… obviously but this was Dukes first game of the season as well…the scary part about all of this is that they will get even better over the course of this year. The only way we even get close to competing with them is if they somehow get injuries to two or more of their freshman.

  24. kjd

    We need time to click. We need months to figure it out.
    How could Duke led by 4 freshmen figure it out with a total beat down of us?
    No, Cal isn’t getting elite talent.
    Tough to write, but K is top dog right now.

  25. dcforuk

    A once in 20 year talent helps!