John Calipari reacts to a technical foul called on his team’s bench (AP Photo)
Coach Calipari talked in the post-game about how well his young guys performed today against Tennessee. He said the team needs to be more physical and praised specifically the effort a few of his players gave. Take a look at what he had to say.
We got out-physicalled in the first half again. The same guys got pushed, shoved and couldn’t come up with the ball – and were accepting it. The thing we had was our young players had a will to win. The three (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) makes, the shot Anthony (Davis) makes and the plays Marquis Teague made. Marquis Teague guarded; that’s the first game he’s guarded. He knew that kid (Trae Golden) was averaging 20 a game the last four games. So he went out and said, ‘You know what, I’m going to guard my man and I’m going to make this tough on him.’ And he did.
Coach Calipari nailed this one as the biggest problem the team has. Kentucky is still playing soft and letting inferior teams push them around. It’s been a consistent theme that the Cats are playing down to the level of their opponents when a blowout is in the cards. Terrence Jones seems to be a main culprit — judging by Calipari’s lack of mentioning and suggesting it’s the “young players” who stepped up. But Anthony Davis let guys post up and back him down today, and Darius Miller couldn’t create space inside the arc. It’s a team-wide issue that has to be changed mentally. Calipari said it’s a lack of pride.
Those three did it, and then Kyle (Wiltjer) came in. How about the five points he had? When you’re in a game like this and he makes that three and he makes those two free throws – he did what we needed him to do.
Kyle Wiltjer played only nine minutes, but had a big sequence of solid defense at one end, a block, working in the lane and picking up a foul. He also knocked down one of the two three-point shots the Cats hit. Wiltjer has so much upside it scares me.
So you think about Michael Gilchrist and what he did. I bet he didn’t know he had missed a few shots before he shot the three. All he knew was that ball was going down.
Kidd-Gilchrist made the second three of the game with five minutes remaining to put the Cats ahead by four and prompted Tennessee to call a full timeout. We in here.
Quotes via LEX18.
P.S. North Carolina was smacked by Florida State earlier, losing 90-57. No, that isn’t a typo.