With the win over North Carolina, Kentucky proved to the nation that they’re not overrated. In previous games, the Wildcats really showed off their youth and inexperience with narrow wins over Miami and Stanford. The big question going into yesterday’s game was if North Carolina’s experience would outweigh the raw talent of the young Wildcats. That question was answered early on when Kentucky went on that 28-2 run. To the fan, the Cats looked great and most of us were ready to put them in the Final Four. But to Calipari, they are still not a good basketball team.
Josh Katzowitz of CBS Sports has a great article on Calipari’s doubt with some of the conversations from the game. (I linked to this article in the Sunday morning links, but did not really elaborate on it.) Some of the exchanges between Coach Cal and the players are almost hysterical:
After Wall was whistled for an offensive foul as he tried to drive the lane with 4:16 to play and a three-point advantage, this was the exchange between player and coach.
“What are you doing?” Calipari asked.
“I don’t know.”
“I know you don’t know. We’re trying to win this game. What are you doing?”
Then there is this one:
“We walked out of three timeouts, and guys were asking each other, ‘What play are we running?’ We did that three different times.”
But not all of the exchanges during the game were negative. Late in the game, the Tar Heels were closing in and Kentucky needed someone to step up. Insert Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe was clutch at the foul line late in the game. You have to love Coach Cal’s confidence in the freshman and the substitution move to put him in. Oh wait, Bledsoe subbed himself in?
“Coach,” he said. “Put me in.”
“For Darnell [Dodson].”
“He went back in,” Calipari said, “and what did he do? He made his free throws and basically won the game.”
That’s unbelievable confidence from a freshman. (And unfortunate for Darnell.)