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Amid Upsets, How John Calipari is Keeping the Cats on their Toes

© Jim Dedmon | USATSI

© Jim Dedmon | USATSI

Over the last month of the season, John Calipari has instilled into his team a “Kentucky against the world” mentality.  His players have bought into the extra motivation, and it’s paying dividends on the court.

“We just try to come out and try to prove everybody wrong, and that’s what we did today. And can’t feel better about this one,” Hamidou Diallo said Saturday night.  Shai Gilgeous-Alexander echoed that sentiment after the fifth-seeded Wildcats defeated 13-seed Buffalo.  “We love proving people wrong, and that’s what we did today.”

Calipari players believe that nobody expects them to win, but after this weekend, everybody expects them to win.  Kentucky is the highest seed alive in the Atlanta Regional, a region that will not have its top four seeds this weekend, an NCAA Tournament first.  UK is a six-point favorite Thursday night and FiveThirtyEight gives Kentucky a 57 percent chance to reach the Final Four.

Even though Kentucky’s path to San Antonio has opened up, he will not let his players put their guard down.  After Cincinnati let Nevada comeback from 22 down Sunday night, Calipari called the team his office.

We’re in the region where everyone is playing well,” Calipari recalled the conversation on his call-in show. “If you just think you’re gonna show up, you’re not gonna advance in this thing. Every game is a dogfight.”

He’s also mentioning the outside noise.  Instead of completely ignoring what people are saying about his team, he’s ignoring the praise and providing his team exclusively with bulletin board material, like this.

“Do you think that’s their hope or their opinion (that UK will not advance)?  It’s their hope.”

Even though Swaggy Cal made multiple media appearances today, no matter what happens over the next two weeks, he will do whatever it takes for his players to believe it’s “us against the world.”


Article written by Nick Roush

"Look upon the doughnut, and not upon the hole." @RoushKSR

41 Comments for Amid Upsets, How John Calipari is Keeping the Cats on their Toes

  1. IAmTheDanger
    7:57 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    This is where Cal’s experience pays off. He has won the big one and lost the big one. If anyone knows how to prepare and what works and what doesnt, it should be Cal.

  2. catheaven
    8:16 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Where is KSR doing pregame show Thurs? Live in ATL and making plans. Listen to show everyday and want to go to see the show.

  3. Swizzle
    8:34 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    God bless the idiots that ranked us 11th of the 16. Our run thanks you in advance.

    • Eazy
      9:10 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      That’s one of the most ignorant things I’ve ever seen. We are top 5 for sure.

  4. BigBlueNationDude
    8:59 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    This would be another one that got away if they dont atleast make final 4. When else are you gonna have a path like this? Never!!

    • Booby Petrino
      9:09 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      “they will be one and done in the SEC Tournament.” “they’re going to be one and done in the NIT.” “they’re going to be one and done in the NCAA Tournament.” “Cal can’t coach.” Aren’t you tired of being wrong? If I were wrong as much as you are, I’d just be quiet.

    • Eazy
      9:11 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Cal is 6-0 in sweet 16 games at UK. 3 of those wins came as the underdog. Just proves Calipari is a great coach.

    • 4everUKblue
      9:25 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Sorry Slater just saw your comments about Cal and I don’t want to let this opportunity pass me by. Let’s start with Cal’s time at UK so we can compare two coaches at elite programs. Hardly fair to compare him to a coach who is in his 23rd season at the same program while Cal is in his 9th season at UK. But if you wish to compare the entire bodies of work I think I’ve made my case. Izzo in 23 yrs at one program should be more well established and he gets a lot of 4 yr players, which you’re a fan of, than a coach who has been to 3 different programs (however he has been successful at all 3). And don’t even try pinning the vacated games on Cal, there is and NEVER HAS BEEN ANY evidence connecting him in either case. Having said all that, here is the comparison since Cal has been at UK.

      2009–10 Michigan State 28–9 14–4 T–1st NCAA Final Four
      2010–11 Michigan State 19–15 9–9 T–4th NCAA Round of 64
      2011–12 Michigan State 29–8 13–5 T–1st NCAA Sweet 16
      2012–13 Michigan State 27–9 13–5 T–2nd NCAA Sweet 16
      2013–14 Michigan State 29–9 12–6 T–2nd NCAA Elite Eight
      2014–15 Michigan State 27–12 12–6 T–3rd NCAA Final Four
      2015–16 Michigan State 29–6 13–5 2nd NCAA Round of 64
      2016–17 Michigan State 20–15 10–8 T–5th NCAA Round of 32
      2017–18 Michigan State 30–5 16–2 1st NCAA Round of 32

      2009–10 Kentucky 35–3 14–2 1st (East) NCAA Elite Eight
      2010–11 Kentucky 29–9 10–6 2nd (East) NCAA Final Four
      2011–12 Kentucky 38–2 16–0 1st NCAA Champions
      2012–13 Kentucky 21–12 12–6 T–2nd NIT First Round
      2013–14 Kentucky 29–11 12–6 T–2nd NCAA Runner-up
      2014–15 Kentucky 38–1 18–0 1st NCAA Final Four
      2015–16 Kentucky 27–9 13–5 T–1st NCAA Round of 32
      2016–17 Kentucky 32–6 16–2 1st NCAA Elite Eight
      2017–18 Kentucky 26–10 10–8 T–4th NCAA Sweet Sixteen

      This season is over for Izzo but remains to be determined for Cal, now go back and look at the teams Izzo has lost to in the tourney. Notice Izzo has no title in the last 9 yrs? It’s been 18 YEARS since he won!

    • BigBlueNationDude
      10:13 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Omfg you are obsessed. 1 title each and some final fours. 1 title with an absurd amount of nba players. Get over yourself.

    • catsarerunnin
      10:16 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Better to win one than to lose one. You know. The whole Banner Down thingy.

    • 4everUKblue
      9:28 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      ANYONE who doesn’t want Cal as coach of UK is a fool and needs some serious professional help. Slater you qualify on all counts. Get some help, get a hobby, get a life or just get the hell outta here!

    • 4everUKblue
      10:25 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      I am just stating facts in a fair and balanced manner, you on the other hand, pick a choose how to use the facts whether fair or not. Get over yourself you moron.

  5. Cals Hoverboard
    9:52 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Nice stuff 4ever. Love it when you do the research and blow these numbnuts out of the water with stats and facts. It’s easy just making the broad statements that these clowns like to make, and lazy. Nice work.

  6. BigBlueNationDude
    10:16 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    4 ever is sooo mad. He dedicates his time to out troll a troll. Depressing. He loves me

    • 4everUKblue
      10:19 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Not mad, you don’t matter enough to get mad, you just disgust me. You are beneath being an idiot whatever that is. Like Booby says, when your wrong as much as you, one would think you would stop making a fool of yourself. Guess what? I win because Cal is here until he decides to leave.

    • catsarerunnin
      10:19 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Nah you love yourself hence the carpal tunnel.

    • 4everUKblue
      10:23 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      You just keep raising the bar for your own stupidity. Pretty much what you would expect from the second half starting point guard in the rec league…..LMAO! You really can’t make this stuff up, thanks for sharing the inside look at the life of a narcissistic loser.

    • 4everUKblue
      10:27 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Pick a team you can say something positive about and get the f#@k out of here.

  7. BigBlueNationDude
    10:31 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Fair question. If Cal coaches lets say 6 more seasons with no titles and 1 final four would you consider 15 seasons 1 title a success? What would it take for you ppl to question cal. Not just bc your leader m jones says not to. Even if he would have limited success in another 10 seasons would you care?

  8. 4everUKblue
    10:32 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Seriously Slater, the whole story about being the second half starting point guard in the rec league, let me repeat that…..THE REC LEAGUE! LMFAO, I’m the only one who wants you to leave, everyone else loves to laugh at you when you make a fool of yourself. SECOND HALF STARTING POINT GUARD IN THE REC LEAGUE????

  9. BigBlueNationDude
    10:32 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    I can admit obviously ive been wrong multiple times of course. Cal has underachieved given his cards that have been dealt. How can you not deny this?

  10. HashtagNoseWhistle
    10:40 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Hmmm. I was looking for the baseball posts.

  11. 4everUKblue
    10:55 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Here’s my last response to you tonight SECOND HALF STARTING POINT GUARD IN THE REC LEAGUE. Just yesterday you said in regards to UNC getting stomped by A&M, it’s the tournament, stuff happens. Remember that? When you look at Izzo getting beat by Syracuse, stuff happens? All the other upsets you say it’s the tournament, stuff happens. You make excuses for all the other coaches and teams but the one you claim to be a fan of. To answer your question, NO I don’t not think Cal has underachieved with the talent he’s had. Take a good long look at yourself and what a negative person you are and find a team and coach you respect, you don’t belong here.

    • 4everUKblue
      10:56 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      My bad, the above post was for Slater/BBNDude/SECOND HALF STARTING POINT GUARD IN THE REC LEAGUE

    • 4everUKblue
      11:37 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      Notice how you sidestep all he questions you don’t have a good answer for? You hate the one and dones and want 4 year players and a championship every year, but you don’t want any of this year’s players back. It’s understandable when another coach you’d rather have gets beat by 20 points by a 16 seed. You really need to get you story straight. There’s no anger when I say SECOND HALF STARTING POINT GUARD IN THE REC LEAGUE, I’m laughing MFAO at you.

  12. BigBlueNationDude
    11:04 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    Why does it matter if and how I played basketball? Does it matter if popular writers write articles on their given sport? The whole thing about rec bball and 2nd string is beyond petty. I can sense the anger in your posts. You love me admit it. Im not going away so stop trying.

    • 4everUKblue
      11:32 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      You’re a clown, there is nothing to even like about you.

    • 4everUKblue
      11:40 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

      It only matters that you were the SECOND HALF STARTING POINT GUARD IN THE REC LEAGUE because it’s hilarious that you think you are an expert because you played in a church league. Good comedy. You’re pathetic.

    • BigBlueNationDude
      12:17 am March 20, 2018 Permalink

      Knew i could get you back on here. You gotta wake up early and u still worried about me. Lol

  13. CombatMedic_98
    11:24 pm March 19, 2018 Permalink

    No one must have told them at the beginning of each season we as fans expect a National Championship…PERIOD! I am glad they finally got the message!!!! Let’s go BBN!

  14. CatsfaninFL
    7:58 am March 20, 2018 Permalink

    I can’t stand when writers use some information to downgrade teams but then don’t for others. He justifies UK at 11 by saying it’s bc of their KenPom rating yet conveniently ignores it when ranking Loyola and Nevada ahead of us (but below us in KenPom). Thx for bulletin board material though!

  15. kentuck1
    8:15 am March 20, 2018 Permalink

    The Cats should play every game as if it will be determined by the last shot. No games are easy once you reach the Sweet Sixteen. They have to be defense-minded to make it to the Final Four.

  16. slangterm
    10:13 am March 20, 2018 Permalink

    I can’t take it. You wish he stays 6 years, with 1 final four. The 15 team got caught in a buzzsaw. UK ALMOST WENT 40-0. It’s NCAA basketball he could have 3 titles right now. If he did you’d be saying some other dumb$#!t. Cal is a beast and been wildly successful. No other team had been there consistently the last 9 years. Not close. The o my thing that pissed me off is we handed puke 2 titles, when they finally managed to get past the first weekend.