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Bruce Pearl: “I’m concerned for Kentucky”


Normally, Bruce Pearl has nothing but nice things to say about Kentucky and John Calipari, but for some reason this season, he’s not very high on the Cats, despite the fact that they beat Auburn by 20. Last month, Pearl said Florida was the only SEC team he thought could make a run in the NCAA Tournament, and this morning, he casted some more doubts on Kentucky’s chances vs. UCLA. On The Dan Patrick Show, Pearl said he was “concerned” about Kentucky vs. UCLA and the Cats must defend better or the Bruins will blow them out.

“Well, the good news for Kentucky is they’re defending better than they’ve been defending and that’s always been the key to John Calipari’s teams in the sense that he’s going to have incredible talent, they’re going to play very unselfishly, they’re going to play fast so you have to be really good in transition defense. Fox is incredible pushing the break. Bam Adebayo is a freak athlete. Monk being as inconsistent as he’s been from the perimeter is a concern, but the one thing that John Calipari has them doing now that they haven’t done all season long is defend and if they don’t do a better job of defending UCLA, UCLA’s going to put 100 on them and run away from them. But, Kentucky did defend well against Wichita State, they had to kind of grind that one out.”

“In the first meeting, Lonzo Ball did not play well. He had 7 assists, 6 turnovers. UCLA turned it over 18 times. They’re not going to do that in the second match. The last two times UCLA has played Kentucky, they’ve put up a lot of points and shot 53%. I’m concerned for Kentucky. If they don’t defend better, they’ll get beat, and it could be a good margin.”

So, to beat UCLA, Kentucky has to defend better. Also, water is wet, but he has a point. To listen to Bruce’s comments yourself. click the link below, go to hour two, and fast forward to the 27:15 mark. He also defends LaVar Ball.

[The Dan Patrick Show]

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.

31 Comments for Bruce Pearl: “I’m concerned for Kentucky”

  1. J-Dub421
    12:10 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Why don’t you just worry about getting Aubun into the tournament Bruce?

  2. WatchutalkinboutWillis
    12:12 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Is there any question that we will defend better? Of course we will.

    • syrin23
      1:06 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      Not just that, they have to defend too, something they aren’t doing much better, and we are.

  3. 8xchamp
    12:17 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Doesn’t he have a cookout or something to plan

    • IstandUPatGames
      3:14 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      Sorry to all others who have commented here but 8x could have just ended all of this with #micdrop at the end of the above comment

  4. secrick
    12:20 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Why would we care about what he has to say , yeah he has an opinion but they are like , well everybody’s got one.

  5. secrick
    12:23 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    I wonder if he thinks Auburn would get blown out if they played UCLA?

  6. KTR2786
    12:26 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    I’d be lying if the thought hadn’t crossed my mind that UCLA could run away with this one, but Cal has a track record of somehow pulling things together this time of year and proving my doubts wrong so I feel pretty good. The defense must be high energy without fouling; a lot will depend on how this game is called.

    • CatBlue in LR
      12:52 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      If I didn’t think my 55+ year fandom would be questioned by the purists on here, I’d agree with you. UCLA is good, really good. And, like us, they’re a lot better than they were at the time of that first meeting. That was their first big win, IIRC, and that gave them a boost of confidence that they’ve continued to build on. I have a hard time envisioning us winning this game, to be honest, but we are peaking. I love the glue the seniors are providing. But there’s still too much missing — consistency from Monk, confidence and assertiveness from Gabriel and Humphries, etc., etc.

      But don’t make any assumptions about me. I’ll be cheering as hard as anybody reading this, let’s get that straight.

    • Mathlete
      12:56 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      UK has to run a gauntlet to even get to a title game appearance if chalk holds from here – UCLA is a really good team, UNC is a really good (albeit vulnerable) team, Kansas is a great team, and whoever survives out of the other side of the bracket is probably going to be a really good team again (I’d bet on Arizona if they didn’t have a long history of choking in the Elite 8).

      That’s the way the tournament is supposed to work though, competition gets progressively better until there’s only one team left standing (hopefully ours!).

  7. FakeRyanLemond
    12:26 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Bruce who?

    12:30 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    I have usually liked Bruce for his whacky personality but don’t the most recent UK-FL results speak against his current comments?

  9. Shagaris Sock Puppet
    12:40 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Of course if Kentucky doesn’t play defense they will get blown out. If you cant admit that, then you’re really biased, which is OK here. The real point here is this, every ESPN analyst has picked UNC vs Duke in the ship, how did that work out? Truth is no one knows and its all speculation. No one can predict this and its up to the game and human error for the result to come to fruition. It doesn’t take into account how the flow will go, doesn’t take into account early foul trouble for key players and alot of other things. You can plug numbers here and say UK plays defense and offense adj is top 10, and UCLA is all offense and no defense, all that happened in the past and against other teams in smaller moments. Its all game by game and whoever shows up and makes plays Friday, will move on and advance.

    • CatBlue in LR
      12:55 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      That’s it. That’s really it, and it’s why trying to predict basketball games is all just a bunch of hot air. I don’t even fill out a bracket anymore because it’s just impossible to know, and I don’t want to have to worry about it. I just want to enjoy the games. But, I guess speculating and prognosticating gives us something to do while we’re just waiting… waiting… waiting for the game to start.

    • Mathlete
      1:02 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      If we’re going strictly by the numbers Michigan is long gone, South Carolina is humiliated, and Carolina destroys Arkansas by 40. This is why we play the games instead of just letting KenPom and RPI decide who wins the title

    • Shagaris Sock Puppet
      1:09 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      One thing I would say though Mathlete is this, a lot of people forget South Carolina was a great defensive team in the regular season. For a long period of time, they were the best in the country in ADJ defensive percentage. Duke has ZERO point guards and South Carolina pressured them into making bad decisions and scoring off of those bad decisions/turnovers.That was the key to that game. A lot of people took Duke all the way and forgot before the ACC tournament, they were pretenders who just happened to make a run late in the season. They got rewarded from a 5-6 seed to a 2 seed for that run, which now is shown to be wayyyyyy overrated as the ACC has not shown up in March.

    • Mathlete
      1:28 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      SC is still one of the top 5 adj defenses in the country, but their adj offense isn’t even in the top 125 and they hung nearly 90 on Duke. Duke’s adj offense, point guard or no, was still the 7th best in the country and put up 80 against the 5th best adj defense. *Strictly on paper*, the score should have been at least a 25 point blowout not because Duke could score on SC at will, but because SC can’t score 90 on Mt St Mary’s.

      You could say the same for Arkansas taking UNC to the wire, on paper the hogs are nowhere near as good as UNC but the game didn’t bear that out. That’s exactly why we play the games.

    • Shagaris Sock Puppet
      1:38 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      Exactly, just makes our point that much more legit, you got to play the games. Like Briscoe said, you can talk, speculate and what not, but at the end of the day the game has to be played and someone has to win. Its the beauty of March!

    • Mathlete
      1:42 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      Amen! To borrow a quote from Cal – Enough Talk. Let’s ball.

    • CatBlue in LR
      1:55 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      Yes, but we have more than paper to go on with the UK/UCLA match-up. We saw them on the floor together a few months ago, so we had a comparative baseline to judge them against as we watched each team’s progress and improvement since then.

    • Shagaris Sock Puppet
      2:30 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      Cant use that comparison! If thats true then look at the Indiana game back in 2012 that we lost and then look how we beat them in the NCAA tourney that year. That game was close to being in the 100s. Totally diff game flow and totally diff teams. The same with us and Florida this year. We split with them, so how can you compare the first and second game? Totally different outcomes. This team isnt the same as it was in Dec, and vice versa with UCLA. Id say that game in dec has no merit on how this will play out.

    • Mathlete
      2:31 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      But we can’t safely assume that UCLA hasn’t also improved and tweaked in that same time. Cal is the master of the exponential growth curve in freshmen, but it’s not as if UCLA was static or regressing in that time and they were clearly waaaaaay ahead of us in that game. Don’t let the 5 point final margin fool you, UK was pummeled in that game until a garbage time run.

  10. Austin
    1:02 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Who does Auburn play this week?

  11. EdC
    1:05 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Of course it isn’t a lock but why is it all these bozos, including many that post here don’t get that defense works both ways. They have to defend Kentucky too.


    Kentucky offensive rating 13 UCLA defensive rating 77
    Kentucky defensive rating 7 UCLA offensive rating 2
    Kentucky overall KenPom 5 UCLA 14

    UCLA’s offensive stats were compiled against SOS OppD ranked 100 so yea, inflated and Kentucky didn’t play good D in that game helping that inflation.

    UCLA’s 77th ranked defense was horrible against SOS OppO ranked 69

    UK played against teams that ranked 19th in defense and 39th in offense. We played better teams on both sides of the floor night in and night out.

    Kentucky 5 UCLA 14

    No, statistics aren’t everything but they certainly make a lot more sense than the tournament committee, the voters in popularity polls and the squawking heads hired by the networks who are more interested in ratings than anything else.

    If Kentucky shows up with the proper effort and sense of urgency they will win. The big x factor is that we need Bam not to get in foul trouble. Our bench doesn’t help us there. Basically the same for Willis.

    Now let’s throw in that we haven’t really played a great game in the tournament yet. I’m betting Monk will be impossible to guard and Fox will be showing no love for the Ball Washer clan.

  12. meeksfor3
    1:29 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    He talks about Monks slump he is in. It has now reached 9 games not counting the Florida game which he played pretty well. You have to think he is going to break out and let’s hope it is real soon or we may be done. 9 out of 10 bad games makes me think it ends Friday. As they say on Hunger Games “May the odds forever be in our favor”. 🙂

    • Shagaris Sock Puppet
      1:43 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

      We may be done? That could be true, but we have won all 9 of those games with him slumping. To me that just means we are now playing much better as a team…. Were not the same team that had to have Monk go for 50 to beat UNC. Were actually grinding the other teams down like the 2012 team that had a ton of offensive play makers, but focused on shutting their opponents out and wearing them down. It worked then and we didnt score a ton, but we made it hard as hell on the other teams we played.

  13. Sentient Third Eye
    2:30 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    The reason Ball had six turnovers is he was matched up with a PG better than him, and that will be true again on Friday. We lost the last game because, as Pearl says, because of our then-weak D, but also because we had no real inside game back then. Bam had not come close to figuring things out at that point, and now he’s one of the nation’s most dominant post men.

  14. IstandUPatGames
    3:18 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Off camera Bruce said in his day he could have beaten Lavar Ball… or did he say Lavar Burton?

  15. jaws2
    4:48 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    In the first game we had ZERO defense for the straight line drives and pick and roll. We have improved significantly in both areas. If we play near our capabilities we win.

  16. thelexcat
    5:42 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    Thanks for your concern, Bruce. Really appreciate it….

  17. AGSlater
    11:37 pm March 22, 2017 Permalink

    He speaks the truth. This is the first good team uk has played in a long time.