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.