With Wednesday night’s loss at Auburn, Kentucky’s losing streak hit four games for the first time under John Calipari. And with only five games left on the schedule, is it too late to turn things around and salvage the regular season? Or even worse, are Kentucky’s NCAA tournament hopes in jeopardy?
When asked, Calipari wouldn’t even address the possibility of missing the tournament for only the second time as UK’s head coach.
“I got one thought: let’s just try to win the next game,” he said. “Just one game.”
Once Kentucky wins that one game, he believes the Cats will climb out of the nasty funk they’re in and get back to winning basketball.
“I really believe if we win a game we’ll get going,” he said. “I’ve had teams in this kind of mode that we’re in, but the league was different, that we could go get a league game somewhere.”
“There’s none here. You better come and play, and the other thing is everybody gives us their best shot. There’s no one that’s gonna not play against Kentucky, especially if they think they have the chance to beat you for the first time in six years.”
Kentucky’s next opportunity to get back into the win column will be this coming Saturday when the action returns to Rupp Arena after a tough two-game stretch away from home. Things haven’t been so great at home either, though, as Kentucky has lost two of four on its own floor and needed late heroics to hang on against unranked Vanderbilt and unranked Texas A&M.
Alabama is up next in the two teams’ only meeting of the season, and Calipari knows his team is in for another fight.
“We have another tough game. We got Alabama, who’s on a win streak and beating everybody’s brains in. Now you got them. The league is not what it has been and now we don’t have any room for error. As a coach I just gotta keep them going and get to work and say, how do we get better and what do we do to try to turn this around?”
If they are going to turn it around, Saturday is a must-win game and the only game on the Cats’ minds.