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Calipari Pleased with UK’s Progress, Regardless of Outcome

John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

John Calipari caught quite a bit of flak following Kentucky’s overtime loss to Seton Hall.  The criticism was compounded when he told his players to pretend they actually won the game.

“I’m looking at it like we won the game,” he said five weeks ago. “We’re not that far off. We got better. That game, we improved. Didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but we improved.”

The sentiment behind his statement was not clearly consumed.  Even though Cal’s young team lost, he liked their progression.  They were trusting his process, but it did not immediately produce results.  He told them to pretend they won to not shake their confidence in his process.

Calipari is consistent.  After the nail-biting win at Auburn, Kentucky’s head coach asked his players to think of an alternative outcome.

“Would you have thought of us as a team, or yourself as an individual, any different if that kid (Jared Harper) would’ve laid the ball in?  When it’s about process, you shouldn’t,” he said on tonight’s call-in show.

Luckily, Harper’s shot did not roll through the rim.  In the two-point win Calipari saw his team take another step forward when faced with adversity.

“When they are in a desperate mode, they play better.  When they are up against it, they lose themselves in the team and they play better.”

The next step in Calipari’s process is shutting the door on an opponent.  Kentucky built up a 17-point second half lead, but let Auburn crawl back into the game behind a barrage of three-pointers.

“I showed them ten plays in the second half that we made to give Auburn a chance to beat us….Ten plays!  That’s gotta be down to two or three in a month.  You gave them a chance by doing this, this and this.”

If Kentucky can cut down on the small mistakes and build off the win at Auburn, they’re going to be dangerous in March.

“We’re in this together. It’s hard to stop a team when there’s six, seven, eight guys that can do something with the ball,” he said. “We’re making strides, but it just takes time.”


Article written by Nick Roush

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

7 Comments for Calipari Pleased with UK’s Progress, Regardless of Outcome

  1. Smyrna_Cat
    7:54 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

    I watched the game again … no disrespect to Auburn, but I thought they did an awful lot of flopping, both on the offensive end and on the defensive end. And the flagrant foul was terrible. Given the refs and the hot shooting by Auburn, I thought we played very, very well in a tough environment. I like my team.

    • JASUN74
      7:40 am January 22, 2019 Permalink

      You’re absolutely right about the flopping. Maybe the worst I’ve seen In One game. Hahahahaha s to beat Duke in the flopping game but Auburn did it this weekend.

  2. Kat4Life
    7:55 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

    The team does indeed seem to be gelling. I like where we are. Schedule gets very difficult

  3. RAGE
    9:03 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

    If Kentucky wins their next two games against Mississippi State and Kansas… I really think that we do win those two games in my opinion… However if they do win these games and continue to finish the SEC strong what kind of seed do you think that we may be looking at come tourney time??? Don’t get me wrong I know there are still plenty of time before selection Sunday but just curious what everyone opinions are at the moment… Will be a very impressive streak to win these three games in a row

    • bigbluebanana
      9:24 pm January 21, 2019 Permalink

      I think if we win those two, beat Tennessee at least once, beat Auburn again, and win the sec, we will be a 1 seed. That’s a huge IF though. I think we may lose 3-5 more games, and if that’s the case and those losses are close and/or to top tier sec teams and we play in the sec championship game, we can still be a 2-3 seed. I think worst case if we completely sh!t the bed, we could fall to a 5 seed…but I don’t think that will be the case. Either way, I LOVE our team come March!

  4. KYjellyRoll
    7:01 am January 22, 2019 Permalink

    I can see us winning the next two and winning out at home honestly. I don’t exactly see ya winning in Knoxville, although I hope we do. It’ll be a nail biter if we do. I think we end up as a two seed.

  5. Racerr11
    6:10 pm January 22, 2019 Permalink

    Typical John Calipari coached team, developing as usual and jelling at the right time as always. Cal is a great great basketball coach and it will be a sad day when he retires. I hope he stays for 10-20 more years.