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John Calipari on OSU: “We’re playing, in my opinion, the best team in the country.”

Coming off a 69-66 loss to Utah on Wednesday night, the Kentucky Wildcats will be forced to take on the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes with their backs against the wall on Saturday afternoon.

During his pre-OSU press conference this afternoon, Kentucky head coach John Calipari told the media that immediately following their loss to Utah, the Wildcats are set to take on, in his opinion, the best team in college basketball.

“Listen, they’re one of the best teams in the country. That’s what we’re facing,” he said. “We’re playing, in my opinion, the best team in the country.”

Aside from the obvious – their top-five ranking –  what does Calipari like about the Buckeyes?

“They’ve got a lot of guys that can score, but they are also good around the basket, which is why they’re as good as they are,” he said. “That’s why they’re rated where they are. They play physical, they’re a good defensive team, but you’re right, they have five or six guys that can shoot it. And what’s happening is, they’re shooting it at a high percentage, so it’s not as though they’re shooting 40 threes a game. But the ones they take, they make. At least, 40% of them, 30-something-percent of them, whatever it is, it’s a high percentage.”

Calipari also believes Ohio State’s star player, 6-foot-9, 270-pound forward Kaleb Wesson, will give his team fits in the frontcourt on Saturday.

“Good, strong, physical,” he said of Wesson. “Bully ball, will bully you under the rim, will wedge you under the rim to offensive rebound. He’s got a good touch, can step out and make shots. Like, the pick and pop, it’s real. The kid can make it. They do a lot of roll/replace, they’re good.”

As for his own team, Calipari said that while he hated how they played during the first 30 minutes of the Utah game, he was impressed with their fight in the last ten.

And if they want a chance against the Buckeyes, they’ll have to play that same way for all 40 minutes.

“The last ten minutes, I felt really good that we competed and that we played to win,” Calipari said. “We needed to make a couple more plays, we didn’t, and maybe we’re not ready for that yet. Now we’re playing, in my opinion, the best team in the country. Alright? So how do we play this? What do we do? They shoot it, they post it, they rebound it, they run good stuff. A lot of multiple pick and rolls, they bring bigs out, their bigs can shoot too. We’ve got a challenge, but you know what? It’s the next one for us. It’s like, let’s go out there and see where we are. It’s a great test for us.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

16 Comments for John Calipari on OSU: “We’re playing, in my opinion, the best team in the country.”

  1. VirginiaCat
    6:50 pm December 20, 2019 Permalink

    I remember a time when the other team was afraid of us, not vice versa.

  2. BigBlueFoo42777
    7:12 pm December 20, 2019 Permalink

    We are not ready for Ohio State Louisville but I will still be yelling at the tv cheering them on like they can hear me. Go Cats.

  3. KYJelly
    7:44 pm December 20, 2019 Permalink

    Reliving the Monk 47-point UNC post, it made me realize some things.

    1. If we had one player who was a consistent 3-point shooter, we’d have beat Evansville and Utah by 10+ each.

    2. That missing piece shouldn’t be put on Cal. Juzang was a great shooter coming in, Quickley had developed and was thought to be the best, Maxey was streaky but capable, and Hagans supposedly improved enough for teams to respect that threat from him. Cal couldn’t have imagined that all 4 would be ice cold in certain games.

    3. The answer is this team is going to have to run actual offensive sets. Quickley, Sestina, and Hagans are all set shooters, they’re not gonna shake a guy and get their own 3 ala Monk, Lamb, Murray. Maxey is the one with the athleticism to do so, but he is way too streaky right now. Juzang hasn’t been used in that matter, but I don’t imagine he had that athleticism, he’s more in the first group.

    The offense needs the same tweak the Harrisons first year had, let the guard get to the basket, when the defenders close in, dish to the open guy instead of taking the contested lay-up. A good “set shooter” should be a able to get a decent percentage off those looks. Then you have the defense thinking every time you drive on if you’re gonna score, pass to the other post-guy, or dish out for a set shot.

  4. Irish son
    8:03 pm December 20, 2019 Permalink

    No ” shooter ” on this team can create their own shot. And Cal’s offense right now looks like an offense the town drunk runs on a Saturday morning while coaching the local 4th grade team. We pay 10 million a year and we can’t run an offense to get guys decent looks. Juzang has to be set, same with Sestina, Brooks etc. Just pitiful

    • DelrayCat
      8:51 pm December 20, 2019 Permalink

      Remember too the difference between the high school 3 point line and the new college line is significant. That is part of the problem. Its why I think every Maxey shot looks like he is shooting outside of his natural range.

  5. Catcasey1
    9:38 pm December 20, 2019 Permalink

    I will take a long two over a missed three any day.

  6. Papaw
    5:41 am December 21, 2019 Permalink

    After losing to a team with 11 freshmen on it, the “we’re so young” defense is obsolete so let’s try “we’re playing the best team in the country,”

    • CrystalBall
      11:24 am December 21, 2019 Permalink

      Don’t recall playing a team with 11 Freshmen.. Which one was it?

    • Papaw
      6:49 pm December 21, 2019 Permalink

      Utah. Look it up. 11 freshmen on their roster

  7. mothandras
    7:26 am December 21, 2019 Permalink

    We are looking at 10+ plus losses and NIT for sure. Conference schedule and road games are going to hurt.

    • CrystalBall
      11:10 am December 21, 2019 Permalink

      Still too early. Have patience.

  8. dave1964
    8:15 am December 21, 2019 Permalink

    When you have a team full of soft players that are also weak minded our bigs are horrible no basketball IQ and can’t play defense will be a long season. Ohio State will run this team off the court.

  9. RexRox
    9:22 am December 21, 2019 Permalink

    The sky is not falling. I expect a big effort today. Ohio State is not unbeatable. Ask Minnesota. Cats are not consistently good but they aren’t consistently bad either. Been in Vegas for a few days now. Per Vegas Insider, Cats are only a 3 1/2 underdog. Definitely capable of winning.

    • Bluehender
      10:15 am December 21, 2019 Permalink

      Thanks RexRox for a positive comment. The sky is not falling. Hopefully we’ll have a good showing today.

  10. GoCatz
    11:05 am December 21, 2019 Permalink

    Looked like Cal had a good bubble gum bubble going there….