By LARRY VAUGHT
After an 0-2 start, Kentucky has rebounded to win four of five games going into Saturday afternoon’s game at Missouri.
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops would not bite Monday when asked if he thought his team had overachieved, underachieved or simply met expectations at this point.
“I’ve said it over and over that I was not pleased with the start. I don’t want to go back there, we don’t need to write about all that, but some of that was not acceptable, wasn’t good enough and we were going to build on it,” Stoops said.
Fair enough because UK now has three SEC wins and the only loss in the last five games was to No. 1 and unbeaten Alabama. UK rallied to beat Mississippi State 40-38 Saturday.
“We were going to go back to work and get some things fixed. That’s what I like about where we’re at now: Because we’re able to build right now,” Stoops said. “All the weaknesses or areas where we did not play well we can work on, get corrected and the guys will have a focus about them and an understanding about them that we can get these things fixed. ‘Here, look at it and here’s how we can get better.’
“There’s always going to be one-on-one situations in games. Those always can go either way. You’re going to compete for them, but the structure of things our players can see in our building of things.”
Stoops admitted despite losing at Alabama, UK did have some “small victories” with the way it played in the game.
“A lot of times you have to live with the results if your preparation and your assignments are right. If you feel like you had the right game plan, if you had the right situation, if your guys competed, did the very best they could, then as a coach you’ve gotta live with the results. Because you’ve gotta move on,” Stoops said.
“But you always analyze yourself, see what you did good, what you did bad, what you would do over. So you always gotta take small victories, in your preparation and in your play. Doesn’t mean you’re content with it.
“You’re never going to accept losing – that’s never the case – but it’s about everything you can do to win, and put yourself in a situation. And everything you can do in your prep and in your effort.”