By LARRY VAUGHT
For Kentucky coach John Calipari, he hopes that Tuesday night’s 82-80 loss at Tennessee turns into a “great learning experience” for his team.
“I’d rather do it in a close win than a loss like this, but sometimes it takes you to get knocked in the head to say, ‘Please, let’s come together,'” Calipari said.
“I’ve got to do a better job. Look here’s what it is with coaching: I can sit here and say what I want, but if they’re playing a certain way that’s because they think they’re allowed to play that way, that I’m accepting it. So, all of it comes back to me.
‘I’ve got young guys. Either they don’t understand how I want them to play, or they’re not accepting it, and if they don’t accept it then I gotta do different things to try to get them to understand. Sometimes a loss gets them to understand, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you’ll make excuses that it was somebody else.”
Calipari has not changed his opinion about his team.
“We got good guys, we got a good team, we got post presence, we got some depth, we’ve got good guards. Tennessee was better than us tonight. They deserved to win the game,” Calipari said.
“It’s not that we got selfish guys, they’re playing – just playing – versus OK, what are we trying to do each trip down? We’ll see. This is going to be a tough road and it’s a tough learning thing. The good news is it’s still January. That’s what’s great.
“And this isn’t college football. This is get your team right. Last year I believe we came up here, had a big-time lead and they beat us and I think we did OK after that. So, hopefully it’s another good lesson.”