Most Recent Posts
- Volleyball training, personality will both help Marcus Lee at Kentucky
- UK coach Mark Stoops was patient with Neal Brown because he was “all-in” on hiring him
- UK signee Marcus Lee overcame early education struggles to succeed in academics, athletics
- No. 12 Kentucky and No. 5 Arizona State to start best-of-three NCAA Super Regional set Saturday at 10 p.m. ET
- Stoops: Hiring Neal Brown to run Kentucky offense was a “no-brainer for me”
- Nunley, Cumbess Propel No. 12 UK Softball to Super Regionals
- DeCourcy says Julius Randle is “so freaking quick” and powerful he will be special
- UK football coach Mark Stoops on wife: “She gets involved as much as she can in a supportive role”
By LARRY VAUGHT
John Calipari did not mince words about his team after Kentucky lost 73-60 Saturday at Arkansas in a game where a win likely would all but have solidified UK’s spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Instead, Kentucky got a taste of what Missouri felt when it came to UK a week earlier and a desperate Kentucky played with more passion, toughness and energy than it had been showing and won in overtime. But at Arkansas, it was the Razorbacks who out-everythinged Kentucky from rebounding to intensity to defense to hustle to toughness.
Arkansas turned 17 UK turnovers into 30 points. Arkansas won the rebounding 44-37 — and had 20 offensive rebounds — after UK had beat Missouri, the nation’s top-ranked rebounding team, on the boards. Arkansas got 26 more shots and that’s why it won so easily even though UK shot 47 percent and the winners only 34 percent.
“We weren’t as tough as them. They deserved to win. They played better. They were better coached,” Calipari said.
Was he expecting this from his team, which had won three straight home games after losing by 30 points at Tennessee in the first game after Nerlens Noel went down with a season-ending injury?
“I don’t know. I wake up every day and don’t know how the team would play. I had hoped we were (past this point), but obviously …,” Calipari said in his postgame press conference. “I think we got a couple of guys overwhelmed by stuff. Typical freshman stuff. No one has won here. It’s not like we were expecting to come in and win by 20. Knew it would be a good game, but it wasn’t.”
Excuse Calipari for being a bit sarcastic. After watching way too many of his players wilt against Arkansas’s physical, aggressive defense, he couldn’t help but be perplexed.
“We are not as tough as them. We are not as physical. Their staff is saying as we walk off, they are soft. I have to say that is what it looks like. When we get overwhelmed, that’s what happens. You get anxiety and back up,” Calipari said.
And that’s exactly what UK did.