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Calipari says Cats should be so embarrassed now they will listen or they should not be at UK

Kentucky's bench is a reflection of what happened on the court in the loss at Tennessee. (Victoria Graff photo)

Kentucky’s bench is a reflection of what happened on the court in the loss at Tennessee. (Victoria Graff photo)


KNOXVILLE — His team is still not listening to him the way he wants or playing with the overall intensity he wants — problems Kentucky had well before Nerlens Noel went down with a season-ending injury. Now Kentucky coach says the Cats have to know they better start listening or else.

Those weaknesses and many more were exploited by Tennessee here Saturday when the Vols started UK’s No-Noel era with an 88-58 victory, the biggest win ever by the Vols over UK.

“We won the game. We played hard and competed. They were without one of their best players, but we played hard and won,” said Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin.

Tennessee didn’t just win. It dominated Kentucky and showed no fear of going inside with Noel, the nation’s top shot blocker, out with a knee injury. The Vols managed just 65 points in a loss at UK a month ago. They had that total by midway of the second half Saturday.

It got to the point that Calipari said he was “not wasting his breath” coaching his players because they  just were not listening — or competing. Now he says the Cats should be so “embarrassed” by this loss that they will come to him and say they will listen to whatever he says.

“If they don’t, they shouldn’t be at Kentucky,” Calipari said.

With four home games and two road games left, Kentucky could maybe still salvage a respectable season even though after getting outrebounded 39-21, giving up 24 points off turnovers and shooting only 35 percent from the field in his game that could be a stretch even for Calipari to believe.

Calipari admitted what he did offensively and defensively didn’t work. But his players also have to understand their laid-back, passive play and attitudes don’t work, either. Kentucky lost the heart of this year’s team when Noel — a player who always hustled — went down. But this team showed it had no soul in this loss and no fight to even try to bounce back from losing Noel.

“Let me do my thing and let them do their thing and let’s see how this plays out,” Calipari said.

It played out bad here Saturday from the start. Calipari benched point guard Ryan Harrow and forward Alex Poythress in favor of Jarrod Polson and Kyle Wiltjer, players he thought were playing harder. But he also noted that UK had its worst practice in his four years at UK Friday and indicated that players were scared of what they were going to face against Tennessee’s older, physical team. He threatened the team at halftime that if it didn’t take charges, they would be running before and after practice. It helped, but not enough.

Tennessee had four offensive rebounds in the game’s first two minutes. The Vols had 13 shots in five minutes. That would have been a 104-shot game at that pace.

“Even if we would have had Nerlens, we would have gotten beat big,” Calipari said.

He’s right, too. Just look at these numbers.

— Harrow played 18 minutes and was 0-for-2 from the field and had zero points, rebounds and assists.

— Archie Goodwin was 2-for-9 from the field and had four turnovers in 34 minutes. He finished with seven points and four assists, but also got a late technical foul after he was shoved in the back and retaliated with a shove. Calipari said he wished Goodwin had fought as hard for loose balls and rebounds.

— Kyle Wiltjer missed 10 of 15 shots even though he finished with 18 points.

— Willie Cauley-Stein had two points, two rebounds and two blocks. While no one could have anticipate Noel-type stats from him, it was fair for Calipari to expect more than that in 23 minutes before he fouled out.

— Poythress also fouled out, but had just four points and two rebounds in 20 minutes.

Polson had as many rebounds — four — as Poythress and Cauley-Stein combined. How can that be? Jon Hood played 15 minutes and had four points — more than Cauley-Stein and equal to Poythress — as well as three rebounds, just one fewer than the two freshmen combined for in this game.

“It is disappointing that we did not come out of the gate with fire and aggressiveness,” Wiltjer admitted. “They jumped on us early. It was a huge loss with Nerlens, but that’s no excuse. We have plenty of capable guys. We have got to bring it harder.

“We were definitely down on ourselves. We have to try and remain positive, but it was a very lackluster performance on our part.”

It was worse than that even if Tennessee was an “inspired” team as Calipari insisted.

“I told the guys after, I’ve had teams come up here and get smoked like this before. I’ve had a couple teams come up here and get smoked like this. The difference is that the good teams look at it and learn from it,” Calipari said. “This is sports and sometimes it happens. They deserved to beat us by 50 points today. They played harder, they played rougher and they executed better. They were stronger with the ball. We just had passive guys who did not want to make plays.

“We’ll get back. I’ve done this 20-something years and I’ve had this happen. The question is: Will they respond coming back. The only way that you can respond is to change. We have to realize that the things that we are doing aren’t right.”

And anyone who watched this game knows there are many, many things this team is not doing right.

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/calipari-says-cats-should-be-so-embarrassed-now-they-will-listen-or-they-should-not-be-at-uk/


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  1. Larry Pup

    That is the kind of talk that needed to stay in the locker room Coach. You win as a team and lose as a team. This team needs some encouragement as well as a kick in the ass.

  2. pauline flynn

    I cannot wait until next session – forget this one.

  3. LindaS

    I will stand behind this team. I’m not saying this did not hurt, but this is still my Team, come hell or high water. Fair weather friends have no right to post or even watch a game as far as I am concerned. You either bleed blue through and through or go and watch some other team, I won’t miss you and I don’t know if I will welcome you back.
    There is more going on with this team, IMO, then just not listening to Cal. Like he said, if you don’t want to be there, leave, Kentucky is not for everyone. So be it.
    I hated when football season was over and all the bad comments that were made about Joker and the season. You are not much of a fan if you have to degrade a coach and the players. They have feelings too. Take them off the pedestal you put them on and remember these are 18-19 year old boys who are away from home for the first time. They are not gods, icons or hero’s. I’m not saying to treat them with kid gloves but they still deserve respect. Maybe they will wake up and maybe they won’t, only time will tell and there is not much of that left. I don’t think it is anything Cal is doing or saying, maybe they need to know that he is telling other members of his family how he feels and shame and embarrassment will turn the proverbial light bulb on in their heads, if there is room. Just because you are the number one class does not mean you are going to be brothers, play together as a team or win every game. Do you want tubby ball and BCG back? This is a learning experience for all of us, be there for them or keep your mouth shut. We know Cal won’t keep his shut, he has too much to say. I’ll take it and I’m not going to leave it. Livin’ Blue & Lovin’ It.

    1. Kokamo Joe

      I have to dissagree with you about the so called fair weather fan. IMO fans do have the right to question players and coaches. It is a bit too much to tell a person who questions, especially when the team is in the tank, as our football and basketball teams are this year, to either shut up or find another team to support. Fans who had the courage to boycott this past football season helped bring a great deal of promise to the program. This year’s basketball team is a dissapointment. Our freshmen had great promise and they have failed to live up to both their potential and our hopes. Fans have every right to question both the players and Calipari. This is not what is expected from UK basketball. Now read this carefully. I use the word question, I do not use the word lambast, gripe, complain, belittle, or rundown. Maybe some people who bleed blue through and through do expect more and maybe others will accept mediocrity. That is up to the fan. As far as this season in both major sports: We did not do well, but next year is a new day. Stoops brings great promise, and Calipari has another lineup of McDonald All Americans. Better times are comming.

  4. LindaS

    BTW Wiltjer and Polson know what is about. Uncle Julius knows also. There are players who have no clue, who can’t hit the broad side of a barn sometimes. There were some pretty poor performances out there today and we really don’t know why. Take away their internet, cable TV, cell phones and video games. Put in a curfews, you can only go to class, eat, practice, go to the gym and poop, lights out by 9. Maybe tuff love will help.

  5. Grant

    Realistically , UK has and will continue to recruit at the apex of college basketball with Calipari, but , he needs the what are termed one and dones to stick around for more than a year like Jones Lamb Etc . to provide leadership for the next big recruiting class of next year. Someone has to be there aside from the coaches to show them how its done. I can’t put that on Wiltjer or Polson because they did not play alot last year. Larry I disagree with you on what Cal is saying to the general public. You should listen to Frank Martin this year of South Carolina. This is mild. Cal has shown he knows how to button up on subjects since he has been here , like private stuff , but this took place for the whole world to see , t.v. sportswriters etc. what the hell is he supposed to say. Pretty hard to b.s. people when you get the crap kicked out of you . Can’t sugar coat that.

    1. Larry Pup

      Grant, you are probably right, but I kind of thought Cal through them under the bus. This is a young team. He can motivate them in other ways without verbally humiliating them to the public. That was kind of cheap. UT did that, nothing else has to be said publicly. These kids know what happened today. Besides Cal and UK should already have this figured out by now. Kick the shit out of em in practice if you need to. I thought the officiating stunk to high heaven too. But I’m the only one who has said that. You take care of your team on a loss like this behind closed doors and at practice. But I’ll give Coach the benefit of the doubt. He knows this team better than most any of us. As for Frank Martin, I could care less.

      1. Karen Sprinkle

        If the team was not humiliated by the way they played collectively, what Coach Cal says in public won’t humiliate them. I feel sure he said nothing more in public than he did in the locker room. But they are our guys, and I will continue to support them.

      2. hawaiibillT

        Tubby threw players under the bus. If coach is throwing players under the bus and he isn’t, they deserve it. Several of these guys are lucky they are playing for coach this year. They sure wouldn’t be starting or getting many minutes if they were at Kansas, Duke or Indiana.

        I’m not going to give up on this team any more than I did with our football teams but I’m not going to mince words so I don’t hurt their feelings.

        1. Larry Pup

          You win as a team and you lose as a team; that’s the way I always thought it worked. Nothing else needed to be said afterwards other than saying “we got spanked and good.” Now what theses coaches and players must endure in practice after a loss like this, and who he ultimately plays in the future is Coach’s business. Also how they play zone defense is also coaches’ business.

        2. larryvaught

          Hawaiibill, thanks for keeping the faith

          1. hawaiibillT

            It’s tough Larry, its tough. I’m ready for a football break.

      3. RJ

        These players need to understand, they were the chosen over many other potential candidates recruted at KY. What they seem not to understand is that one and done doesn’t always lead to the pro’s. They can also get recruited over next year and you will never hear from them again. The coach is just laying it out for them. Benefit of the doubt! j\Just wait until they are playing for money. Nenefit of the doubt does not exist in the pro’s. Do your job or you are done. If these kids expect to go on to the next level, they need not only to understand that but play like they understand it. And they are not.

    2. Kokamo Joe

      Re: keeping players for more than one year. Calipari has a wild cat by the tail. His hook to bring the very best players each year is his ability to send them on as soon as possible. It is not UK that brings these players to Lexington, but Calipari and his “kids first” promise. If he stops sending them on the spell will be broken and more of the great one will go elsewhere. Take the Johnson kid, for instance. Great center, probably the best of next year’s recruits. He has committed, but not signed. Why? I’d guess that he is waiting to see if Noel or Cauley-Stein comes back. Numb skulls like me keep thinking that recruiting kids like Derrick Willis would be a good way to build experience. Yet, I know that Willis will seldom play and that experience will be hard for him to come by, much like it has been for Hood. It is hard to build experienced role players when they are recruited over year after year. So, it looks like to me that we are going to be in the one and done mode for years to come. Some will work out fine, others will not. You have to take the bad with the good.

      1. Karen Sprinkle

        Joe, Dakari Johnson committed after the early signing period was over and thus couldn’t sign with the Cats until the late signing period begins in the spring. I don’t believe he had reclassified to the 2013 class until after the early signing period had ended.
        I believe that you and I politely agree to disagree on the one and done issue. I don’t believe that Cal is or will push any of these guys into the NBA draft if he feels they are not ready, or if it is not in their best interest. Otherwise, theoretically, he would have pushed Jones and Lamb into the draft after their freshman years and recruited players to replace them. The bench is a great motivator. I truly believe that if these guys (Goodwin, Poythress, Cauley-Stein) know that they have legitimate competition for playing time, they would be listening to Cal more and executing his plan better on the court. There is little realistic threat of losing playing time this year, except at one or two positions. That being said, the NBA draft is perceived to be very, very weak this year, and players may go, instead of waiting until a stronger draft year, even if they are not really ready in the fear that they may not get drafted at all.
        That being said, I still believe in these guys and think that they can turn it around (although I freely admit that I may be a bit deluded). :-)

  6. BAD

    I agree with LindaS, this loss hurt bad, but may be tuff love is what they need. They obviously aren’t listening to Coach Cal.

  7. Grant

    It takes no talent , and no special skill to have heart. I just got done watching kids in 3rd and 4th grade play organized basketball today and some of them never have played in there lives , but they left it on the court and Iwas proud of them. Why? Because most of them are not skilled at basketball , but they don’t have to be to give it there all.

  8. Larry Pup

    If any of you think this was a well officiated game today I have a air conditioned tree house I’ll sell you. I don’t even know what a foul is anymore in basketball. A UK player would bend over in a defensive stance and they would call a foul. Yet UT players could push, shove, pull, and mug UK all day long from one end of the floor to the other, and no calls with the same fairness and consistency. Yeah, our guys should have been more aggressive, but every time they tried to play tough defense, they were whistled for fouls. WCS was whistled for 2 before he even broke a sweat, same with Alex. They both fouled out too. UT killed UK on the glass. That was the killer. I chalk it up to youth, and no Noel. They will do better next time. Hard to beat 8 against 5.

    1. grant

      say ut got called for say 8 more fouls , does that erase this much of a deficit?

      1. Larry Pup

        Grant the fouls started getting closer in UK’s favor when the game was completely out of reach and down the stretch. Hell WCS and Alex had two on them before they even got started good, and they were merely touch fouls from my view. From that point on they had to play fairly tentative for our lack of depth, but still fouled out. Anybody foul out for UT? Stokes and company were killing our guys all day long. What game were you watching? I fault UK for not rebounding. The tone for the game was the BS ejection of Coach Robic who as far as I know was right in what he was saying to Shows on the alternate possession arrow.

    2. LindaS

      Seems I am not the only person who is bothered about fair weather friends. Willie posted on twitter…We have really good fake fans!! For all the real ones out there please stay behind us we still can change this around. And they he posted, I absolutely LOVE our die hard fans! Always got our backs even if we do lose….badly #BBN Get from the mouths of babes.

    3. Kokamo Joe

      Larry: Tennessee got home cooking. We get it at home. I don’t know why that happens, but often…not always…the home team gets the calls. I watched the last of the Missouri/Arkansas game today. IMO the refs gave the game to Arkansas. In our game today, the refs could have called it our way, and we would have lost. Plain and simple this team had gotten worse as the season went along. As Calipari said, even if the Cats still had Noel they would lost. So, you look at truth in the face and say that you hope that the players give it effort the rest of the way. That is all we can hope for. It is foolish to blame a coach who has had so much success and who has recruited such a promising group for next year. IMO it is also wrong to hold the coach blameless and put all the blame on the players. I have heard Calipari take responsibility more than once this year and I am glad that he can do that. It is what is is, and as I have stated before no coach is going to win each and every year. I hope that those that expect that don’t go overboard and become super critical this year, and I also hope that loyal followers don’t realize that as Cal often says…”this one is on me.”

      1. Larry Pup

        Joe you are probably right, but I never feel UK gets any breaks on close calls, at home or away. Just the fan in me. What I saw in Knoxville today was a joke. I wonder how much UT paid em?

  9. Mike

    Linda S….who gives u the right to say that fair weather fans have no right to post? It is possible to bleed blue but still distain the play of this team because that is my story and I am sticking to it. I am not even sure UK bottomed out today, but I hope they were close. This year has been nothing short of a total DISASTER. We have too many guys that were recruited because of their star ratings. They should not be wearing the big blue uniforms because they have no guts, physicality, or desire to improve or win. They obviously have no pride either because they have been derided all season long and could care less about that. This is not UK basketball and if you want to put up with this and stand by this team then enjoy your minority status.

    1. Larry Pup

      Hey Mike, I’m for em win or lose! Hows that!

    2. LindaS

      Mike, if the only time the fans are here is when things are going good and then come back to bad mouth the team, they are not true fans. Fair weather fans do not stand by their team through think and thin. Fair weather fans only have time when they are winning. Fair weather fans bad mouth, cuss, throw things at the TV, post ignorant comments and have not followed the Cats long enough or hard enough to know what the heck they are talking about. If you bleed blue through and through you are not a fair weather fan. Check out some of the comments on another post, they can’t even leave their name.

      1. OldFan

        Just because you call it as it is, doesn’t make you a Fair Weather Fan. Even Cawood used to comment when there was no effort or pride coming from a player or team so by your definition Cawood Ledford was a Fair Weather Fan.

        1. Kokamo Joe

          How well I remember Cawood. I listened to him as a very young child. He did call it as he saw it. There is nothing wrong with questioning a team when things are not going right. Teachers will tell you that there are parents who are so enabling that they will never hold the kid responsible for bad grades or bad conduct. It is always somebody’s else fault or like the character in the old rock and roll song Charlie Brown..why is every body always picking on me?
          Cawood had a calming effect on our fan base. He could tell it like it was and most fans would accept it. I don’t think that any rational UK fan would say that this year’s basketball team is good, or that the players are giving their all, or that the Coach should be held blameless. They all have contributed to the dissapointment. With this system, we will have more great seasons than we have dissapointments. Starting over every year with great recruits proves nothing. That comes with the playing. The BBN is a big tent. There is room for everybody including those who question, and those who are loyal no matter what.

  10. Anonymous

    Someone call a wrecker! Cal has thrown em under the bus again! Maybe he can read a couple books tonight on coaching basketball 101.

  11. pauline flynn

    Mike, I agree with you. Mayes said a lot in his comments after the game.

  12. Mike

    Pauline….yes it was good to hear Mays take on a leadership position….I just wish he had done it earlier and that we could bring a couple of other guys out of their season long comas. I was also hoping that NN might have been able to inspire more production from the bench but these guys just don’t get it.

  13. pauline

    I hate to say this, I have been a UK fan for many many years, but this team just not get it.

    1. Larry Pup

      I suggest you two just quit on em then. Who needs you! This team can win or lose without you! You talk out your mouth”s about players quitting, and not getting it, after you watch a team of officials blow call after call in favor of UT. Just listen to you two. I’m glad we don’t have any quitters like you two on this team.

      1. grant

        larry just because people including myself are critical does not mean they are any less of a fan than you are. this is a forum for all to comment on whether its good or bad , call it like you see it larry , but this is a bad basketball team , and barely an ok to decent team with noel. we will all forget this next year when uk hangs another one.

        1. Larry Pup

          Grant everyone has their opinion, and have the right to express it, I understand that, but they are still 18 year old kids. Some of you guys need to grow up. UK can’t win a national title every year. If we did, they wouldn’t mean a thing. We have to take and play the hand we are dealt year in and year out. I don’t mind criticism by fans but some go way to far. I hate to lose, in anything. You think these kids want to lose? They don’t have a team leader, they are struggling now. BBN needs to rally behind them IMO, not throw them under the bus and belittle them. When Archie was driving to the hoop and getting knocked on his ass, you don’t think he wasn’t trying. When WCS was trying to stop a mountain named Stokes around the rim, you don’t think he was trying. I would like to see some of you guys who have evidently all the answers go do it. If they are not playing the way they should who has to take the blame? Their coaches. That is why I didn’t like Cal’s comments.

          1. grant

            Really Larry? I am not trying to pick a fight with you , but are you telling me that espn , cbs , sportingnews, fox sports, uh nbc, or other media outlets including papers and blogs about college basketball are not critical of UK when they are terrible , or other college teams that have 18 year olds? Go try to control them! Look as long as UK has 18 year olds start every year and they are the number 1 class in the nation every year and they are the toast of every recruiting outlet in the nation guess what – scrutiny is going to be a constant until the rules are changed for them to go to the pros without college. Its the nature of the beast.

          2. Larry Pup

            Yeah I know that Grant. The espn’s, and all the so called media experts are critical of UK when we win or when we lose. It don’t matter to them. I’m used to that. I just don’t expect it to come hot and heavy from our own fans. Especially in a 30 point loss to a team like UT, whom I hate with a passion, and on the heels of UK losing our star in the kind of injury he endured at Florida. And in a game that was a joke from a officiating standpoint. You can be critical of our team without being overly personal. That is all I’m trying to say.

      2. OldFan

        Get a life and let others express their feelings. Yours aren’t the only ones that matter.

      3. Kokamo Joe

        Who gets to decide who is and who is not a “good” fan. There is good in supporting a team that is losing just as there is good in supporting a team is winning. There is even some good in blaming the offiicals, or ESPN, or who ever why one’s team is losing. I suppose that that shows loyalty. But there is also good in expecting a 4-5 million dollar coach and a bunch of McDonald All Americans to win. And asking questions when they do no does not, IMO make a person a bad fan. Tubby Smith’s program went down after he won a championship with Pitino’s players. Fans became outraged and finally Coach Smith accepted a job at Minnesota. Billy Gillispie was criticised by much of the fan base, especially during his final year, even though that year was not much different from this year and his schedule was much tougher than this one. IT IS HIGHLY LIKELY THAT FAN DISSATISFACTION WITH BOTH OF THESE GENTLEMEN HELPED EASE THEM OUT AND CAUSE US TO HAVE JOHN CALIPARI.
        Personally, I feel that it is wrong to judge another fan especially if that fan is told to get lost. But that is just my opinion.

        1. Larry Pup

          Hey, just frustration on my part Joe. I hate to lose, especially to that ugly ass orange team. I thought to myself, are these people Tennessee fans or what? Things are said in the heat of the moment. I still hate to see 18 and 19 year old kids, even McDonald’s All American’s (freshmen) who are struggling, get verbally abused and thrown overboard when we still have 6 games and a tournament to go. Fans have the right to be critical, but what good does it do to be down right mean spirited to players who for whatever reason are not living up to their hype. I got a little out of line but meant no harm. I offer my apology to any that got their feelings hurt. I will say this. I think UK basketball fans are a spoiled bunch We have much to be thankful for. If you want to be critical hit the coach up. He is the one ultimately responsible for his team and getting paid the big bucks. Teams reflect their coaches. It’s Cal’s problem that he has no bench strength. Hey if we are gonna lose, lose with kids that want to be out there. And finallly, Cal has even said this himself “don’t criticize these kids!” I’ve heard him say that time and again. But people still do.

  14. goukats

    This collection of players could possibly become the biggest bust in UK history.To use youth as an excuse is just that ,an excuse.This team has a 5th year player starting,and Sophomore in his 3rd year of playing and practicing at this level,and a Junior and Sophomore coming off the bench.and 3 McDonald All Americans either starting or playing significant minutes.What this group is a bunch of selfish ,uninspired athletes playing for a ticket to the NBA,and to hell with what their coach and his staff are trying to teach them.

  15. Mike

    Larry Pup….what is your problem bud? A lot of people have quit on this team….NEWS FLASH to brother Larry. This team quit on themselves many games ago! You are welcome to your opinion. You want to stand thru thick and thin be my guest. I will continue to call em as I see em.

    1. Dale Castle

      Wednesday night against Vandy will tell the tale about whether this game has made a difference for this team. I am hoping it does, since it can mean making the NCAA tournament for us. Coach Cal has tried so hard and is so frustrated; I am frustrated with them too. But I will always love the players and they will always be Cats. You can make a case that up to this point, they have quit on themselves; the season isn’t over at all.

      1. Kokamo Joe

        Re: season is not over yet

        UK has won 17 games. Win two more games and they may get in the big show. Win three and they are certain to get in.

        We have 6 more games left. (1) We get Vandy at home. Vandy has lost 5 our of the last 7 games. We will have the crowd behind the Cats and I expect to get a bit of home cooking from the refs. If this team has any spunk and pride they will win this game easily. (2) We also get Missouri at home. Missouri has lost three out of the last 6. This game will be tougher, but winable IF the Cats find a way to play even to 2/3 of their potential. More home crowd and I hope a home cooking.
        (3) Mississippi State. Home again. Mississippi is, I believe, down to 5 scholarship players and they have lost their last 9 games. We could play the walkons and waterboy and win this one. (4) Arkansas –Away.—Out of the last 7 games they have won 4 and lost 3, but they have beaten Missouri, Florida, and Tennessee. They get the crowd and the home cooking. (5) Georgia Away. Two game losing streak, but tough game. (6) Florida, home, need a ton of luck to win this one.

        The SEC tournament will be in Nashville. Inspite of the poor season the BBN will flock to Nashville and UK will have a home court atmosphere. There is a great chance for one or two wins there.

        So…they beat Vandy, Missouri and one more game and I think that the NCAA will let them in.

        Bottom line. The Cats must play better than they did at Tennessee. If they don’t they don’t deserve post season play.

  16. Larry Pup

    Hey Mike, I plan to do just that bud!



  18. Anonymous

    1.We just lost the heart and soul of our ball club…picture Miami without James!
    2.None of us know what coach Cal is dealing with on an everyday bases…the man gives
    it his all…leave him alone.
    3.Fourth and Fifth year seniors generally kick the crap out of freshmen because of
    experience, strength and maturity. I know, because I’ve been there!

    1. Larry Pup

      I agree, an our kids today ran into a buzz saw. UT had a perfect storm, and three officials who were one way all day long. Our guys are young. We have a freshmen laden team who for the most part had never faced UT in Knoxville (who by the way UK had kicked their tails for six in a row) and certainly not without their star player. While we have several MacDonald’s All Americans, I have come to the conclusion they have been overrated from the get go. If these guys are ready for the NBA, I’m Charlie Sheen. They need to come back, grow up, learn from this, get better, and kick UT’s ass good next year.

    2. Kokamo Joe

      Re: 4th and 5th year seniors kick the crap out of freshmen.

      This is the first year that UK has been a truly one and done program, and a program without some of that older leadership. That is Calipari’s system. I see no reason to gripe and put down, either the coach or the players, but I do think that it is fair to place the responsibility for this season on Calipari. And I doubt that he would dissagree. Next year may be similar, better or much better. As you indicate, with freshmen you never know.

  19. Larry Pup

    Well the DOOKIES just got beat by the Terps. Good to see. I guess they need to fire their coach. What’s his name?

  20. LindaS

    Nerlens was the backbone and heart of this team, Polson the soul. Kyle is the blood that keeps it pumping when he does not run into a blocked artery. I have said all along I am surprised Cal has not pulled his hair out. He had done every thing he knows how to do but if a kid does not listen and only wants to play for himself instead of the team, you are going to have games like this. It is a shame that the loss of one player is taking it’s toll on the rest of the team, however, if it were truly a team, someone who is more then capable and talented would step up. I think it took a lot of guts and control for Cal to sit on the bench and not say a word in the huttle. Reminds you of what another coach did playing against us.

    1. Karen Sprinkle

      Linda, you are correct. You can be the best coach in the world, but if your guys won’t listen to you and execute the plays you call, there’s not a lot you can do, other than bench players. With a short bench, that’s not really possible with this team.

      However, they’ve only had two practices since Nerlens was injured. Hopefully, they get back on the practice floor and have the best practices of the year to prepare them for the rest of the season. Cal said it perfectly in his pre-game press conference, such an injury will either make the players band together in an “us against the world” mentality, or will tear them apart. Their first game post No-Noel was not good, but they can get it together.

      1. LindaS

        I knew you would understand, Karen! You are so right about only 2 practices and this the first game since Nerlens was injured. Weak bench also. If any thing, these guys will put more effort into the next games and think twice about leaving at the end of the season, if their scholarships are extended.

      2. Kokamo Joe

        Karen: Part of coaching is teaching, disciplining, and motivating your players. It appears that that has not happened this year. We cannot simply shrug our shoulders and blame it all on the kids. There is blame to go around.

        Having players get hurt is part of the game. Losing a player like Noel is unusual since not many players in the country have the talent that his young man has. But other teams lost key players and they have a roster with players who can make the loss less difficult. We did not.

        So the lack of a bench and the undisciplined team that we had this year are problems. That is a fact that we cannot change. And I am sad to say that one is not likely to be changed and the other cannot be changed. So be it. Look to the future. Calipari had a bad year, he has had three great years and I expect many more.

        1. Karen Sprinkle

          Joe, you may be misunderstanding me. I’m not blaming it all on the players, but nor am I placing all the blame on Cal. You are correct: there is plenty of blame to go around, and Cal had been very forthright in taking much of the blame. The players are to blame for not listening to a coach who has proven repeatedly that he does know what he’s talking about, and Cal shares the blame as the man who is responsible for figuring these things out. A short bench is one of the troubling issues. In the three previous years, we’ve been fortunate that the new players have, for the most part, not played like freshmen, and fortunate in that we’ve had little or no substantial injuries during the season. This year has been different, to say the least, both in the very average freshman-like play of our freshman and in injuries.
          Like you, I’m very willing as a fan, no matter how frustrated I get watching the guys struggle this year, to accept one season in which the team may not get it together (although I’m not yet willing to concede defeat) along with the three great preceding seasons. When Cal came to UK, I expected the Cats not to be able to win the Final Four every season, but for the Cats to have a realistic shot at competing for a championship each year. And he’s given us that every year. I will conclude with my last deep thought of the day: not every #1 recruiting class is equal to other #1 recruiting classes.

  21. Larry Pup

    Digger Phelps and company are having a blast in reporting UK’s big loss today. ESPN is so thrilled in pointing out how awful UK is now.

    1. LindaS

      UK needs their own TV channel and ban any of those turds for discussing the games unless they have a contract with said tv station!

  22. Mike

    The truth hurts….I am not always a big fan of ESPN or the Digger but they are correct on this one. We are getting exactly what we have earned. This is the worst UK team I think I have ever seen and this is certainly one of the worst losses as well. The Cats did hit rock bottom at rocky top. I am still hoping that Cal has the stones to put Alex, Archie, and Ryan on the bench at least at the start of next game. How could the BB world be so wrong picking this class preseason #3 in the country??

    1. Larry Pup

      You are all heart Mike.

  23. LindaS

    They were stupid. Never should have been picked #3. You can’t rank a team when the players have never played in my opinion. I saw a post where someone was upset because they were not #1 pre-season and think they should have a #1 seed in the tourney because they won it all last year. I asked her if that was fair if they had lost 10 games. She said she had not thought of that. DUH!

    1. Kokamo Joe

      But Linda, after last year we were as excited about this year’s team as we are now excited about next year’s team. Truth be told, we will expect greatness every year, and since our recruits will be, as they were this year, ranked highpur expectations will be well founded. Actually, we cannot be sure that next year’s team will be as good as we expect. Yes, they are McDonald’s All Americans on next year’s squad, but there were McDonald’s All Americans on this year’s squad. So, come November you can expect the Cats to be ranked in the top three, and we will believe it. Perhaps, that is what dissapoints many of us about this year’s team.

      1. Anonymous

        Kokamo Joe, all I was saying is they should not have been ranked that high before they set foot on the floor. The players from the previous year had a lot to do with the ranking but they did not come back. The other teams that were ranked high had players who were coming back with experience. We only had one with any real minutes and another one with a few.
        Yest we do expect great things from our teams because the class out of high school is ranked #1 and we are Kentucky. But sometimes things don’t work out the way we expect or the way Coach expects. Just because they are good on paper and in highlight reals from high school does not mean they will play to their potential or expectations.

  24. coldspringmike

    This team is what it is. Coach and his staff missed on this group. Happens. Can’t hit home runs every year. Kentucky will get over it and be bigger and better than ever next year. Until then lets stay behind this group and get em to the tourament. Coach has said over and over again that playing at Kentucky is not for everyone and it seems we have a few on this years team that fall into that catagory. Larry Pup, please, we cannot keep blaming the refs for all that has gone wrong in games this year.

    1. LindaS

      Amen, coldspringmike!

    2. Larry Pup

      I am certainly not blaming the officials for every game we have lost this year, but that was as one sided a called game Sat as I’ve ever witnessed. Several on this blog who are not UK fans have agreed. Shows has a personal agenda against UK IMO. Check his record. Did the officiating get us beat, no, but they sure helped. At one point in the first half alone UT had been to the ft stripe 29 times to UK’s 12. That was when the game got out of hand. UT was playing “overly aggressive”, “in you grill”, defense, and were not getting called for fouls that should have been called. Hey I know UK stunk up the place, but if the refs are going to let em play, that should be fair game for both sides. There was the issue of our lack of rebounding and poor effort, but our bigs were in early foul trouble.. I am not making excuses, but I don’t even know what a foul is anymore in college basketball. It looks more like rugby, or football. But if that is the way they are going to let em play then it should apply to both sides equally. That’s my point.

  25. Anonymous

    Hey! I remember saying last year that if we won the NCAA, I could stomach whatever happened in 2013…I just wanted it so bad for the players and BBN. We had three veteran players who sacrificed themselves and came back to lend support to our freshmen and that combination made ESPN”s so called experts look silly. This current group can’t look to our bench for that kind of fire power, so I want everyone of them to keep building experience so they can contribute likewise next year…it will be payback time and Digger O’Dell the Irish Undertaker will be red faced from start to finish. If certain players don’t grow up and listen to Coach Cal, competition will dictate the time they sit on the bench. No way am I ready to abandon recruiting the best OAD’s available under the current rules. Always darkest before dawn…chuck the die hards Farley!

  26. JeffC

    These guys came to UK to be coached by Cal to learn the game, be pushed to be the best, win championships, & get to the NBA. In the past not all players listened to Cal at first but when they did their game changed for the better!

    We need Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe, Knight, Davis, Jorts, etc to talk with this group of players , not a team yet, to focus on listening to Cal and more importantly learn to trust each other and play like UK Wildcats play!

  27. Mike Rose

    Cal lost this team a while ago. He has kids that obviously do not respond to his type of coaching. I think the best thing that will happen, and it would not surprise me if it did, would be for Noel/WCS to turn pro, and Harrow/Poythress to leave. This shows how extraordinary the freshman Cal has had at UK and this class may be more representative of 17 year olds today. To accept Cal’s intense coaching a kid has to have some maturity, but these kids don’t seem to have any when it comes to accepting coaching. I am sure they are great kids, not the issue, but at UK, as they no doubt have found out, you have to have thick skin and an unbelievable will to win. As Cal so aptly states, “UK is not for everyone”…no class exhibits that statement any more than this collection of Kitty Kats. I love my Cats’ and have for 40 years, but this team unfortunately harkens back to the two of the darkets years in their history, the BCG years.

  28. grant

    Is there a “breakfast club” type thing going on this year?

  29. Anonymous

    I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments…nice response! As usual, you presented a great subject Larry.

  30. UKFMLY

    WOW. Lots of passion and emotion today. I love these guys and they are not as bad as they looked yesterday. Cal and the boys will figure it out. It’s an off year relax and try not to get to caught up. And personal attacks on the players sure doesn’t help anything.



  31. Cat lover

    Hard core cat fans need to understand this team is all freshman. Overhyped freshman at that. The greatest all freshman teams ever (fab five) and wall cousins team could not win a title. Only when we had 3 players stick around did we win a title. If you get your wish and next years team is all freshman, we may be back in the same boat as this year. A bunch of overhyped freshman. There is not an Anthony Davis or Noel in next years class.

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