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Calipari says loss “showed me our goals do not need to change — at all”

By LARRY VAUGHT

Kentucky coach John Calipari says basically being out of the Southeastern Conference race does not impact the psychology of how he approaches his team.

“I’ve never been big on conference championships or conference tournaments. Every game we play is to prepare us for March, and that’s how we approach it,” Calipari said Monday on the SEC coaches teleconference. “I think the history of my teams have done well in conference play and conference tournaments because they’re not the goal. The goal is to be at our best in March.

“And so, the last game we played (and lost to Florida), I’ll be honest with you, (for) 30 minutes that’s as good as we’ve played all year. What happened down the stretch was that mental discipline that I talked about before the game. But it showed me that we can beat anybody in the country. We’ve got to shore up how we finish games off. It showed me our goals do not need to change – at all.

“And I told the team this: It’s about chemistry, energy and a will to win for your team. There were three rebounds you would have figured our best rebounder (Julius Randle) would have got balls, and he was right there with another guy, and they got all those balls. (Dorian Finney-)Smith got one, (Casey) Prather got one down the middle, they got another one, tipped back one for a 3. There was all that will to get that ball that they had more than we had.

“But, again, our goals haven’t changed. I’m happy with my team. What that game showed me: We’re as good as anybody in the country; we can play with anybody. Now let’s shore this up, let’s get this chemistry together and this energy together, let’s create a little more will to win down the stretch, execute. They got to the line by driving it. We took bailout 3s. Can’t do that. Can’t do that late in the game. But again, we’re still learning.”

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4 comments

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  1. Grover Sales

    not to criticize CAL.but UK’s record of SEC Championships and Tournament Championships is impressive..most fans view it as a source of pride.

    1. Anonymous

      Yes Grover, I agree we do, but then all the talking heads and and other “no it all’s ” say how weak the SEC is year in and year out, demeaning the CATS impressive history of SEC championships. They conclude UK should blow right on through the SEC schedule every year because the league is so lousy. Yeah, right! Hear that every year. Cal’s point is let’s prepare to win in March and the SEC and SEC Tourney will take care of themselves. It appears the regular SEC season championship will be hard if not impossible to get this year, so I’m holding out for a SEC Tournament Championship, and a trip to the Big Dance where the CATS can work some magic.

    2. larryvaught

      I think most fans are with you Grover

  2. larry clemons

    Not the game I wanted, But I also learned a lot from that Game … My real moment of clarity & seeing the loss, came at the 4:11 time out. The camera’s pan in a close-up of Patrick Young addressing his Team mates, He was expressive, energized, vocal and Leading ” His Team “…Then, the camera went to Kentucky’s player, they were individuals, apart from each other, they each had a look, of a blank stare…No Power, No discussing amongst each other, ” No Team “, it was then, that I believed people would finally see, first hand, what Coach Cal has been saying all along, ” We Need to become a Team. ” I also realized, by the next morning, that I learned something very important, I wasn’t upset about the Loss, as much as I just wanted the Win, for My Cats…These Young Men are special and they could learn from those moments, ” When the clock wasn’t running.”

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