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Do not ask Calipari about 2014 Cats being potential unbeaten team


Will there ever be another undefeated team in college basketball?

Kentucky went 38-2 and won the national title last year, but suffered a loss in December at Indiana. This year there are no major undefeated teams left in mid-January.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said it will be “a very difficult thing” for any team to complete a perfect season.

“One, you have to have a talented team. Two, you have to have some veterans on that team. And three, they have to be a mentally tough team that’s really in tune with each other. In other words, they all have to buy in,” said Calipari Monday on the Southeastern Conference coaches teleconference. “That team I had last year, when Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist take your fourth- and fifth-most shots, they bought in to how you have to play to win. That’s a difficult thing.

“Having the most talent, having a few veterans, having them totally tuned in where they’ve all bought in, that’s the challenge. And then you have to have a little luck. You have to have a ball bounce your way here and there. The last few years, if you asked me, there was a North Carolina team that had a chance, maybe a Syracuse team. We had a couple teams that had a chance to do it. I’ve had a couple opportunities to have teams — a team at Memphis, a team at Massachusetts and a team here — that had a chance, but very difficult.”

Calipari likely will have a freshman dominated team again next season. He’s already signed five players and got a verbal commitment from Dakari Johnson, the top-ranked 2013 center prospect, recently. He now has the No. 1 prospect at three spots and five of the nation’s top 20 ranked recruits coming to UK next year.

Still, Calipari got a laugh when asked on the SEC teleconference if next year’s team featuring twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison, James Young, Marcus Lee, Dakari Johnson and Derek Willis along with whatever players return from this team could be the one to go unbeaten?

“Ha, I’m worried about today’s practice. You’re talking about next year,” Calipari said. “Let me just tell you with our team. A good friend of mine, Mike Gottfried was here. Mike’s a football coach and a football analyst, and he said the one thing your team (is doing), they’re trying, they want to please you and all that, you’re coaching them, but there’s a little lack of trust, and basically that comes back to buying in.

“And the trust is between each other where you (don’t) take chances, you don’t come down and really execute because you’re looking at each other and there’s not enough trust to really figure out, and all come together and everybody do their job, and no breakdowns the last three minutes. That’s what we don’t have and that’s the challenge I have with this team is to get us to that point where we all buy in, both feet it. Now let’s trust each other so we can finish off these games.”

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  1. Jim Boyers

    I do find it a little ridiculous how much people are talking about NEXT season. I don’t really talk about it at all. I keep it in the back of my mind and use it when things go bad this season. It is nice to have those thoughts to fall back on, but I am trying to stay totally involved in this year’s team. They definitely require our full attention. Maybe that is part of their problem: When they aren’t hearing how awesome last year’s team was, they are hearing how amazing next year’s team will be. It isn’t exactly fair to them.

    1. Larry T Clemons

      Your right on the money, Jim….My energy is for Our Current Cats and I Love em….

    2. Mark Jennings

      I couldn’t agree more… Let next year have their time when it comes… This year is not over, be a true fan and stand behind the team you claim to love…

    3. Karen Sprinkle

      Jim, you are a very wise man.

    4. King Ghidora

      I don’t think it’s so bad to mention what’s coming. At the same time this team certainly needs our support. I really want them to succeed like I do all UK teams. Something just isn’t clicking with this team yet. If it does I would expect them to be a great team. They came very close against two top teams on the road once and on neutral turf once. That is certainly something. They aren’t without talent. Cal says they don’t buy into his system well enough. I tend to believe what Cal says for obvious reasons. I’m not giving up on this team. I really think they could be great before it’s over. I really hope so too for their sake because they’re looking at a lot of competition for their position next year if they can’t make the pros this year. The Calipari steamroller could hit a snag over this I’m afraid. I don’t think it’s likely but it’s possible.

  2. Ralph Foley

    This team has a lot of talent but they are all playing as individuals. Somehow Cal needs to get it into their heads that there is no I in team!

  3. GrampyBlue

    It would have to be hard for these kids trying to live up to last years success. Now couple that with next years promise and they’re caught in the middle. If they don’t win the NCAA Championship they are less than last year and if they aren’t perfect they’re less than next.
    They’re making strides. They ran into a buzz saw in Texas AM but they have improved.
    They are young and right now they need to know the BBN is 100% behind them.

    1. King Ghidora

      I watched every game the year UK went 13-19 with home losses to Bowling Green and Northwestern State (it’s in Louisiana). I listened to the entire game when Kansas beat the Cats 150-95 (they were banned from tv that year). They also lost to Southwest LA that year at home too and I listened to that one too.

      I will not be giving up on this team. They have a lot going for them. I suffered through Eddie Sutton, Orlando Smith and Billy Gillispie all of which had very mediocre teams at times. But I never missed a game unless it was unavoidable and that happened maybe 5 times in 25 years. I missed more games the last few years with the ESPN deal than I did going back to the first days when all the UK games were on tv. I listened to the radio before that too. I will not be giving up on this team.

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