John Calipari

John Calipari finally speaks on Kentucky’s recent issues

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Controversy has once again found Kentucky head coach John Calipari, as the young Wildcats lost on the road at South Carolina on Saturday and Calipari was ejected in the second half.

The loss was deemed “rock bottom” by a few national writers and on Monday, the head coach decided to place the blame on himself after not speaking to the media on Saturday.

Calipari responded to members of the media and the Courier-Journal‘s Kyle Tucker has many of the quotes, including Cal placing the blame on himself for Kentucky’s recent struggles:

“And again, look, my team, we’re talented enough to do what we want. We could beat anybody in the country, but we’ve also proven we can lose to anybody in the country. So it is on us right now, and basically it’s on me. I don’t put this on 18, 19-year-old kids. They don’t know. You think they know why they’re going through what they’re going through? Most cases they don’t. It’s our job and my job as the head coach to figure out what we have to do, how we have to do it, to get them to play as well as they can possibly play.”

Also interesting was Calipari talking about his teaching methods and how it applies to Kentucky’s confidence levels. Kentucky seemed to have things figured out a few weeks ago, but Calipari is potentially going back to the drawing board.

“But let me say this: I will be whoever I have to be, because this isn’t about me. This is about this team. And I’ve gotta get them more confident and figure out what do they need me to be. A cheerleader? What do they need me to be at this point? And that’s how I’ve always coached. It’s never changed. If I have to be tough, I’m tough. If I have to be easy, I’m easy. But again, it was only a few weeks ago that’s what we talked about. So as we go forward, the whole point of us is: How do we get our defensive confidence? How do we get our offensive confidence? Well we just had it 10 days ago, two weeks ago. How did that change? What did we do different? How did we think different? That’s what we’re going through now.”

So is Kentucky seeking its identity — again — as we get into March? That appears to be the case as there seems to be more questions than answers surrounding the Wildcats right now. Kentucky is one of the most talented teams in the country, but they are running out of time to figure things out as we get closer to the SEC Tournament and March Madness.

There are plenty of more enlightening comments from Calipari from today and they can be read in-full here and here.

BUBBLE BANTER: All of the action on the fringe of the NCAA tournament

Fred VanVleet
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Tonight’s bubble action. This post will be updated as the games are completed.

Cincinnati at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
Pitt at No. 12 Miami, 7:00 p.m.
No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
Ole Miss at Florida, 9:00 p.m.
Georgia at No. 22 Kentucky, 9:00 p.m.
Arkansas at Mississippi State, 9:00 p.m.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: A Big 12 and a Big Ten showdown

Denzel Valentine
(AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.

The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.

THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.

We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
  2. Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
  3. Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
  4. Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
  5. No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.