Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari has turned his team into perennial championship contenders, so one would think that they would never back down or show any signs of being intimidated by their competition.
Well, according to the man himself, that’s where everyone is wrong.
During an interview for Fox Sports South’s “Hall of Fame” show earlier this summer, Calipari went so far as to say his team was “relieved” after losing to Wisconsin in the Final Four.
Keep in mind that this clip is only 27 seconds long, so Coach Cal’s quote thus becomes incredibly easy to take out of context. He is a competitor who has made the Final Four four times in six seasons with Kentucky and given how intensely competitive some of his players from this season were, namely the Harrison twins and how disappointed one was after the loss, it’s hard to believe that the team was “relieved” after losing to Wisconsin.
But it should also be noted that in the Elite Eight, Kentucky came away with its hardest win of the tournament, needing free throws to knock off Jerian Grant and Notre Dame. It could very well be that the Wildcats were tired heading into the Final Four and simply ran out of gas, happy to take the loss since they wouldn’t be able to give their best against eventual champion Duke?
Granted, that is all speculation, but the reality is this. There is simply no way that last year’s Kentucky Wildcats were “relieved” about losing in the Final Four when an undefeated season was that close to becoming a reality. Tired or no, when the NCAA Tournament has begun, every team is in “win now” mode and anything besides that is unacceptable.
Thus, though it doesn’t sound like it, chances are that Calipari’s words are being taken out of context in this case, and the entire interview probably needs to be seen to fully understand what he’s saying.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports