Any time a team plays poorly, the head coach is going to be critical after the game, whether it ends in a win or loss.
Enter John Calipari, who was less than pleased with No. 2 Kentucky's 78-63 win over Wright State, a team UK was favored by 24.5 over. Considering UK did just beat Duke handily on Tuesday, it's easy to understand why the Cats may have a letdown performance the following game, but Calipari doesn't want to hear it.
"I want us to just keep climbing. We took a big step back," Calipari said after the game. "Guys didn't listen. We're doing certain things and they just kind of broke it off and did their own thing. In a league game, we lose. Not winning a league game playing the way we played."
"But, again, give Wright State credit. The things that they did, they played -- they put out a game plan, pack line defense, play some zone, spread the court, make them guard one-on-one. They're always going to have one or two guys that turn sideways and let you drive directly to the basket for a layup. Put Skal in pick-and-rolls. He'll back away. I mean, it's pretty good game plan."
It's fair for Cal to be critical of his team, even in a scenario where everyone saw a letdown game coming. After all, he knows this team has the potential to make a deep run in March, but only if they keep climbing and don't settle for anything. In this game, the Cats settled a lot, and that won't cut it against better teams.
"We just had a lot of casual play today," Cal said after the game. "Nine assists, 12 turnovers. I mean, throw it to him and we miss a dunk. Two guys are 20-for-22 from the line. And three guys are 2-for-11. I'm sorry -- where is Marcus Lee, because I thought he was 0-for-2. They only have him 0-for-1. The stat sheet is not right. So have you a 1-for-5, a 1-for-5 and a 0-for-2. That's 2-for-12 from the line for three guys. So again, this is going to be a process, folks.
"You tell me that looked like the No. 2 ranked team in the country. There's got to be 20 teams better than us right now. Couldn't throw it to the post. Couldn't throw it to the post. Skal (Labissiere) couldn't hold a position. And we tried."