Monday night during his call-in show, John Calipari knew he had some explaining to do.
After all, his extremely talented team has been stumbling lately, losing three out of the last four games. They seem to be a shell of the team we saw in November and December. You remember that team, right?
The one that blew every opponent they faced out of the water by twenty or more points. Those were good times.
As usual, Cal’s freshman-laden team is experiencing the January woes. The SEC schedule is a grind, and it wears on teams, especially young ones. But Cal has righted the ship in the past. In 2011, after Brandon Knight’s team lost five SEC games, they vaulted to the Final Four.
In 2014, the Julius Randle team lost nine games and looked absolutely terrible heading into the SEC tournament. And then John Calipari instituted his famous ‘Tweak’ that launched his team on a run like we had not seen before, beating high seed after high seed in the NCAA tournament until they eventually fell to UConn in the national title game.
So what does John Calipari have up his sleeve? It’s a reboot, don’t call it a tweak. (Per Kyle Tucker, SEC Country):
"We rebooted today. I talked specifically to a couple players: ‘Here’s how I want you to play.’ To make it simple for them," Calipari said on the show. "And the great news for all you fans: Today was good and there were a lot of players smiling."
"The tweak (in 2014) was: We weren’t good all year! And I had to do something to get us going," he said. "But guess what with this team? We were good. We were good."
Cal is right. This team was playing phenomenal basketball at one point. There are theories as to why this team has hit a wall. Here are the most popular:
- The young guys are worn out as they haven’t played a schedule like this before
- The style of the SEC is not conducive to what this team does best, and they haven’t adjusted accordingly
- The emphasis of getting the ball to Bam Adebayo has actually hindered the team’s free-flowing style
The answer could be one of those three theories or none of them. Whatever the issue is, John Calipari is going to fix it. I have no reason to believe he won’t. Unlike last year and in 2013, he has the roster to succeed and win. It’s just a matter of getting back on track and refocusing his players.
Tonight the Wildcats take on LSU at home. Right now, there is no better recipe to getting back to winning basketball than facing Johnny Jones and his dismal Tigers at Rupp Arena.