Gonzaga Coach Praises Cats But That is Fool’s Gold Because UK Lost Again


Vicky Graff Photo

Gonzaga coach Mark Few was full of praise for Kentucky after Saturday’s game in Rupp Arena. It made you wonder how Kentucky lost its third straight game in Rupp Arena — something that has never happened at Rupp Arena and the first time UK basketball has lost three straight home games since the 1966-67 season. For those not counting, it was 57 years ago that UK last lost three straight home games.

And remember it was only three weeks ago that UK was No. 6 in the AP rankings but since then UK has lost at South Carolina and gone down at home to Florida, Tennessee, and now Gonzaga, a team that did not have a Quad 1 win before Saturday.

But Few almost made it sound like UK won with these comments:

— “There was a lot of stress brought their way by the crowd and the toughness and athleticism of the Kentucky players and the schemes that Cal and his staff brought at us, but those guards showed a lot of poise tonight.”

— “Kentucky, to your point, is long and athletic and they have a lot of bodies in there. I thought their wings and guards did a nice job going to the glass, too.”

— “The preparation, to me, was so much harder this year. What a job they’ve done assembling this roster. They have veterans like (Antonio) Reeves and we spent a lot of time worrying about Tre Mitchell. He’s a tough matchup with his pick-and-pop and what he can do if he gets a small guy on a mismatch. So we caught a huge break there, with him not playing. Just the skill they have and the pace we play with—we love to get out in transition. They’re an impressive team, but at halftime, we had only given up two transition points, which I thought was damn near miraculous. That’s probably the biggest thing—the skill level and a nice mix of some really talented young guys and some veterans.”

— “I see a lot of potential. I thought I saw two really, really good teams out there making plays at the highest level and I think (Kentucky) is going to be fine. They have skill and athleticism. I think they need to get healthy. If they get Tre Mitchell back, they get that skilled four back. I think those guys getting healthy, but man, if they keep shooting it the way they shoot it and flying around—I know people have discussed a lot about their defense, but they climbed up against us in the second half and it was hard. We had to work really, really hard to get buckets in the second half. We executed good and made the right plays, but we had to work.”

Had to work? Gonzaga out-rebounded UK 43-31 — Gonzaga had 18 offensive rebounds including a huge one that UK freshman Aaron Bradshaw couldn’t grab late in the game — and manhandled the Cats inside scoring 50 points in the paint.

Again, former UK All-American Jack Givens did not mince words on the UK Radio Network after the game.

Givens was obviously disappointed that UK let the Zags continue to easily get the ball inside and score no matter which 7-footer coach John Calipari played.

“I don’t care what they run, they are not going to get the ball into the paint on me. Kentucky didn’t have that (attitude),” Givens said. “I am going to make it as difficult for you as I can Kentucky and Kentucky allowed Gonzaga to do that. Those messages have to be delivered early and I give Gonzaga credit. They delivered that message early.”

“Adou Thiero was the only one who stood out to me as that guy who tried to deliver every way he possibly could among the bigs.”

Enough said.

22 Responses

  1. Very generous comments from a coach who is well aware of how OUR fans feel, and what the vibe and the mood is right now on CAL, and is handling it in the nicest, classiest way possible. He knows the deal, so he’s going to try to make it sound like they got lucky, and damn near had to pull off a miracle to win, when he knows deep down that we were outsmarted, outworked, outhustled, outplayed, and outcoached–but to his credit, he didn’t want to pour gasoline on an already roaring blaze…….

  2. Perfect assessment above – Few can only make his team look better by declaring they just beat the best college team ever assembled.
    Speaking of best team ever assembled – UK does have 3 7’ footers and 3 All American guards & solid senior transfers.

    1. Yep, absolutely, UK has all of that this year—best collection of talent and amt of depth under CAL since 2015—and a 16-7 record, and a 6th place standing in the SEC to show for it–probly will fall out of the top 25, and headed for a 7 to 10 seed in the tournament—a couple more losses and it will be time to talk NIT–which would be the third time under CAL not making the NCAA–something I’m not sure has happened with any other coach. But oh wait till next year with that great recruiting class–THAT WILL FIX EVERYTHING!!!

  3. The defense didn’t even have to move on lob they stayed home.. stuuuuuppppid. Stuuuuuupid . Stupppppid .

  4. As it stands right now we’ve got 21 + feet in 7 footers with almost zero inside game. On either end. Weak weak weak

  5. UK needs to suck it up . Buy cal out..Throw everything at Danny Hurley. Friends that is a real basketball coach . That family is basketball thru and thru.

    1. Why would Hurley come here? UConn has won more national titles in the last 20 years than we have. He very well could win another one there this year. Why would he want to get involved in the train wreck that Calipari has taken our program to? Why would any big name coach? We are going to have to find an up and coming guy who has shown he can win at a smaller school. Indiana let Bob Knight stay around too long and they still haven’t recovered from that. I fear that we may be looking at a very similar situation here.

    2. Throw everything at __FILL IN ANY NAME ON A BLANK CONTRACT__ and I’m in—-i just want a change–if we are going to go to the NIT, I just want to go with somebody who is not a sociopath egomaniac just coaching to put his whole team in the NBA draft–i would rather go with somebody who at least coached for the success of the KY bball team first…….I mean if we r just an NIT level program now, then why not? It’s amazing how since signing a lifetime contract: one Elite 8, worst record in history of KY bball, worst record against ranked competition in school history, worst NCAA tournament loss ever, no SEC reg season or tournament championships, three losses at home to unranked teams 3 out of the last 4 yrs, three straight losses at RUPP for first time in history, and now headed for probly a first to second rd tournament loss again, if not missing the tourney altogether for the third time under the fraud. All this with supposedly the top recruiting class every year. Thanks, MITCH!!!!

  6. When Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” I think he was talking about Kentucky’s defense.

    The Cats have the worst defense in the SEC, giving up 78.8 points a game. In the last four home games, they are giving up 95.5 points a game.

    Simply put, UK is a terrible man-to-man defensive team that only plays man-to-man defense. That’s insane.

  7. This is almost funny if it wasn’t at our expense. We have to be the biggest laughing stock in all of college BB. I didn’t play my best player because the "group was playing so well". What game was this man watching? I am going to try and not be P off with ea. coming game because I will be expecting us to lose. Three straight L’s at home. Let the trend continue.

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