‘This Team Fought’: Coach John Calipari Upbeat Despite Kentucky Wildcats’ Fifth Loss in a Row

Published 02/10/2021, 7:44 AM EST
Feb 9, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari coaches his players during a timeout during the first half against the Arkansas Razorbacks of the game at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports


The Kentucky Wildcats’ woes see no end after they slumped to another loss last night. They fell to the Arkansas Razorbacks in a narrow one-point defeat and came close to ending their four-game losing streak. Despite the defeat, coach John Calipari isn’t upset with his players.

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“I can’t be mad at this team. That’s the best we’ve finished a game. I’ll have to go back and look at that last call. But this team fought,” Calipari said after the defeat.

The Wildcats had a slow start but made a great comeback towards the end. With 12 seconds left to go, Davion Mintz buried a clutch three-pointer to give them a one-point lead. But later they conceded a shooting foul, which led to two free throws for Arkansas, and they made both.

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Without a timeout, the Wildcats had just four seconds to get a basket, but poor communication and execution led to a turnover, and they eventually lost.

Kentucky Wildcats only playing for pride now

In majority of their games this season, the Wildcats have been underwhelming. They have shown little fight, but tonight was an exception. They fought till the end, overcame double-digit deficits, and almost won the game, but eventually lost to a call that Coach Cal believes was contentious.

A defeat will obviously hurt because now their record for the season is 5-13. But Calipari is still proud of the effort the young players showed. They don’t have much to play for now except for their own pride.

Freshmen Brandon Boston Jr., Terrence Clarke, and Isaiah Jackson are most likely to leave in the classic one and done fashion. Likely to join them is senior Olivier Sarr, who might be ready to play overseas if he has to, so he can build his path to the NBA.

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Feb 9, 2021; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Isaiah Jackson (23) blocks a basket by Arkansas Razorbacks guard Moses Moody (5) during the first half of the game at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. Mandatory Credit: Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

With their departures imminent in the off-season, these players will aim to make the best out of their time left. Their draft stock has taken a hit due to their performances over the season, but this is their last chance to salvage something. These final games could determine if they end up being a lottery pick, a first-rounder, or fall to the second round.

They have six games left, and Coach Cal will hope his boys can keep this level of effort going.

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Aaron Mathew

1629 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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