Last night, Kentucky lost in the Quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament to a hot Vandy team who played like men possessed in all facets of the game. I’m not sure what Kentucky’s mindset coming out was but I can say they probably didn’t either. Vandy jumped all over their lack of energy and defense, questionable decision making and field goal inaccuracy. The Wildcats played defeated. Jerry Palm now has our Kentucky Wildcats according to his latest BS Bracketology. And in case you don’t think this loss is hitting them hard, below are quotes Coach Calipari and some of his players:
Cal post game: “play game like this, it hurts you. It was in our hands to take the decision out of committee’s hands and we didn’t do it
— Darrell Bird (@DarrellBird) March 16, 2013
Ryan Harrow: “I missed all my shots I was supposed to make. … I take full responsibility for this loss.” Harrow shot 2-for-15. — Aaron Smith (@ASmithRivals) March 16, 2013
Harrow: “Of course we want to get to the tournament, because if we play well we can beat anybody. And I basically just messed it up for us.” — Aaron Smith (@ASmithRivals) March 16, 2013
Wiltjer: “It’s always tough playing anyone 3 times. We got to give them credit. But we just didn’t show up to play. That’s the bottom line.” — Brett Dawson (@BDawsonRivals) March 16, 2013
Julius Mays: “I know there’s not 67 teams in the country better than us.” — Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) March 16, 2013
Mays: “Hopefully they give us the opportunity to get in a play-in game, and hopefully the teams lose that we need to lose.” — Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) March 16, 2013
Cauley-Stein on the emotional Harrow: “When you leave here, you’ve gotta make sure you stay with him,” don’t let him “go in a shell.” — Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) March 16, 2013
It’s not been the season he wanted, but Julius was the first person to talk after the game. Poythress: “He told us to keep our heads up.”
— Aaron Smith (@ASmithRivals) March 16, 2013
Mays on Vandy: “I think it was on guys’ minds that we already beat them twice so it was going to be a walk in the park.” Oops.
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_CJ) March 16, 2013
Willie Cauley-Stein said he’ll take the blame for UK’s lack of energy. Says it’s his job to bring that, and his 2 early fouls killed it.
— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonRivals) March 16, 2013
Harrow was inconsolable in the locker room. Said if they don’t make the tournament, it’s his fault.
— Mary Jo Perino (@mjp18) March 16, 2013
CoachCal.com had video reaction from some of the players after the loss:
After the game, Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley-Stein make a case for why UK should be in the NCAA, posted on Vaught’s Views:
NASHVILLE — During the postgame press conference after Friday’s loss to Vanderbilt, Kentucky freshmen Archie Goodwin and Willie Cauley-Stein were asked to make a case for UK still being in the NCAA Tournament.
Here’s what they said — and see if you agree or disagree.
Goodwin:”I feel that we definitely have the talent and we have a good wins against quality teams and, you know, some of those games we were right in there with the teams. We lost the game. We’re a team that’s going to compete. It’s just a lot of us doing it every day. Once we can figure out to where we can continue to compete game after game, then things — that will be even better than they are, but until we figure that out, man, nothing is going to change.”
Cauley-Stein: “I mean, we beat three ranked teams, Florida, Ole Miss, and Missouri, and Missouri is in it, so I don’t see, you know, we can’t compete, either. This is a matter of getting our stuff together.”
Jon Hale of KYForward.com has no shortage of theories when it comes to UK’s blowout loss to Vandy last night.
There were no shortage of theories as to why the Cats played as badly as they did.
“We were prepared, coach gave us a lot of good things, and we just didn’t show up to play,” Wiltjer said.
“We got the shots we needed to get. We got a lot of shots in the lane, none of them just fell,” said freshman forward Willie Cauley-Stein. “There’s nothing you can do when you’re just shooting the ball, especially from two feet from the basket, and it just rims out.”
“I think it was on guys’ mind that we already beat them twice, so maybe thought it was going to be a walk in the park,” Mays said.
There was even some credit to the opponent.
“They’re playing great right now, and it was us playing an egg,” Calipari said. “It was a combination, which is why the score was what it was.”
UK trailed by 14 at halftime and never pulled closer than 11 points in the second half. A 10-0 run midway through the second half cut the lead to 48-37 with 12:46 remaining, but Vanderbilt scored the next five points to bring the lead back to 16.
UK players will now have to wait until Sunday to find whether their season will include a NCAA Tournament appearance.
They haven’t lost all hope yet.
“The good news is everyone seems to be losing,” Calipari said. “I just hope we’re the best of the bad right now.”