What did Kentucky learn from its loss at Alabama?
Five takeaways from Monday’s interviews looking back on Saturday’s loss at Alabama and ahead to Monday’s home game against Texas A&M:
▪ More than once, John Calipari spoke of UK reverting at Alabama. For instance, the willingness to pass decreased. The UK coach said the team made 270 passes at Alabama. That compares with 324 at Louisville.
▪ Calipari downplayed any negativity on social media that might have been sparked by the loss at Alabama. He said he does not pay attention to social media. Earlier, he said he tries to shield players from the “clutter” that is part of playing for Kentucky. By clutter, he said he meant advice, suggestions and comments made by people close to each individual player.
▪ Calipari elaborated on why he called for Reid Travis to take a three-point shot late in the game at Alabama. It was a way to pay tribute to Travis’ work ethic and to show him that the coach’s faith in his abilities had not diminished.
▪ While UK coaches encourage players to spend more time in the gym, Calipari noted the need to get away from basketball on occasion. He said he suggests books for the players to read. One recent selection was “Life Word: Discover Your One Word to Leave a Legacy.” He asked the players to pick one word as a mantra for 2019. Calipari’s word for himself: “Build.”
▪ Tyler Herro said Tevin Mack did not figure prominently in UK’s game plan going into the Alabama game. After scoring 20 points in the first half, Mack had two points in the second. Maybe not so coincidentally, Herro switched onto Mack in the second half. When asked if he could be called a defensive stopper, Herro smiled.