John Adams: Kentucky winning the Calipari way

John Adams
Kentucky coach John Calipari yells to his team during the second half of their NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, in Lexington, Ky. No. 18 Kentucky won 73-61.

Photo by AP Photo / Ed Reinke

Kentucky coach John Calipari yells to his team during the second half of their NCAA college basketball game against Tennessee, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, in Lexington, Ky. No. 18 Kentucky won 73-61.

Bruce Pearl talks about the Vols' loss at Kentucky

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The sign at one end of Rupp Arena told everyone who saw it that Tennessee basketball had returned to normalcy.

The sign read: “We hate you Bruce Pearl,” which is as close as the UT coach will get to a “welcome back” from Kentucky fans.

Other fans were more vocal. “Cheater,” they shouted at Pearl, reminding everyone within earshot why the coach was suspended for his team’s first eight SEC games.

By pointing out Pearl’s variance from the NCAA rulebook, Kentucky fans proved they have as much nerve as passion when it comes to basketball.

Question: What’s the difference between an old NCAA investigator and a new one?

Answer: The new one hasn’t investigated Kentucky basketball.

But what happened late Tuesday night was more about current events than tradition.

Never mind that the Wildcats have won five of the last six games in the series and the last four at home. Their recent success is no longer an example of an established superpower beating up on an up-and-coming underdog.

What’s traditional about winning with freshmen? The Wildcats did it last year and they did it last night.

They just did it with different freshmen.

Last year, the likes of John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins led the charge as Kentucky won two of three from the Vols, including a 74-45 rout in the SEC tournament. This time, the freshmen of note in Kentucky’s 73-61 victory were Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Brandon Knight, who combined for 31 points.

Kentucky’s success wasn’t exclusively freshmen-driven. Senior Josh Harrellson was a surprising force inside with 16 points, and junior guard DeAndre Liggins, who had 19 points, was the catalyst to a first-half Wildcats surge that produced a 19-point lead.

But when the Wildcats were at their best, the freshmen were involved.

Like most freshmen, they had their ups and downs, which helps explain how UT cut the 19-point lead to five early in the second half. As those freshmen raised their level of play, UT quickly found itself down by 17.

Calipari’s second wave of freshmen reflects the turnabout in the rivalry. If you discount those nettlesome NCAA issues, UT actually has become the more stable program.

The Vols have had more 20-plus-win seasons in Pearl’s six years than the Wildcats have. And while Pearl has become a conference mainstay worthy of derogatory signs, Kentucky is on its third head coach of the Pearl era.

Those NCAA matters provide more evidence of the role reversal. Long ignored by investigators, the Vols are on the verge of getting penalized — perhaps severely — by the NCAA. Conversely, the Wildcats, who have an infamous history of run-ins with the NCAA, appear downright pristine — or at least as pristine as you can be with Calipari as your front man.

Pearl’s team had a couple of obvious advantages Tuesday over the SEC’s marquee program. It had more experience and depth.

But Kentucky trumped both with talent.

That’s not winning the traditional way. That’s winning the Calipari way.

© 2011 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 24

stompintheswamp2 writes:

Well we didn't look that "stable" tonite. Maybe unstable is what we need to be if thats what it takes to beat Ky 5 of 6 times.
You are right though, Calipari somehow always manages to pull off the "who me?" Disgusting.

stantorini writes:

Does John Adams have a journalism degree? I don't think I've read a more pedestrian analysis of a sports team...he is at best a good sleeping pill though...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

ctownvol writes:

The Calipari way? Shady (at best) recruiting practices and vacated wins?

crockett1836 writes:

Ok since no one else is saying it. Caliper put Memphis on sanctions by "helping" Derrick Rose with his SAT. According to ESPN, Bruce is addicted to barbecues and is peddling to minors, well at least to Juniors...because it's ok if they're Seniors.

Madkels writes:

UK didn't impress me with their play last night. The Vols are just terrible though. This has to be the most disappointing team Bruce has put on the floor. Missed open looks, out hustled, lack of confidence (Steven Pearl wide open from 8 ft and looking to pass), poor rebounding effort. I could go on. It just is so frustrating to see a team start 7-0 and then turn into a .500 ball club. Now a trip to that place in Fla. with the rudest fans in the nation.

SummittsCourt writes:

Winning the Calipari way is to buy all the best players money can buy and then leave once the NCAA starts to investigate. Kentucky fans are a joke! At least Pearl is man enough to admit it. calipari is an old school thug. There is nothing clean about him and kentucky fans will learn this the hard way as all of his other schools have.

TNORANGEDOGDAD writes:

Was that Little Eddie Muenster coaching those Wildcats? Had his Haircut.

Pullingguard writes:

The Vols need some speed and they need some shooters, something that KY has and the Vols do not have. Speed, Movement without the ball, and good shooters just made the Vols look really bad.

cargen#1339565 writes:

Talent won over slow movement tonight. Ky. earns their way to the foul line by driving and movement. Take away the foul line and see what you have on the board. We struggle at the line if we ever get there, while Ky keeps knocking them down. Did Tatum make the trip? We must come up with a threat from outside on a consistent basis. Ky was the aggressor and we were slow getting a loose ball or rebound.

rbut5252#220065 writes:

The state snake of Kensucky will leave Lexington just one step ahead of the heavy hand of the NCAA like he did at UMASS and Tigerhigh.

CapStormfield_1 (Inactive) writes:

I couldn't finish the article. Yes, I bleed UK blue. So do a lot of folks who live around Knoxville. It looks to me like the 'Cats are taking care of their business, while the Vols are still waiting for the NCAA shoe to drop on Pearl. So why is Adams busting UK chops?

A better idea for a story might be a look at why the Vols are so 'up and down' this year.

eduardo writes:

in response to CapStormfield_1:

I couldn't finish the article. Yes, I bleed UK blue. So do a lot of folks who live around Knoxville. It looks to me like the 'Cats are taking care of their business, while the Vols are still waiting for the NCAA shoe to drop on Pearl. So why is Adams busting UK chops?

A better idea for a story might be a look at why the Vols are so 'up and down' this year.

because in 5 short yrs it'll be you turn death penalty U!!!!!!!!!

tnvol4ever writes:

Funny how UK fans want to trash Pearl.
Hasn't UK had NCAA sanctions more than any other program? Thats a streak Cal can keep going.
Welcome to Rupp Arena where you can outscore the home team from the field and still lose by double digits. Do SEC officials know what an illegal screen is? Don't think KY could get an open shot without a moving pick. Is that what Cal calls his dribble drive? ONLY IN RUPP!!!

tnvol4ever writes:

Cal is already putting his stamp on UK. Just do a little research (Google) on Eric Bledsoe's High School grades.
Disappearing transcripts, changing grades, phantom classes, etc. I'm sure he was in class everyday and a 4.0 student at Uk. But at least Cal didn't have a BBQ.

TNVol71 writes:

I agree that UT looked like a high school team against the Celtics last night--no boxing out, lazy passes, and missed layups and shots from 3 feet. Even though Bruce is on the hot seat for lying to the NCAA, at least he hasn't cost UT all of the games to a final 4. CJC has done that for his last 2 schools. It is just a matter of time before he brings that same publicity to UK. GBO!!

MillaRocks writes:

in response to crockett1836:

Ok since no one else is saying it. Caliper put Memphis on sanctions by "helping" Derrick Rose with his SAT. According to ESPN, Bruce is addicted to barbecues and is peddling to minors, well at least to Juniors...because it's ok if they're Seniors.

The comment made about Calipari is slanderous! If you have evidence that proves what you are saying get it to the NCAA, if not, stop making accusations you know are not true! For your information the NCAA made it clear Calipari was never a target in the Rose issue!

MillaRocks writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

Winning the Calipari way is to buy all the best players money can buy and then leave once the NCAA starts to investigate. Kentucky fans are a joke! At least Pearl is man enough to admit it. calipari is an old school thug. There is nothing clean about him and kentucky fans will learn this the hard way as all of his other schools have.

As I said to another poster, your comments are slanderous unless you can prove they are true. If you can, send the information to the NCAA, if not, you need to stop your comments. Remember Pearl lied when first asked and only when he realized he was caught did he come clean. Plus as this paper has reported this is not Pearls first dance with the NCAA on something that he did. Calipari, to my knowledge, has never been the target of an investigation, the schools he is at yes, but never anything he personally has done.

MillaRocks writes:

in response to tnvol4ever:

Funny how UK fans want to trash Pearl.
Hasn't UK had NCAA sanctions more than any other program? Thats a streak Cal can keep going.
Welcome to Rupp Arena where you can outscore the home team from the field and still lose by double digits. Do SEC officials know what an illegal screen is? Don't think KY could get an open shot without a moving pick. Is that what Cal calls his dribble drive? ONLY IN RUPP!!!

Wow! So Kentucky has no talent, Tennessee does, and they only way Kentucky can win is cheat!?!?! Wake up your dreaming again! Wait, I guess TN losing to KY again was more like a nightmare for you.

Those in glass houses should not cast stones!

MillaRocks writes:

in response to TNVol71:

I agree that UT looked like a high school team against the Celtics last night--no boxing out, lazy passes, and missed layups and shots from 3 feet. Even though Bruce is on the hot seat for lying to the NCAA, at least he hasn't cost UT all of the games to a final 4. CJC has done that for his last 2 schools. It is just a matter of time before he brings that same publicity to UK. GBO!!

Not yet! You still don't know what sanctions the NCAA is going to stick on the university but if the talking heads are right it isn't going to be pretty.

MillaRocks writes:

in response to Makeing_The_Call:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Actually this is not the worst in years, the teams under "Billy the Kid" were the worst. This team has talent, it's just young. They don't have the ability to finish yet but with the crop of kids coming in next year added with the experience this team will have next year, I think Cal will have a really good team.

Colliervol writes:

in response to MillaRocks:

As I said to another poster, your comments are slanderous unless you can prove they are true. If you can, send the information to the NCAA, if not, you need to stop your comments. Remember Pearl lied when first asked and only when he realized he was caught did he come clean. Plus as this paper has reported this is not Pearls first dance with the NCAA on something that he did. Calipari, to my knowledge, has never been the target of an investigation, the schools he is at yes, but never anything he personally has done.

Calipari is just better at working it through middle men and keeping his hands semi-clean. (Does the name Worldwide Wes ring a bell?) All I know is that he's the only coach in history to have two Final Fours stripped away at different schools. Coincidence? I think not. If you believe that he didn't know about Derrick Rose cheating on his ACT to get in Memphis or if you think renting Turkish pros for one year is OK, then I have some land I'd like to talk to you about. Please don't bring that junk in here about the KY coach being a paragon of virtue.

Nobody is defending Pearl. He made a bad error in judgement by lying and I believe the punishment isn't over. (For the record, I don't believe the cookout was a big deal considering what the NCAA is letting slide at other programs.) For any KY fan to take UT to task over coaching and cheating is laughable at best but it's more along the lines of pathetic considering what they overlooked to hire Calipari. Winning a few more basketball games justifies it all though, right?

Colliervol writes:

"Winning the Calipari Way". Would that be a plethora of "one and dones", clearing a spot on the bench for Worldwide Wes and trying to rent a Turkish pro?

easleychuck writes:

in response to MillaRocks:

The comment made about Calipari is slanderous! If you have evidence that proves what you are saying get it to the NCAA, if not, stop making accusations you know are not true! For your information the NCAA made it clear Calipari was never a target in the Rose issue!

Little Milla being blind and stupid doesn't make the NCAA right.

easleychuck writes:

in response to MillaRocks:

As I said to another poster, your comments are slanderous unless you can prove they are true. If you can, send the information to the NCAA, if not, you need to stop your comments. Remember Pearl lied when first asked and only when he realized he was caught did he come clean. Plus as this paper has reported this is not Pearls first dance with the NCAA on something that he did. Calipari, to my knowledge, has never been the target of an investigation, the schools he is at yes, but never anything he personally has done.

Trolls should limited to 1 post per article.

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