Everyone was penciling Kentucky into the Final Four — the problem was that they had two more games to play to get there.
Given that only ninth-seeded Kansas State and 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago stood between Kentucky and a Final Four appearance, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that they’d punch their ticket to Glendale.
But that’s why they play the games.
Kansas State jumped out to an early lead, which forced Kentucky to play on their heels the entire game. They were never able to dictate the tempo, and they played a lot more cautious than we’re used to seeing them play. As a result, they were uncomfortable, and turned the ball over 15 times, which Kansas State cashed in on. They also made a number of costly mistakes down the stretch.
Head coach John Calipari chalked that up to “inexperience.” Here’s what he told reporters after the game.
“The inexperience came through a little bit … I should’ve called timeout [on Kentucky’s second-to-last offensive possession,” Calipari said.
Truer words have never been spoken, and Calipari was correct on both fronts. The team played like a group of freshmen, and got sucked into the moment. As for Calipari, it was astonishing that he didn’t call a timeout late. That resulted in his Wildcats settling for abysmal shots on their two final possessions of the game.