Head coach John Calipari had warned the media that going to Florida was not going to be an easy task and that he was excited to learn more about his team. Calipari knew that his young roster is not quite ready to go on the road and beat one of the nation’s best teams. He was exactly right.
Kentucky had 17 turnovers to help spark the Florida offense, who jumped out to a 31-19 lead in the first half.
“We just played soft, scared, uptight. We let the pressure get to us. Usually, we’re really good with the press. I don’t know what it was today, but we just weren’t tough enough,” Kentucky guard Julius Mays said.
They will get there, though. Calipari is a Hall of Fame caliber coach and knows that getting Kentucky to where they need to be is a process. His players are not as talented as they were in past seasons and he is doing a great job coaching this team up in each game situation.
An example of this would be the growth of freshman sensation Nerlens Noel in the past few weeks, especially on the defensive end of the floor. Unfortunately, Noel injured his left knee with eight minutes to play. He was screaming in pain on the court before being helped off the floor by his teammates. Noel will be further examined at a campus hospital.
Depending upon the extent and seriousness of the injury, Calipari could lean a lot more about his team as they still need to do some work on their resume to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
With games against the Missouri Tigers and a rematch against the Gators in Lexington, Ky. coming up, the Wildcats still have room to grow and beat some quality teams.
Calipari can only hope he will have Noel in the lineup to help the Wildcats for the remainder of the season.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter @CoachDeSalvo