John Calipari shared a message with Kentucky fans on Saturday, two days after his team’s unexpected and disappointing loss in the NCAA Tournament.
Calipari’s Wildcats lost 85-79 in overtime to Saint Peter’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday. Kentucky entered as a No. 2 seed and nearly a 20-point favorite against the Peacocks. But the game was close all throughout, remaining as mostly a 1 or 2-possession contest before going to OT, where Saint Peter’s pulled ahead.
Well aware of the frustration surrounding the upset loss, Calipari addressed Big Blue Nation.
“I feel for our team, our fans and our staff. This team deserved something good to happen because of how they worked and what great teammates they became. Our fans deserved it too. You stayed with us when Covid shut down the tournament two years ago, and we all wanted to see that team make a special run. We all went through last season, which started late and never really got going, and was disappointing to all involved,” Calipari wrote.
“We were all ready for this year. This team didn’t disappoint and I remain proud and fond of each of these players. Please steer your disappointment and anger toward me. These kids did this for all of the BBN and I wish I could have dragged them over the finish line.
“My focus is on these kids and recruiting so we continue being a program that has a chance to do something special EVERY YEAR. The culture we’ve built in this program expects that and demands it.
“I love and appreciate our fans!!”
The note was very much called for. Kentucky has some of the most passionate fans in college basketball. The Wildcats went 9-16 last season, by far the worst season ever under Calipari. They performed well in the regular season this year, but went down against Saint Peter’s. Wildcats fans are extremely invested in the program and want better results.