Written by: Ben Brown – Staff Writing Intern (@TheBigShalom)
I had the unfortunate pleasure of witnessing John Calipari’s 5th loss in Rupp Arena. Kentucky went into the game ranked 1st and to be honest, I thought they would stay there the rest of the year. Up until today, they have ran teams out of the gym. It was assumed that this was going to be a high scoring game with both teams having the run and gun mentality, but UCLA had the better game plan to stop the Cats in transition.
Steve Alford had his guards back on defense at all costs. Alford made sure that UK would not get a fast break from a missed shot. What came of that was the exposure of UK’s power forward position. Willis and Gabriel were both out muscled and out rebounded all game. The second chances on offense lead to a plethora of threes from Hamilton, Ball and Alford. UCLA shot 53% overall. To come into Rupp Arena and win takes perfect execution and aside for the 18 turnovers, UCLA played a perfect game.
The silver lining for Kentucky is that they got the first loss out of the way. They know what it feels like to lose on national television and in front of 24,000 in their own gym. I can guarantee that they will do everything possible to not let this happen again. The Cats have an amazing opportunity to prove that they deserve to be #1 again with games against UNC, Louisville and Kansas left on the schedule.