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Thursday, July 9, 2020

John Calipari: Loss to Tennessee was good for Kentucky

John Calipari

Losing a game is about the worst thing that can happen to a team in the eyes of most fans, but John Calipari actually thinks a loss was a good thing for his Kentucky squad.

Kentucky is ranked No. 4 in the country and 17-3 on the season. They lost two non-conference games to UCLA and Louisville, but then they recently lost in conference to Tennessee.

With a roster full of young players, Calipari believes the defeat to the Vols on Tuesday night was good for the development of his youngsters.

“You’ve got to let them fail fast and hope they learn from those mistakes,” Calipari said on ESPN’s “College GameDay” program Saturday morning. “If you try to tell them, ‘that won’t work,’ you’re kind of holding them. You have to let them go a little bit and they’re going to make some mistakes.

“I hate to tell you, losing to Tennessee was good for us because I didn’t have their attention,” Calipari said of his players. “We almost lost to Mississippi State, we almost lost to Auburn, and now we lost to Tennessee. We didn’t have the energy. So that’s the kind of stuff with young kids.”

Kentucky only played eight guys during Tuesday’s loss to Tennessee — all but two are freshman or sophomores. Four of the starting five are freshmen, which explains why Calipari wants them to take their lumps early in the season so they can be at their best in March. Though his quote sounds odd on the surface, it actually makes plenty of sense.

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