“Their coach outcoached our coach. It’s disappointing that they beat us to every loose ball… Their bigs outplayed us, out hustled us, outworked us… their guards beat us to balls, made better plays…” That’s Kentucky coach John Calipari after his No. 1-ranked Wildcats got tossed by the UCLA Bruins 87-77 at Pauley Pavilion, a matchup featuring two of the most famous basketball programs in the country. The rivalry had been lopsided of late, in Kentucky’s favor. They held the Bruins to just 7 points in the whole first half in last year’s game, losing by 39.
UCLA message boards after the game were asking proudly if this was Bruins’ head coach Steve Alford‘s “signature game” in John Wooden’s legendary seat. Calipari might say yes if had a vote. “Their coach… Steve did a great job preparing his team. I thought they were going to play zone,” Calipari said. “They never went to the zone — didn’t have to.”