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John Calipari was slightly animated on the sidelines against Duke
Judging the head coach's letter grade is never an easy task but I feel confident giving John a solid A-minus overall. He did a wonderful job throughout the entire game of keeping his players in the game mentally but also did not get the job done in the end.
First of all, he kept a short leash on his rotation and limited it to seven players versus Duke. Being that he was down a man in point guard Ryan Harrow, Calipari had no choice but to play his best players for the majority of the game. He did so and avoided foul trouble, while also keeping his team in the contest right up until the end.
Kudos also go to Calipari for putting Alex Poythress and Nerlens Noel in position to succeed tonight, as they both produced their best games of the season. He made adjustments after the Maryland game and each player responded strongly with great effort and tenacity.
However, he also deserves some blame for the lack of effectiveness of any player at the point guard spot. Jarrod Polson failed to recapture the magic of his previous game, while Archie Goodwin turned the ball over often while playing point guard. The same result happened when Julius Mays ran the point guard spot, which again resulted in turnovers.
Moving forward, it is imperative that John Calipari develops one of these players into a capable backup point guard who can spell or replace Harrow when needed. If he does so than the rest of the coaching will fall into place.
All in all, he kept his team positive and upbeat after Duke ballooned to a 15-point lead in the second half. They showed heart and nearly fought all the way back. This is all a part of coaching and John Calipari did a fine job of just that. He did a great job all game long but failed to win in the end. Either way, he turned in a fine performance.