John Calipari-led Kentucky beat Buffalo 95-75 on Saturday, ending the Bulls’ run at a Cinderella Sweet 16 appearance. Afterward, Bulls coach Nate Oats was classy in defeat.
Leading up to the game, there was a bit of drama between Oats and Calipari. Oats accused Calipari of whining about Kentucky’s lack of experience this season.
“Calipari’s been whining about no experience — young, young, young,” Oats said this week. “We don’t have that problem.”
Whether Oats meant it as a jab or just misspoke, it wasn’t a great look. And he apologized for it, relatively unprompted after Kentucky’s win on Saturday.
“I’ll tell you this, I apologized to him before the game,” Oats said. “I used the word whining. That’s a bad word choice of him talking about their youth all year. I don’t know why I chose that word. Big Blue Nation certainly let me know about it, don’t want to get them mad, they’re tweeting all day long.
“I apologized to him. He said he didn’t take it the wrong way. I’ve got a ton of respect for him. … We had a good talk before the game.”
Calipari may not have taken it the wrong way, but he didn’t love the word choice in the days before the game.
“I don’t know if it’s whining or telling the truth. I’m not whining about it,” Calipari said. “I’ve got a pretty good team. ‘He should not tell the truth. He should not even say it. Introduce them and don’t give their year.’ That’s fine. At the end of the day we’ve got to go play a basketball game. Everybody has got to get in the ring and play.”
Oats, 43, is a young coach who may run into Calipari again in the near future.