John Calipari is a realist. Give him that.
After Marquette ended his team's eight-game winning streak last week, the head coach of the University of Memphis said: "This is us. We shot 38 percent. This is us. Weve been shooting like this since the beginning of the year."
The Golden Eagles built an 11-point lead in the second half before freshman Scooter McFadgon hit three pressure free throws to tie it at 65 with 1:20 to go. McFadgon was cool under pressure as he calmly hit all three shots after being fouled on a three point attempt. Too bad a couple other players couldn't provide the same sort of ice under fire.
Two silly fouls in the final minute of the game, both whistled with less than 10 seconds remaining on the shot clock, proved fatal for the Tigers. Marquette made all four free throws and ended the longest winning streak in C-USA.
"When you go on a winning streak sometimes you put your head in the sand and think that you are beyond where you are," Calipari continued. "We still have the same issues that we were dealing with four weeks ago."
Issues such as shooting (from the field and from the line) and being smart on the court. The coach says he can accept the former but has more trouble with the latter. Teams that don't shoot well have to make up for it in other ways, like playing smart basketball.
The Tigers also have a habit of beginning games without much intensity. Calipari says they have to start games better.
"Our energy level has got to be higher than it is to start these games," the coach said. "We start thinking that we can play bad and win. Not against good teams -- we cannot."
And that brings up a final point where Calipari is realistic. The 8-game winning streak came against teams that Memphis should have beaten.
"Maybe people around town thought they were games that we havent won in the past," Cal admitted. "Well, I thought we should have won them."
A realist to the end.