ST. LOUIS — John Calipari left the podium in the interview room shaking his head.
Not about anything said by one of his players or anything that happened during the game.
He had just discovered what time Saturday’s semifinal game will be played.
“It’s at noon?” Calipari said with an incredulous tone.
Noon Central, which meant a lot of work for the Kentucky coach after his team handled a worn-out Georgia team 62-49 Friday. Kentucky (22-10) will play Alabama Saturday for a trip to the tournament final.
Kentucky had to grind it out against a Georgia team that was playing its third game in three days. Player of the year Yante Maten, who was dealing with a thigh bruise, was limited to nine points by Kentucky’s trapping defense.
It was Georgia’s lowest point total since 2016.
“It was their third game in three days so our message was, ‘Let’s get into their legs,’ “ Calipari said.
PJ Washington led Kentucky with 18 points as the Wildcats won the battle in the paint 38-12 despite being out-rebounded.
“No excuses,” Maten said. “You just gotta get it done.”
Because they did not, the Bulldogs and their 18-15 record may be headed for the NIT. But the future of Georgia coach Mark Fox became the topic du jour almost as soon as the final buzzer sounded.
Fox said he was focused on getting his team ready rather than job security. Calipari came to his friend’s defense.
“I know how good a coach he is,” Calipari said. “I told him before the game I hoped they beat us and win two more and squash all that crap.
“Let’s hope Georgia understands they’re in good hands.”
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports, “Not now. We just lost a game. I haven’t even talked to Mark.”