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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Kentucky coach John Calipari goes off on team after upset loss in NIT

03.20.13 at 7:57 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Hornets, 8 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Nets at Mavericks, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, LIU Brooklyn vs. James Madison, 6:40 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, La Salle vs. Boise State, 9:10 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NIT, Indiana State at Iowa, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, Mercer at Tennessee, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, Long Beach State at Baylor, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, Detroit at Arizona State, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Wild at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB preseason: Red Sox at Yankees, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB preseason: Indians at Angels, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

♦ For Kentucky coach John Calipari, Tuesday night’s first-round NIT loss to Robert Morris was a fitting end to a miserable season. And he was not shy about admitting it.

“This is a shot in the arm for [Robert Morris] and they deserve to win the game,” Calipari said after his top-seeded Wildcats missed a 3-pointer with one second left and dropped a 59-57 decision to the eighth-seeded Colonials. “If we’d have won at the buzzer, it would have been a shame.”

Kentucky rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to force a tie, but Mike McFadden hit two free throws with 8.7 seconds remaining to oust the defending national champions, whose season was plagued by injuries and inconsistency.

“This is humbling,” Calipari said. “They think we’re supposed to win 30 a year, 35 a year, go to the Final Four, win a national title.”

Calipari was blunt about the problems his team had this season.

“They haven’t had any discipline all year,” he said. “We ended on a note we’ve been talking about [all year]. We can’t really play [disciplined].”

Added Calipari: “The stuff I had to withstand this year … the program almost got hijacked. Never in my career have I surrendered in any way to any team and I did at times this year, to try to save guys, to try to help guys, and it never works.”

The game was played at Robert Morris, minutes from Calipari’s boyhood home in Western Pennsylvania, as Kentucky’s arena was being prepared to host NCAA tournament games. The arena was jammed with 3,500 boisterous fans who stormed the court after the win. It helped ease the pain of Robert Morris missing the NCAAs after winning the Northeast Conference regular-season title but losing in the conference tournament.

“It’s probably the greatest consolation prize you can possibly have,” Robert Morris coach Andy Toole said.

Jim Brown, arguably the greatest running back of all time, weighed in on the proposed rule to penalize ball-carriers who lower their head and initiate contact with a defender. Brown, speaking from the league meetings in Phoenix, said he has no problem with the suggested rule.

“I didn’t use my head,” Brown said, via Newsday. “I used my forearm. The palm of my hand. And my shoulder. And my shoulder pads. I wasn’t putting my head into too much of anything. I don’t think that’s a good idea. At least it doesn’t sound like a good idea to me if I’m not guaranteed that my head is going to be strong enough to hurt somebody else and not hurt myself.”

Added Brown: “Nobody I ever broke bread with, and I see players all the time, talked about using their head running the football. I’ve seen Barry Sanders and Eric Dickerson and Marcus Allen and Franco Harris and we’ve all been together — we were all together at the Super Bowl — and no one talked about using their head.”

♦ With the NCAA tournament upon us, Real Clear Sports has a list of the top 10 March Madness shockers.

No. 1 is George Mason’s run to the Final Four in 2006, including an overtime victory over top-seeded UConn in the regional final. No. 2 is VCU’s victory over top-seeded Kansas in the regional final in 2011. No. 3 is Villanova over Georgetown in the 1985 championship game. No. 6 is Cleveland State — coached by Boston native Kevin Mackey — over Indiana in 1986.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 20, 1957, the movie “Fear Strikes Out” made its premiere. Which Red Sox player was profiled in the film?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m just glad Wes Welker isn’t there. I hated Wes Welker. I’m kidding … kind of. Actually, I’m a huge fan of Wes Welker. He had historical success. That’s some big shoes for [Danny Amendola] to fill.” — Jets coach Rex Ryan, on Welker departure from the Patriots

STAT OF THE DAY: 5 – Games this season in which the Bruins have lost after leading in the third period, with Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Jets the latest occurrence

‘NET RESULTS: From the final seconds of a tie basketball game in France, Rouen coach Laurent Sciarra inexplicably reaches out and touches the ball while a player for Boulogne-sur-mer has possession. The coach then appears to deny that he did anything wrong after the referee calls him for a technical foul that costs his team the game.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Outfielder Jimmy Piersall

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Carl Palmer, drummer for Emerson, Lake & Palmer, was born on this day in 1950.

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