Things just continue to crumble for John Calipari and his young Kentucky team.
With a 1-5 record coming into today, coach Cal’s Wildcats were in the midst of the program’s worst start since 1927. If you’re a Kentucky fan thinking things couldn’t get any worse — they just did.
The Wildcats fell to the arch-rival Louisville Cardinals 59-62 in dramatic fashion on Saturday afternoon. This was the first unranked meeting between the teams since 2007-08.
With a No. 23 spot on the all-time NCAA Division 1 basketball wins list, it’s safe to say John Calipari isn’t used to losing. After now dropping six games in a row, the coach didn’t take this loss too well.
“Losing stinks, it just stinks. We gotta right the ship at some point,” Calipari told reporters after the game.
"Losing stinks, it just stinks. We gotta right the ship at some point." https://t.co/M36X3ZuNSf
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) December 26, 2020
As is customary for Kentucky basketball, this year’s team is rife with inexperienced but elite talent. With eight freshman on the squad, it’s not uncommon for John Calipari to have five first years on the court at once.
Usually, coach Cal and his young team can iron out these issues early on or lean on their talent to get them through — but not this year.
Calipari attributes their lack of success to unprecedented 2020 circumstances and a tough opening stretch of games. After the loss to Louisville today, coach Cal said he regretted creating such a tough schedule.
“This was the stupidest schedule I’ve ever put together. I’d like to smack myself in the mouth,” Calipari said.
John Calipari: “This was the stupidest schedule I’ve ever put together. I’d like to smack myself in the mouth.”
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) December 26, 2020
The Wildcats had just one easy game before diving into some tough competition.
After blowing out Morehead State 81-45 in the opening game of the season, Kentucky faced a surprisingly stout Richmond team. The Spiders climbed into the top 25 and held that spot until suffering a 10-point loss to No. 11 West Virginia.
Losses to Georgia Tech and Notre Dame were both mid-tier games that the Wildcats could’ve and probably should’ve won, but they’re certainly nothing to sneeze at.
With the struggles they’ve faced so far, losses to No. 7 Kansas and No. 22 North Carolina were to be expected.
Excuses aside though, it’s certainly odd to see John Calipari and the perennial Kentucky powerhouse in this position.