Kentucky basketball continued its nightmarish start to the 2020 season with a 75-63 loss to No. 22 North Carolina on Saturday afternoon.
After being named preseason No. 10 in the AP poll, the Wildcats quickly slipped out of the top 25. John Calipari and his young squad have now dropped five straight games. This is the first time since 1926 that Kentucky has started a season with a 1-5 record.
This is the first time Kentucky has started the season 1-5 since … 1926 😳 pic.twitter.com/R1gNofmA3L
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 19, 2020
Losing like this can certainly bring out the worst in any team.
The Wildcats’ locker-room issues were on full display Saturday afternoon. Freshman Cam’Ron Fletcher cried on the bench, Terrence Clarke left the court before the game ended and Keion Brooks was the only player who didn’t refuse to talk to the media.
A Kentucky basketball reporter for The Athletic summed up the Wildcats’ turbulent Saturday with a tweet after the game.
So Kentucky completely melted down on the court. Cam Fletcher threw a fit. Calipari nuked Terrence Clarke all day and Clarke left the court before the game ended. Then no one but Keion Brooks, who did not play, would go do postgame interviews.
The Cats' problems run deep.
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) December 19, 2020
As is standard for Calipari run teams, Kentucky is stacked with highly-touted freshman talent. It’s not uncommon for Kentucky’s younger teams to take a little bit of time to get going. But, with this year’s unprecedented COVID-19 season, it’s even more difficult for these young guys to get into the swing of things.
It doesn’t help that this year’s squad has even more underclassmen than usual. With eight freshman on the roster, it’s fairly typical for coach Cal to have five first years on the court at once.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, their schedule doesn’t get much easier in the coming weeks. Next Saturday, the reeling squad travels to Louisville to take on their rival No. 23 Cardinals.
One thing’s for sure: it’s going to take a lot more than young talent to mend the damage sustained to team morale today.