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Columbia, MO. 12-28-22
The UK Men’s basketball program continues to cause fans and experts alike to scratch their heads. UK has had little issues with teams on their schedule that they are supposed to beat. The Cats are now 1-4 against Power 5 Conference teams. Their lone win was in London against Michigan. Their four losses have been to Michigan State, a game they gave away, Gonzaga, UCLA & last nights loss to Missouri.
UK traveled to Columbia to open their SEC season, against a very good Missouri Tigers who entered the game at 11-1. The Wildcats jumped out to a 3-2 lead 1:22 seconds in to the game on a Cason Wallace 3 pointer. The first of 5 by Cason. After that basket, the wheels came off the UK wagon. Missouri would our score UK 13-2 over the next 3 plus minutes for a 15-5 lead. The Tigers would cruise to a 42-30 halftime lead.
The second half was much like the first as Missouri opened up their biggest lead of 21 points at the 4:07 mark with a score of 84-63. UK would out score the Tigers 12-5 the rest of the way, but the game was decided long before then. UK was led by Oscar Tshiebwe with 23 points and 19 rebounds. Missouri was led by Kobe Brown with 30 points.
Kentucky’s other 7 wins were against teams they should have beaten, like Howard, Duquesne, SC State, North Florida, Bellarmine, Yale & Florida A&M. Not exactly murders row. Throw in the 4 games in the Bahamas as well as 2 exhibition games and the cats have now played 18 games, but continue to look lost, out of sync and play with very little urgency.
In the past 3 seasons alone, UK is a combined 45-28 including last night. They are 22-14 in the SEC over the same span. This also includes the first round bounce from the NCAA Tournament last season. UK fans want to know one thing, WHAT IS GOING ON!! UK fans want and expect a championship team year in and year out. With the one & done route that Coach Cal exceeded at over the years, now giving way to the Transfer Portal, you get players with playing experience under their belt in the NCAA. If the past 3 years is any indication, that doesn’t necessarily mean the team will be better prepared as playing at UK is not easy. UK has failed to reach 30 wins the past 3 seasons and if this year is any indication so far, it will be 4 straight. During this time, UK has relinquished the all time NCAA wins leader to another blue blood, the Kansas Jayhawks.
If you follow UK basketball on one of the dozens of webpages and Facebook pages, you will see, that UK fans are less than happy with plenty calling for the firing/resignation of Coach Calipari. Most feel his method of coaching is outdated and he refuses to change. Coach Cal went as far as to say fans were too hard on players and making it hard to play for the Wildcats. A lot of fans we talked to say that Coach Cal need only to look in the mirror to see the problem with the UK Basketball program. By far the biggest complaint given to SVA is Coach Cal spending more time about getting players to the NBA and less time building a Championship team. The fan base may very well be right.
UK has their annual game coming up with a Louisville team that is having a very down season coming to UK with a 2-11 record informer UK Assistant Kenny Payne. After the calendar turns to January, the Cats schedule get quite a bit tougher.
@ Alabama 11-2
South Carolina 6-6
Texas A&M 7-5
@ Vandy 6-6
@ Mississippi 8-5
If the Cats continue their lackadaisical play, they could easily finish January with an 12-10 record. This season has all the trappings of the 2020-2021 season that the Cats finished 9-16 and 8-9 in the SEC.
UK’s record over the past 7 seasons
Year Win – Losses / SEC
2022-2023 – 8-4 / 0-1
2021-2022 – 28-8 / 14-4
2020-2021 – 9-16 / 8-9
2019-2020 – 28-6 / 15-3
2018-2019 – 37-7 / 15-3
2017-2018 – 29-11 / 10-8
2016-2017 – 34-6 / 16-2
2015-2016 – 30-9 / 13-5