Florida beat Kentucky 66-64 inside Rupp Arena on Saturday to drop the Wildcats’ record to 14-5 overall and 4-3 in the SEC. Consequently, UK is now outside of the top 30 at KenPom for the first time since it lost Nerlens Noel to a torn ACL and spiraled into the 2013 NIT. So things clearly aren’t going as planned with this team that was ranked fifth in the preseason AP poll.
Kentucky is 2-2 against top-50 KenPom teams with two sub-50 losses. The Wildcats have zero wins over currently ranked teams. They’re 3-4 away from Rupp Arena. They’re 59th in offensive efficiency, 28th in defensive efficiency and not really great at anything other than getting to the free throw line and guarding the three-point line. In short, this is unusual — and a reminder that winning with a roster filled with first-year players isn’t as easy as John Calipari normally makes it look.
Is there still time to get things fixed?
Calipari has taken teams with six league losses to the Final Four twice. So only a fool would completely count him out now. But, that said, there’s no denying this UK team is different than most UK teams in that this is Calipari’s first UK team without a guaranteed top-10 NBA Draft pick. In fact, this could go down as the first year since 2007 — dating back to his days at Memphis — that Calipari has coached a team without a player who was selected in the top 10 of the subsequent NBA Draft.
Take a look …
- 2008: No. 1 Derrick Rose
- 2009: No. 7 Tyreke Evans
- 2010: No. 1 John Wall, No. 5 DeMarcus Cousins
- 2011: No. 8 Brandon Knight
- 2012: No. 1 Anthony Davis, No. 2 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
- 2013: No. 6 Nerlens Noel
- 2014: No. 7 Julius Randle
- 2015: No. 1 Karl-Anthony Towns, No. 6 Willie Cauley-Stein
- 2016: No. 7 Jamal Murray
- 2017: No. 5 De’Aaron Fox
- 2018: ???
Bottom line, Kentucky is still talented but not as talented as normal — especially not at the top of the roster. And it’s showing. UK is no longer in the CBS Sports Top 25 (and one). But three other SEC schools are — specifically Auburn, Tennessee and Florida.
The complete Top 25 (and one) is below.