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Has Kentucky Basketball Finally Shown a Chink in the Armor?

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Last year's early exit may be a sign of things to come.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Kentucky vs Indiana Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The laws of physics state; "What goes up, must come down."

The Kentucky Wildcats have been on one of the more unprecedented runs in the history of college sports. They’ve reached the Final Four in four of the past five years and have supplied the NBA with an endless amount of talent during the John Calipari reign, and are widely regarded as the best program in college basketball,

Or as Rick Pitino coined it "the Roman Empire."

However, even the Roman Empire eventually had its fall, and this past season's early exit from the NCAA tournament could be the first sign of a chink in the armor for John Calipari’s Wildcats.

Despite having three NBA draft picks on the roster, the Wildcats still lost to an Indiana team that didn’t have a single player selected in this year’s NBA draft, and they seemed to lack a certain chutzpah and dominance of other Kentucky squads of the recent past.

History always repeats itself and that is especially true when it comes to college sports. Take a look at some of the more memorable dynasties in recent college sports and what is the current state of their program. UCLA once won nine National Championships in eleven years but are now an above average Pac-12 team at best over the past decade.

The Florida Gators won back to back championships just a decade ago, but have been an after-thought in the SEC since. USC football reigned supreme in the 2000’s, churning out National championships and Heisman winners year after year, but have now become a program that can no longer even attract a "name" head coach (think about how many people turned down that job this year).

The Texas Longhorns, who once owned the state of Texas when it came to basketball and football recruiting, have since been leapfrogged by the once have-nots of the state in TCU, Baylor, Texas A&M and even Texas Tech in some cases.

Need I go on?

Chasing five-star recruits across the globe and having to reload so much of your roster year after year has to eventually take its toll on any coaching staff and may eventually lead to burn out or perhaps complacency when it comes to recruiting (see above listed schools).

Pursuing one and done players is no different than chasing supermodels in nightclubs, eventually you realize that it’s not worth the time and energy and you find yourself a nice girl to settle down with and have a family.

Calipari and his staff have once again reloaded with five of the top 25 players in the country, so any sense of a possible decline is still a few years away. However, relying on such a young core of players is always a risky proposition, because it’s never a guarantee that they will gel amongst each other and develop into the players they are supposed to be.

But with highly-touted recruits like Skal Labissierre, Charles Matthews, Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress not living up to their hype, that's led to considerably more struggles since that 2012 title team than before it. Those guys failing to live up to what everyone projected them to be at UK really cost the Wildcats a lot of wins, not to mention are gone with Alex being the lone to leave via graduation.

It also doesn't help that UK is now missing on guys like Harry Giles, Marques Bolden, Jayson Tatum, Stephen Zimmerman, Andrew Wiggins and other elite prospect going elsewhere, a trend that's slowly been growing and doesn't appear to be changing in 2017 with guys like Wendell Carter, Mohamed Bamba, DeAndre Ayton, Michael Porter, Kevin Knox and Trevon Duval not likely ending up Cats, at least as it appears now. That's almost all of the top 10 of every major ranking, and it's hard to see UK winning with just second and third-tier one-and-dones.

Tim McGraw sings the touching song lyrics to "Live Like You Were Dying" where he echoes the answers of his father upon the news of a doctor’s diagnosis. His father explains that once faced with his ultimate passing that he "loved deeper, and spoke sweeter and gave forgiveness I’ve been denying."

It may be time for the Big Blue Nation to start savoring these next few seasons and soak in the sights and sounds of the success and understand that every program in the country has to face their own mortality eventually.