For the first time since 2000, the Kentucky Wildcats are just 1-3 through four games as the team has dropped three-straight since their season-opening win over Morehead State.
After starting the season ranked 10th in the AP Poll, UK fell to 20 after their loss to Richmond on Sunday, Nov. 29 and after losing to both Kansas and Georgia Tech last week, did not receive a single vote in either the AP or coaches poll leaving them unranked for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
Despite the ugly start and tough non-conference contests against Notre Dame, UCLA and Louisville upcoming, ESPN’s John Gasaway made the case for hope in his latest column for ESPN.
Gasaway pointed to fixing turnovers as a way to improve saying, “One way Kentucky can improve its defense is by not allowing opponents to record 14 steals in 68 possessions, the way Georgia Tech did. If Calipari’s guys can play an occasional half-court possession, there’s a chance they can get some stops.”
“To be sure, those would have been three exceedingly close wins, even in a turnover-neutral world. Kentucky scored 1.17 points per effective (or turnover-less) possession in those games, while opponents managed 1.15. Chalk it up as yet another data point in favor of the “UK’s defense may yet turn out to be pretty good” theory (as well as further support for “the offense needs work” school of thought).”
Gasaway also offered praise for both Oliver Sarr and Isaiah Jackson saying “At 7 feet, Wake Forest transfer Olivier Sarr was the tallest player in a Demon Deacons rotation that counted “respectable interior defense in ACC play” as easily its best performance trait on that side of the ball last season. He is now playing alongside the 6-foot-10 Isaiah Jackson, a promising freshman who recorded eight blocks in 30 minutes against the Jayhawks.”