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Numbers show UK struggles mightily without returning experience under Cal

The 2020-21 team is in a league of it’s own in a bad way.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Kentucky Arden Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats are currently sitting at 5-10 on the season with a tough matchup vs. No. 5 Texas coming up on Saturday night.

A big topic recently has been John Calipari’s inability to keep more players for multiple seasons and not have guys leave too early for the NBA Draft or transfer.

The Big Blue History Twitter account broke down Calipari’s teams in terms of returning experience and how it affected winning percentages, and this year’s team is in a league of its own when it comes to winning percentage vs percentage of returning minutes.

The team that returned the most minutes was 2014-15 when roughly 65% of the minutes returned and that team would go on to have a 38-1 record winning 98% of their games.

The 2012 National Championship team returned 52% of minutes and won 95% of their games on their way to winning No. 8.

The worst season, excluding 2020-21, was the 2012-13 team that returned just about 7% of minutes. They would win roughly 64% of their games that season going 21-12. The 2017-18 team returned about 12% of minutes and went 26-11.

The 2020-21 team returned slightly more minutes than 2013 did at about 8% returning. However, the winning percentage is the worst in the Cal era at 33%.

In the Coach Cal era, Kentucky has only returned 40% or more minutes three times 2009-10, 2011-12, and 2014-15.

Based on these numbers alone, this team should be winning anywhere from about 65%-70% of its games, and yet they sit on 33%. However, part of that is COVID-19 forced UK to have just one cupcake game (Morehead State) when they usually have around seven in a normal season. So this UK team would probably be somewhere around 11-10 right now in a normal season, which isn’t exactly good either but much closer to that 65-70% winning percentage.

You can check out the full graph of winning percentage vs percentage of returning minutes under John Calipari below:

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