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What’s next for Kentucky Basketball?

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They’ll be back.

SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament - Kentucky v Mississippi State Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The 2020-2021 basketball season was a Kentucky fan’s worst nightmare. In almost every game, they played at best mediocre, or at worst downright awful basketball to finish 9-17.

Who’s to blame? That’s not important. This is a regular part of college basketball. Every team goes through it.

Last season, like this year’s Kentucky, Nebraska brought back only one scholarship player and finished 7-25. One of the hard truths of college basketball is this: you can’t be great every year no matter what. If you lose all your players, you can’t just magically replace them with a great team, even if you do sign the number 1 class.

Kentucky fared better than Nebraska because of that class and John Calipari’s coaching, but not by much. Bottom line: this was a rebuilding year.

Rebuilding! But Kentucky’s a blueblood! They never rebuild, right?

Wrong. Everyone does in every sport, even if they go 50 years in between rebuilds. Fortunately for us, Duke is going through one too.

Here’s the good news: they’ll be back. I can almost 100% confidently say that next year’s Kentucky team will be back to the old Kentucky and not this nightmare team of 2020-2021.

Why? Because of simple basketball logic: you return talented players, they get better, making you better. Experience is the best medicine for basketball teams. That’s why Gonzaga, Baylor, and Illinois are the best: they returned almost everybody from their last great team.

Kentucky and John Calipari, one of the greatest coaches in the sport, won’t let this happen again next year. We’ll get the old Kentucky back.

Meanwhile, let’s cheer on and support the great teams that have had noteworthy seasons, like undefeated Gonzaga and red-hot Illinois. Let’s take the focus off Kentucky for a while.

Rebuilds always end. Ask the Chicago Cubs. Be patient.

Kentucky will be back soon.