The Kentucky Wildcats may be down, but it’s still too early in the season to count them out.
That said, change is needed, and fast if John Calipari wants to salvage this season and field a team capable of making a deep run in March. As things stand, this team would be lucky to to just avoid another first-round exit in the Big Dance, especially with an offense that looks completely lifeless.
Thankfully, Calipari sees this and is ready to accept that significant changes must be made.
During his Monday call-in show, Calipari said that changes are coming to the starting lineup and overall rotation. He even uttered the word ‘tweak.’
It also sounds like freshman Chris Livingston will be taking senior Jacob Toppin’s role as the starting 4. While there has been plenty of blame to go around for UK’s struggles, Toppin being a major liability at the 4 has greatly exaggerated the Wildcats’ issues.
John Calipari said he will likely change Kentucky's starting lineup following the loss to UCLA. "A few guys playing too many minutes."— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) December 19, 2022
Also, "tweaking a little bit and I'm hoping you will see this game and the next game and the next game a smoothness."
Don't have to read between the lines too much with John Calipari's comments tonight. Pretty clear he's going with Chris Livingston at the four.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) December 19, 2022
"He brings toughness."
In Saturday’s loss to UCLA, Livingston was easily the biggest bright spot. He accounted for 14 points on 5/8 shooting (2/3 from deep) with four boards.
Toppin, on the other hand, went 2/10 for five points (0/2 from deep) with seven boards. He’s attempted 20 threes this season and has hit just 15% of them, whereas Livingston is shooting 42.9% from deep on 14 tries.
Having a starting 4 man who can be a reliable shooter from deep would go a long way in opening up this offense. Toppin simply hasn’t been that, so it’s time to see if Livingston can.
Here’s to hoping these changes are the spark this offense needs to catch up with what’s already a strong defense.
Be sure to listen to the full episode below.