It’s been a roller-coaster season for the Kentucky Wildcats, but they finally appear to be hitting their stride as the calendar turns to March next week.
On January 10th when Kentucky lost at home to a South Carolina Gamecocks team ranked in the 200-300 range of just about every metric, things had hit a low point in the John Calipari era.
Kentucky would get up off the mat to win four straight and appeared to be turning the corner. However, the Wildcats then lost three of their next five games, the last being a brutal loss to a Georgia Bulldogs team currently ranked 139th in KenPom.
That looked like the final dagger, but once more, Kentucky got off the mat to win four straight, highlighted by today’s demolition of the Auburn Tigers, 86-54. It was the Cats’ biggest win since beating the Louisville Cardinals by 23 in that 86-63 victory.
Auburn actually came into today ranked 23rd in KenPom compared to 31st for Kentucky. After that 32-point beatdown, the Wildcats made a major jump in the KenPom rankings up to 22nd overall.
Kentucky was down to 43rd in KenPom after the South Carolina loss, got up to as high as 31st, then right back down to 44th following the Georgia loss. That means the Wildcats have climbed 22 spots in the last two weeks.
Kentucky is up to No. 22 in KenPom after four straight wins at No. 39 Mississippi State, vs. No. 6 Tennessee, at No. 55 Florida and vs. No. 31 Auburn.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) February 26, 2023
Cats up to eight wins against top-60 KenPom teams, five against top-40 teams.
Oh, and for the critics of Calipari’s offense, Kentucky now ranks 13th in the nation in KenPom offensive efficiency after finishing last season ranked fifth. That kind of nine-spot rise is rare to see this late in the season, but that’s how special Kentucky looked today while crushing an Auburn team projected to be a 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament and right on the edge of being a Quad 1 win (currently ranked 33rd in NET).
Bring on March.