Another year, another disappointing end to the season for Kentucky basketball. It feels like forever since Kentucky made a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. And there very well could be a reason for that.
Taking out the COVID year when the tournament wasn’t played, Kentucky is 2-5 in the postseason (SEC & NCAA Tournaments) with zero SEC Championship game appearances and zero Sweet 16 appearances.
Fans are running out of patience, and it’s hard to blame them when head coach John Calipari is paid the salary he’s paid, has the power he has, and nearly handpicks a majority of his players each season.
While Kentucky has been through a rough stretch the last few seasons, this year had a little extra frustration. Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones pointed out a few things he heard that went on behind the scenes with UK this season.
Among the noted issues include a disconnect between John Calipari and Oscar Tshiebwe, as well as leadership struggles.
To summarize, it appears this team just didn’t connect with Calipari early on. Anyone watching the games could tell he was wired five minutes into every game. That can be tough on players, and it was apparent with this team.
A lot of these comments involve Oscar Tshiebwe, too. He’s beloved by the fans, is one of the greatest players to ever wear a UK jersey, and is of course highly appreciated by Calipari. But this story does make one wonder if Tshiebwe leaving next season isn’t the end of the world.
One point that can’t be ignored is the injury bug and the mental slump a few Kentucky players were in. Jacob Toppin would simply disappear in the middle of games, CJ Fredrick was scared to shoot the ball, and it felt like Sahvir Wheeler never fit in the rotation. All three of those players, plus Oscar, were injured this season. That can’t be a coincidence.
The Cats began to hit their stride there towards the back half of the season, but so many Quad 1 opportunities were wasted in the first two months of the season that a higher seed couldn’t be justified.
Even when they got to the postseason, Kentucky was still clearly flawed and that was on full display Sunday with the shooting struggles of both Toppin and Antonio Reeves.
The link to the story with all of Matt’s quotes is linked here.
Let us know what you think happened to UK basketball this season.
Tweet of the Day
57 POINTS.— NBA (@NBA) March 21, 2023
Julius Randle was SPECIAL tonight.
He became the fourth @nyknicks player with 55+ points and the FIRST with 55+ points and 8+ threes... MIN tops NYK in a thriller at MSG. pic.twitter.com/oYdCM27ZeD
Huge night for Randle.
Time to prep for football season.
Cowboys lose a key offensive piece.
But they never did.
He’ll throw at Auburn pro day.
Are they wrong?
The grind never stops.
He returns to the Big East.