The Kentucky Wildcats were down 86-84 with just a few ticks left on the clock, and they did not come out on top against the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Saturday, losing at Rupp Arena to an unranked team. It marked the program’s third straight home loss, a first since 1966.
While that is somewhat to be expected in that situation, coach John Calipari has seen incredibly poor execution from his team in the closing seconds of one-score games over the past few seasons, and it’s a very concerning trend.
The below goes to show just how incapable the Cats have been in the clutch.
Kentucky has had 27 opportunities to tie or win the game since 2020.— Steven Peake (@StevenPeakeKSR) February 11, 2024
They've made a shot one time.
That is kind of amazing. pic.twitter.com/Kd55RIw5UM
The Wildcats have a tough schedule ahead, and this type of loss will almost undoubtedly drop them out of the top 25. With an ultra-talented roster, Kentucky desperately needs to start stringing together wins.
While injuries have been a concern, the Cats haven’t been able to put away opponents, and their strength at home hasn’t been there either. Kentucky is 6-4 in conference play despite having an elite offense. It has five players averaging double figures.
The recent struggles and clutch struggles put into question Cal’s late-game coaching as well. While he’s proven to be among the best recruiters and developers of player talent, the stats are real and can’t be overlooked.
It will be interesting to see what unfolds if this Kentucky unit continues to underperform. Let’s hope things move in a positive direction for Cal in the clutch.