We see John Calapari on the outside looking in this season, and while the season is still young, these Cats are different (as we said a few weeks ago).
The question is what kind of recovery can we expect?
Kentucky has lost three games, including two straight to Notre Dame and Baylor. I wouldn’t have considered the pressing panic button after the loss to one of the better Duke teams of the last ten years, but now they have lost to two inexperienced teams outside of the top 25.
Whether it was scheduled this way on purpose or not, Kentucky has three healing games coming up. They play Samford, Portland and Lipscomb next which should all be easy wins.
They then face-off against a team that has a chance to win Conference USA when Marshall visits on December 22. This will be a nailbiter for the ‘Cats and if they aren’t totally prepared, it is likely to be loss number four.
Rounding out the rest of the schedule, mainly in SEC play, Kentucky is bound to struggle in stretches. They have to play a championship-caliber Florida team twice and Missouri once. Getting beat by the Tigers is likely and splitting with Florida is plausible since they have a whole season to mature before their season finale against the Gators in Lexington. They are still likely to go 0-2 against the Gators.
Kick in four losses to teams they should beat (three on the road, one at home) and you have a 20-11 Kentucky team and what will likely be a four or five seed in the Big Dance.
This is probably good for Kentucky as they lay a long-term foundation for their program, but it is going to be a maddening season for the oft-spoiled Kentucky fan as this team struggles to find itself and win tough road games.