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Kentucky is the Face of a Struggling SEC

Unfortunately, this is probably the more exciting SEC to watch this season.

If Kentucky is the premiere basketball team in the SEC, which we know it to be, then it serves as the best example of what the league’s basketball season has been like so far: a struggle, and something of a disappointment.

And we’re not the only ones to take notice.

The conference with reigning champions in both football and basketball has kept the momentum in the former, but seemingly lost all motivation in the latter.  ESPN spent some time yesterday looking at the league’s challenges, and just what’s causing them.

Last season, Kentucky won the national title with relative ease. Its place atop the podium in New Orleans seemed like a formality as early as January of last year.

Eight months seems like such a long time ago, now, but that’s all it’s been since Anthony Davis and Co. cut down the nets in New Orleans.  Fast forward, and you’ve got a team, and basically an entire conference, on bubble watch.

A league accustomed to prestige, however, has been humbled through the first two months of the 2012-13 college basketball season.  Plus, the conference’s contenders have failed to prove that they’re among the elite.  …  Then there’s Kentucky, a program that’s essentially made up of NBA prospects who look great in warm-ups but rarely play to their potential after tipoff.

“You can say, ‘Well, you don’t have this and you don’t have that.’ Well, we’re getting in league play, and it’s all going to shake out,” John Calipari said during the SEC’s first media teleconference last week.

So far, that shakeout has resulted in Kentucky and Missouri, both teams listed as favorites for the SEC title earlier in the season, each picking up conference losses against supposedly far inferior foes.  Meanwhile, Auburn and Mississippi State are 2-0.  If that’s not a league in turmoil, I don’t know what is.

Thankfully, the SEC doesn’t have to worry about some of the things that other leagues do: conference realignment, coaching defections, and whether or not Louisville is going to be added to the league.  In the grand scheme of things, if trying to figure out what’s happening to our basketball season is the SEC’s biggest concern, then things are going pretty well.  This is one of the worst leagues years in recent memory, and there’s every reason to think it’ll be turned around by next year at the latest, March at the earliest.  Meanwhile, Kentucky will have to go about living up to this sort of preseason hype:

Kentucky Wildcats

Then: Six future pros anchored a national championship squad that also enjoyed the senior leadership of Darius Miller.

Now: The Wildcats might be the most “talented” team in the SEC, but their inconsistency — and lack of experience — has kept the program from living up to the preseason hype.

Oh, and the article also mentioned Kentucky as being the NCAA’s “cold-streak” team of the week after dropping a second game at home this season.

Cold: Kentucky had won 55 consecutive games at Rupp Arena before last month’s loss to Baylor. The current team won five in a row after that streak was snapped. But Saturday’s home loss to Texas A&M means the Wildcats will start from scratch again when they play Tennessee at home on Tuesday.

Hopefully things change starting tonight against Tennessee.  Let’s hope Poythress comes to play against his former in-state school.

Article written by Corey Nichols

12 Comments for Kentucky is the Face of a Struggling SEC

  1. kingrex
    9:08 am January 15, 2013 Permalink

    We really should have tried harder to get Bennett

  2. Master_Hash
    9:15 am January 15, 2013 Permalink

    Anyone know when College Game Day tickets will go on sale?

  3. gokycats33
    9:21 am January 15, 2013 Permalink

    1) People said Calipari didn’t want Bennett. And did you see Amile Jefferson vs NC State? We could use both of them right now.

  4. greginky
    9:26 am January 15, 2013 Permalink

    I have an idea I wanted to share. Have Neal Brown do the Y in Kentucky and have the air raid sirens go off when he does.It will bring the crown to their feet

  5. BlueHairsRule
    9:26 am January 15, 2013 Permalink

    Not only do Bluehairs rule but so do the Lousiville and Indiana trolls. OK, I’m going over to Sea Of Blue now.

  6. Bob Cobb
    9:27 am January 15, 2013 Permalink

    Kentucky will rattle off 8 wins leading up to Florida. It isn’t that hard to see. Even so, they will have to get a lot better to be considered good, and we will know how much or how little they have improved after Gainesville.

  7. emlang08
    9:27 am January 15, 2013 Permalink

    Amile Jefferson lost to NC State.

    AB15 is a beast

    I do not understand how 1-1 in SEC plan, mid Jan all the news is Bubble fear…. Like Cal said, let it play out, no such thing as bubble if you are SEC Champs, and we are pretty good at being that!

  8. Jughead
    9:27 am January 15, 2013 Permalink

    Cal rolled the dice, got the best players he could whom he thought were coach-able, and it has not quite worked out this year. Shame on him.

    Give it a break. It is just an off year, and maybe these guys will make a run.

  9. emlang08
    9:27 am January 15, 2013 Permalink


  10. Bob Cobb
    9:29 am January 15, 2013 Permalink

    Florida and UK were led to believe that Bennett would not qualify, because they were not given his transcripts. UNLV got a transcript. Draw your own conclusions.

  11. NotSatire
    10:03 am January 15, 2013 Permalink

    I haven’t given up on this team.