The 2012-13 season in underway, and just like in 1989 and 2009, the Kentucky Wildcats will struggle to make the NCAA Tournament. To stay apprised and educated, follow me on Twitter @NotJerryTipton. Here’s the weekly notebook:
*Hell’s Ditch: Last Saturday, Kentucky lost to Baylor, snapping the Wildcats’ 55 game home court winning streak. However, this wasn’t the longest streak that ended that day. The loss was also the first time Baylor beat UK in infinity years. Yes, that’s right. Kentucky had never lost to the Bears before Saturday’s historic upset. Other notable streaks that have come crashing down during the course of this epically disappointing season: UK lost to Duke for the first time in 11 years, and they lost to Notre Dame for the first time in a staggering 22 years (not counting 2009). Frankly, this isn’t getting enough attention. For example, people gave ex-UK coach Billy Gillispie a hard time for losing at home to Georgia on Senior Day in 2009, but the Cats had actually just lost to the Bulldogs the year before, so it wasn’t really that big a deal. After just 3+ years, it is apparent that the John Calipari experiment simply isn’t going to work.
*If I Should Fall From Grace With God: After the UK loss to Baylor last Saturday, objective and brilliant scribe Rick Bozich penned an article in which he finally put to paper what Kentucky fans have been saying for quite some time now: John Calipari has done a terrible job recruiting. Though I haven’t seen any other writers pick up this theme and run with it yet (this kind of insight is probably what landed Bozich a cushy gig with the prestigious WDRB.com), it is hard to disagree with Bozich’s logic. Coach Cal simply did a pitiful job recruiting point guards in the class of 2012. While Bozich doesn’t actually name any other point guards that Cal should have pursued (he curiously mentions Shabazz Muhammad, who is a small forward), one must assume that they were out there. Somewhere. Or else Rick Bozich wouldn’t have written this article. Whoever and wherever these elite point guards are, John Calipari simply failed to get them. Maybe next time he’s figuring out who to recruit, he’ll pick up the phone and give Rick Bozich a call. He sure could have saved himself some trouble this year.
*The Sunnyside Of The Street: On November 27, Kentucky announced it was hiring Mark Stoops to be its new football coach. This does not bode well for Kentucky. The hiring has been universally lauded (with the exception of this cautionary note from esteemed journalist and curmudgeon Pat Forde), and apparently as a result of all the positive publicity the UK football program has received, the UK hoops team promptly imploded. Two days after Stoops was hired, UK lost to Notre Dame. Two days after that, the Cats lost at home to Baylor. Is Calipari jealous of the attention being bestowed upon Stoops and the football program? Did he then decide that consecutive devastating defeats was the only way to get his name and his team back on the front page? Whatever the motivation behind his ploy, it worked. People can’t stop talking about UK’s struggles at the point guard spot, its collective inability to hit a shot, and overall uninspired play. Well played, Coach Cal. Well played indeed.
* On this date: On this date in 1991, Kentucky beat Indiana, 76-74, at the Hoosier Dome. IU went on to play in the Final 4 that year, while UK did not. Ever the spoilsport, the Kentucky administration opted not to commemorate this win with rings, trophy cases or popcorn boxes.