Featuring 100% less Lexington.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. With UK football presented with an inordinately high level of excitement to start the offseason, basketball has suffered more than it has over the last three years. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. Worrisome? Not quite yet.
After averaging little more than 50 points over the last two games, and snapping the nation’s longest home win streak against an unranked team, our Wildcats are no longer listed in CBS Sports’ “Top 25 (And One).”
Jeff Goodman and Gary Parrish rank Duke, who “spent November stacking wins against Ohio State, Louisville, Minnesota, Kentucky, and VCU,” ahead of Indiana for the top spot. Michigan, Syracuse, and Louisville rounded out their top five, with Florida and Mizzou in the top ten at #6 and #8, respectively.
What can this lead us to expect from other ranking services? The national polls, which have yet to be updated, may be similarly bereft of the Cats. No other ranked team has three losses, which will likely push Kentucky (and UCLA) out of the top 25.
How are the players handling it? A few have deleted their Twitter accounts, either to avoid heckling “fans” (and I use that term loosely), or to focus more on work and less on distractions. Either way, it’s obvious that the record is speaking to the players as much as it is to those on couches.
Other players, meanwhile, have openly responded to the hardship:
Tough times don’t last but tough people do..
– Nerlens Noel (@NerlensNoel3) December 2, 2012
That’s the right attitude to have right now, and hopefully the players will be rewarded for whatever hard work they’ll be putting in this week, and going forward. But this week might be a first for the John Calipari tenure, who still had the rough-looking, Brandon-Knight-led 2011 squad ranked at #22 after falling to 17-7 while struggling on the road.
There is still a ton of time to get back in the Top 25 should they fall out of it, and with Samford and Portland on tap this week that looks likely.
So while it’s okay to be a little disappointed when the official rankings come out, don’t be surprised. This is your heads up. It’s probably going to happen.