When we first heard news of Kentucky’s unprecedented recruiting class coming in next year, once we finished scraping our jaws off the floor and booking tickets to the Final Four, the next order of business was asking ourselves: could Kentucky conceivably go undefeated next year, becoming the first college basketball team in nearly forty years to do so?
It’s a fun daydream. Having that “0” in the loss column all season long, knowing that even on your off nights teams couldn’t beat you, and knowing without a doubt that you are THE BEST team in college basketball- who wouldn’t want to aim for that? Well, while the McDonald’s All-Americans acknowledged the pleasant idea at media day yesterday, they were also quick to point out that a national championship is the goal next season, first and foremost.
“40-0 is not a goal,” said Aaron Harrison. “Just to win our last game.” Similarly, Julius Randle brushed past the undefeated season, saying it was more of a symptom of BBN’s “crazy fan talk,” saying that he didn’t feel pressure to live up to that particular expectation.
So should fans back off the idea? Well, maybe on the outside. Next year’s Final Four weekend is still a year away, and our incoming guys are focused enough on the title that pushing an undefeated season on them seems like more of a distraction than a means to an end. Privately, sure, think whatever you want. Draft tweets to Tom Crean and Indiana snarkily bragging about Kentucky’s new place atop the undefeated record books (“We’ve been thinking about this a lot. A whole lot.” Paint watercolors of “40-0” surrounded by images of next year’s team. But don’t expect Cal and his team to do the same. Coach has always been a one game at a time kind of guy, focusing on the overall title and the upcoming opponent rather than streaks and records- and that’s what got him #8, right?
40-0 would be cool, no doubt. But winning the last game of the season is the most important goal, and next year’s team already has the focus to do so.