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Jeff Borzello names Kentucky the biggest underachiever with incredibly dumb hot take

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ESPN’s Jeff Borzello is the early leader in the clubhouse for this week’s WTF-Are-You-Talking-About Award with his piping hot take on Kentucky being college basketball’s biggest underachiever. Borzello named five teams that have underachieved with success on the recruiting trail, and Kentucky tops the list as his biggest underachiever in the game.

Here’s what he had to say:

Kentucky: Two Final Four appearances, a title-game loss and a 38-0 start to a season — and that’s underachieving? One has to remember, this is all relative to recruiting class rankings. In the past four years, Kentucky has had three No. 2-ranked recruiting classes and the No. 1 class (in 2013). However, the Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament once in that span and then received a No. 8 seed the following year. Injuries have played a factor (Nerlens Noel in 2013), but there’s also been underperforming among the elite recruits. What the last two seasons have shown, though, is that John Calipari is getting more and more accustomed to mixing freshmen and veterans. NCAA tournament absences likely won’t be on the docket moving forward. [ESPN]

“Two Final Four appearances, a title-game loss and a 38-0 start to a season — and that’s underachieving?” is exactly right there, Jeff.

For his next groundbreaking piece, maybe he’ll name all of the programs that would trade places with Kentucky since Calipari has been in Lexington. That’d be a quick assignment.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

39 Comments for Jeff Borzello names Kentucky the biggest underachiever with incredibly dumb hot take



  1. Blueblueblueblue
    1:00 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    Guys this isn’t hard. He isn’t saying UK hasn’t done well. He’s clearly saying that RELATIVE TO THEIR RECRUITING their results have been underwhelming. I think many frustrated UK basketball fans would agree.



    • Basteballer
      1:13 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      I think only idiots would agree.



    • Mc12
      1:19 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      I like how he goes back 4 years. Why 4? To fit his agenda, even though it’s flawed.



    • DelrayCat
      1:19 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      Actually, only losers would NOT agree. The goal is NATIONAL TITLES….NOT how many guys can we make millionaires out of.
      In 7 seasons, we have had basically the top class, or near the top, every single year, yet ONE title. Sure, its tough to win in a single elimination tourney. But count me as a non-idiot who agrees we have under-achieved in the actual goal most fans want.



    • Kyblueblood
      1:38 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      @mc12 do you really want him to go back 5 lol



    • Sasquatch
      1:58 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      Wow, Jeff must have had some crazy high expectations to think it’s an underachievement! Obviously some of you posters are a little crazy too! Stop looking at recruiting rankings people.



    • Booby Petrino
      2:03 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      Delray I think most people are smart enough to know that having the best recruiting class doesn’t mean you should win the title every year. It means you have the best freshmen, and we all know it takes some (even if just a couple) good experienced players to go with the best freshmen to win a title.



    • duardo81
      2:56 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      Frustrated UK basketball fans?? How can ANYONE be frustrated when we are in the middle of the greatest run of the program since Rupp??!!



    • Bobbum Man
      3:55 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      Some of you have really dumb arguments… If national titles are the only qualifier, then every team in the country would be underachievers. U can have the best team every year and it’s still very difficult to win the title. Coach K has lost early far more than Cal has, Izzo, pitiner, boeheim, I want to know who are the big achievers on his list



  2. Basteballer
    1:14 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    Stop feeding the trolls. We don’t need links like this. Screw Borzello.



    • DelrayCat
      1:21 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      Why? Because the truth hurts?



    • Mc12
      1:51 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      It depends on how you define truth based on the context of what Borzello is trying to do. First off, he uses 4 years as a reference. Not a nice 5 year range. Using 5 means less clicks. Then his point at least as how I read his introduction is it’s about the overall season, and doesn’t factor in an early round tournament exit or a team getting hot at the right time. Therefore, the 2013-2014 team that made it to the finals that “got hot at the right time is discounted even though they were a young team that took time to buy-in and get that chemistry. The Noel year is the obvious season that gives some credence to his point. But….what happens if you have the top recruiting class in a poor recruiting class and your best player gets injured? We all know the story of that team. The number of scholarship players. Getting big minutes from players like Mays, Polson, etc. The 2014-2015 team should then pull UK out of his little list. But wait…..they didn’t win the title. It’s about the whole season? Not about an early exit?

      So while I agree that the past 4 seasons have been somewhat of a disappointment (at least the 2014-2015 team to me as I felt they were the only team I expected to win it heading into the tournament), I think his overall point is flawed, and by him using 4 years shows what his goal was.



    • Booby Petrino
      2:04 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      it only hurts when it’s your truth. your truth isn’t everyone’s truth. The rest of us are more reasonable.



  3. 2Dogs
    1:26 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    I don’t agree with Borzello but it’s something to think about. If you’re judged by championships then at the end of the day if you’re bringing in the top 1 or 2 recruiting classes each year and not winning it all then it gives some people ammunition against you. That being said, this is the kind of story you see in the off season when there’s apparently nothing better to write about.



    • satcheluk
      6:17 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      If you get the top recruiting class every year for four years, but 80% leave early vs top 5-10 class where 50-70% stay you could make a strong argument that the latter is a better recipe for success since you have more experience, upperclassmen and team cohesion.

      I’m not saying I wish Cal would change what he’s doing, but I would expect a team with great talent and experience to beat a young team with exceptional talent more times than not.



  4. BMT
    1:27 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    If I take off my blue-tinted glasses and think about it, I don’t necessarily agree with the point that he’s making. We have had incredible talent come through the program in the past 7 years and with that come a lot of lofty expectations. While acknowledging how difficult it is to win a national championship, I can’t help but feel like we should have had a least one more in this same time period. That near undefeated season is probably still the one that stings the most for me.



    • BMT
      1:28 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      Don’t necessarily *disagree*, that is….



  5. nybrasky
    1:30 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    His job is to get page views. The easiest way for a college basketball writer to do that (especially in slow summer months) is to write something controversial about UK.

    Hopefully thanks to Drew posting the paragraph on UK, he’ll get less clicks because you already know his dumb take. Then, maybe next time Borzello will take a less lazy route to maintaining his job.



    • Kyblueblood
      1:37 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      Actually it would be a way to get more clicks, but unless you are an ESPN insider then your click doesnt count anyways. To be honest, look at the articles that are posted here during this time of year? Nothing wrong with producing click bait, look in your own backyard



  6. Realme
    1:35 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    One would have to ignore the reality that there’s a lot of luck in the tourney, and the best team doesn’t win half the time in order to argue this take with a straight face. But, as others have mentioned, the only reason for the list is to get people to click on his article and read it, he won’t care whether or not people think it’s stupid if it gets enough readers.



  7. inside info2
    1:37 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    *waits patiently for the responses to my comment*

    The guy has a point. If Cal was a more than an average in-game coach we would have had one or maybe two more titles. The fact that he got terribly out coached against Wisconsin still gets me upset.

    Would I trade Cal for any other coach? No. Am I happy he is here? Yes. Could he do better? Yes. Has he underachieved? Possibly.



  8. Kyblue34
    1:58 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    I don’t believe for a second that we were the “biggest” underachiever (not even close), but it’s hard to argue that we didn’t somewhat underachieve for at least three out of the past four years.



  9. BlueDeuce
    2:23 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    I’ll say they have underachieved and not blink twice about it! Heck, let’s take it back to Cal’s first year with Cousins and Wall…why make it only 4 years?

    While I say that, I will also say they have overachieved in that same time span. Considering they are almost always the youngest, least experienced team going into the NCAAs, it’s a wonder they have accomplished what they have…1 Elite Eight, 2 semi-final games, 1 runner-up and 1 National Championship! That’s 4 FFs in 6 years…that’s nearly a 60% clip at “having a shot” at the title! That’s odds I’d take any day!

    Most underachieving team…2014/2015 going 38-1. The Cousins/Wall team in 2009/2010 running second. Both could have easily won the championship but both were exposed by their biggest weakness. That first team couldn’t hit outside shots and the 38-1 team…well, don’t know what happened other than Cal tried to kill the clock with 4 minutes left and lost the game (maybe he was the weakness).

    But, I’d not replace his time here with any other team. I’ll take the revolving door of players as well because you know as a fan, they have a shot! That’s what matters most to me as a fan, having a shot to see them win it all. Championships are icing on the cake (I’d like a bit more icing though if I’m being honest)!



    • duardo81
      2:46 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      I have officially heard it all…going 38-1 is somehow underachieving…just stunning that is a real comment.

      Maybe the “issue” is the recruiting rankings. But that would mean these guys would have to admit they were wrong and rather than do that, they write ridiculous, baseless articles such as this.



    • Catsby80
      3:26 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      While going 38-1 is certainly a great accomplishment, I believe they underachieved, too. Sure their record was phenomenal; however, the record means nothing in the grand scheme of things. They were the CLEAR CUT best team in the country and they didn’t win it all. I understand it is tough to win a win-or-go-home style tournament – i get it. But at the end of the day, the best team did not win the title that year, and that is the absolute definition of underachieving. They were the best team and did not achieve their potential.

      I agree with other posters on this thread – I would not trade Cal for anyone. What he’s done here the last 7 years is amazing, but that does not mean that he is perfect and without faults. I refuse to bow down to him like many others. I appreciate what he has done, but SOME of his teams have underachieved in the past. There is just no way to dispute that.



    • Kyblue34
      3:46 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      The 38-1 team definitely underachieved. That’s arguably the most talented team in college basketball history, and no one should have come close to beating that team in the tournament. Not only did they not win the championship or even get to the championship game, but they were one play away from not even making the Final Four, and honestly didn’t deserve to beat Notre Dame. I don’t see how anyone can say that team didn’t underachieve, but I think the fault lies mostly on Cal and not the players.



    • duardo81
      4:00 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      For arguments sake, say the 38-1 team dropped 3 or 4 regular season games, but won the title…would you guys consider that underachieving? I’m trying to gauge if perfection was the only thing that mattered or is it just the fact there was no title that year. From my perspective, 38-1 is far more impressive than say 35-5 and a title…and if the argument is they were one of the most talented teams in history, 5 losses would seem like underachieving, regardless of a title.



    • Kyblue34
      5:23 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      I would never consider winning the title underachieving no matter how many losses during the regular season. I never expected 40-0, but that team should have won the championship easily and there’s nothing else to say. So, you would rather have 38-1 and no title than 35-5 and the title? That’s just ridiculous! No one outside of UK fans even mentions the 38-1 record unless they are making fun of us for not being able to seal the deal.



    • duardo81
      5:38 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      What I would rather have is not the discussion. Naturally a championship every year is what every fan desires, but the discussion is “underachieving.” To call them arguably the most talented team ever, then say the number of losses doesn’t matter, just a championship matters just doesn’t make sense. That team “underachieved” 1 game (and really, just the last 5 minutes of said game) to call the entire season an underachievement is equally ridiculous. I can promise you, no team ever has won a championship easily. Boiling the season down to 5 minutes of bad basketball and ignoring months of accomplishments and record breaking performance is VERY narrow minded…



  10. @GoCayts
    2:33 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    that’s hilarious that he went back only 4 years … who else is on the list … who do you all think should be the biggest underachiever?



    • Eazy
      6:05 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      He wanted to ignore the title team. The list was us, LSU, UNLV, UCLA, and NC State. What a joke. He didn’t include Kansas and they haven’t even been to a final four in this time span!



  11. ukbradstith
    3:05 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    Anybody see the list. I would assume Duke would have to be second?



    • Eazy
      6:07 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      He left Duke off of course. He also left off Kansas and they are by far the biggest chokers. Arizona should be on it too.



  12. theWilkman
    3:20 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    1. Basing this on recruiting rankings is inherently flawed. Even basing this on preseason rankings is extremely flawed, because it puts too much emphasis on recruiting rankings. A better analysis would be comparing how a team performed in the tournament relative to average weekly ranking throughout the season.
    2. “Championship or bust” is inherently flawed, otherwise only 1 team a year has any success
    3. Kansas



    • Eazy
      6:08 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      He didn’t even include Kansas which makes the list a complete joke.



  13. me101
    3:24 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    B*ll crap! This sounds like a thread right off the UL boards. If this is underachieving then give me 10 more years of this.



  14. Game Changer
    7:01 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    Right off bat… I am a huge UK fan… I’ve been a fan since 1984… first game attended at Rupp 1988.

    Having said that, this guy is RIGHT!!!

    Let us be a bit objective …. with the level of talent at UK (which I admit has been unprecedented) UK has relatively not as much to show for.

    His past players in the NBA currently could literally beat any other team put together… that is the level of talent we had but the number of championship is not correlated accordingly.

    A little analogy… you expect your class valedictorian to become a doctor when you see him at the class reunion not a dentist. Nothing wrong with a dentist just not a doctor.

    In no particular order the greatest underachievers: Calipari, Roy Williams, Boeheim, Billy Donovan, Tubby Smith

    In no particular order the greatest overachievers: Pitino, Tom Izzo, Rat face krzyzewski, Brad Stevens, UCONN coaches Ollie and Callhoun.



  15. RobHD4
    8:10 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

    To be fair, he’s not wrong… We’ve had so many chances and opportunities over the past few years, and failed to live up to expectations.



    • runningunnin.454
      8:33 pm May 24, 2016 Permalink

      Yes, national championships are part of success; but, you can’t look at successful recruiting as being antithetical to achievement…..it is an integral part of achievement.
      When you consider the success UK has had in recruitment the past 7 years; and, you consider being in the final four for 4 of the last 6 years; and, you consider that the most wins by a div 1 college basketball team in a season is 38…and UK has had 38 wins in 2 of the last 5 years, and Cal had one 38 win season at Memphis, you would have the epitome of achievement.
      If the guy’s intention was to bash UK and Cal, he’s only made a fool of himself.
      And, if this is underachievement…….more, please.