Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A talented but young Kentucky team travels down to the state of Alabama to play in a game they are favored to win. It’s a sold out building. Shirts are given out. The rival coach is looking for a program building win. No, I’m not talking about yesterday’s loss on the plains of Auburn. I’m talking about Brandon Knight and the 2011 team’s loss at Alabama which gave them a record of 14-4 (2-2 SEC).
Many comparisons have already been made between this year’s team and the one from Cal’s second year on campus. They both followed one of the most beloved teams ever. (John Wall’s revitalization vs 38-0) The reliance on the perimeter. (Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb, Darius Miller vs Tyler Ulis, Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray) The ineffectiveness of a star recruit. (Enes ineligible vs Skal’s development) The lack of production from the post (Terrence Jones & Jorts’ inconsistency vs you get the picture). This season mirrors that year in many ways including the possibility of a spectacular finish.
Make no mistake Kentucky’s loss to Auburn (KenPom: 162, RPI: 114) is right up there with the worst of the Calipari era. But as 2011 and 2014 demonstrated these road losses won’t mean much when we get into March. In 2011 the Cats made their run as a 4-seed and in 2014 they made the final game as an 8. The potential is still there so don’t be smashing the panic button just yet. Kentucky is just going to take a little bit of time to get there.