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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Are We OK With Just Being OK?

There have been several moments in the John Calipari era where people inside this fanbase and outside this fanbase panicked about whether this program was going to work:

  1. Mid-Season 2011: After a disappointing Elite 8 finish in 2010, the Brandon Knight-led team lost 6 of their first 7 SEC road games and sat at 7-6 in conference in mid-February.  Many questioned at that time John Calipari’s coaching chops and whether freshman led team could truly lead to championships.  From a loss at Arkansas in February though, UK won 10 in a row, made the Final Four, and the fanbase rejoiced.
  2. All Season 2013: After a national championship season, the 2013 campaign was basically a nightmare from start to finish.  Despite the stellar play of Nerlens Noel, that team never connected with the fanbase, Archie Goodwin was one of the least like UK freshman in the Cal era, and the team was terrible to watch, ending in an embarrassing SEC Tournament loss and a loss to Robert Morris.  Some wondered if it was working, just 1 year after a title.
  3. Most of the Season 2014: Despite bringing in the best class in school history on paper, UK struggled for much of that season.  Following the 2013 season, the national media jumped all over the chance to call the John Calipari method a failure when it looked like UK was going to suffer through two straight poor seasons.  A surprise run to the Final Four saved that all and made many a media writer look silly.
  4. End of Season 2018: After a Sweet 16 in 2016 and Elite 8 in 2017, many thought the 2018 season would be one back to the Final Four for UK.  Instead, the team was wildly inconsistent and somewhat difficult for fans to connect with and then when the NCAA Tournament draw opened up for a Final Four run, instead UK flamed out against Kansas State.  For the first time, it looked as if recruiting may have slipped a little.
  5. Now: Following another top talent choosing someone other than UK, the spotlight is brighter than ever on the recruiting success of John Calipari.  The players he has been getting have been not performing up to their rankings in higher percentage of numbers and he is flat out missing on much of the top talent he recruits.

In each of the times above, something has caused the panic among some in the fanbase to subside, normally a strong NCAA Tournament run.  And this year’s team could certainly make such a run in a season where there appears to be one dominant team and a bunch of good teams.  But through 4 games, this UK team has been, frankly, a disappointment.  It’s so very early but a team that returned more than most of Calipari’s team appears to play like a bunch of freshman.  And there doesn’t appear to be a absolute STAR on the team this year as well, but rather a collection of very good players.

For 99.9% of college basketball teams, a collection of very good talent would be ideal and they would trade rosters with Kentucky in a heartbeat.  But this program is one that John Calipari has hyped from Day 1 as the “Gold Standard” of college basketball and the program all other’s aspire to be.  But since the beginning of the 2016-17 season, Kentucky has not lived up to that standard.  Instead they have been an OK basketball program.  And that OK basketball program has done the following in those 2+ seasons:

88-27 Record
39-15 SEC record
3 SEC Tournament Titles
1 Elite 8
2 Sweet 16’s
5-8 against UCLA, North Carolina, Louisville, Kansas, Michigan State, Duke

Now, that is a resume that most programs would take and celebrate.  But again, and this is my biggest point, that is not the program that John Calipari says we are and should expect.  Should we expect teams that lose 5 SEC games a year and make 2nd weekend’s of the NCAA Tournament, not 3rd weekends?  Is it a program that has a losing record against our biggest rivals and now is consistently losing recruiting battles for the country’s top players?

In the land of UK basketball, the program is just doing OK right now.  That’s a fact.  At this moment in time, the program is just doing OK.  But remember in the instances above, the program has just been doing OK several times in the John Calipari era and each and every time it has rebounded in one way or another.

But with another recruiting loss now accomplished, the roster likely looking at another heavy turnover next season, and this season not getting off on the right foot, the question needs to be asked: Are you OK with an OK program?  If the stats above continue, meaning a high winning percentage but not an elite team, can we accept that?  Or do the Final Fours and super-elite players have come back to this program and fast before the natives get restless?     

Article written by Bryan the Intern

33 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Are We OK With Just Being OK?

  1. Cmart0907
    9:37 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    Wow that last stat is crazy. 5-8 against the blue bloods.

  2. cats646
    9:40 am November 21, 2018 Permalink


  3. mothandras
    9:46 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    Hire Brad Stevens or Billy Donovan already.

    • shelby
      9:57 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

      Why in the world would brad stevens leave boston? And billy D is the most overrated coach in history.

  4. ltpe223
    9:47 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    This is such a bad take it’s not even funny. Kentucky has been more than just okay even over the cherry picked 2 year period. Only 6 schools have been to 2 Sweet Sixteens in 2 years and only 3 have been to an elite 8 and only 4 have been to an elite 8 and a Sweet 16. I get facts are optional bur they are still a top 4 program in the past 2 years. It’s really hard to win in the NCAA Tournament and Kentucky has still routinely done it at the best level. If you want to argue that Cal is recruiting kids that aren’t connecting with the fan base that is an entirely different discussion and is probably true but that doesn’t define a great program in my mind.

    • ltpe223
      9:51 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

      Oops four have been to an elite and a Sweet 16 not 3. Forgot Michigan which did it in reverse years of Kentucky and forgot to edit out the comment.

    • mgwolfe
      10:27 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

      I think they need to cast a wider net into some 4-star talent accepts some verbals so not left out in the cold like now. The big situation for next year and even Whitney doesn’t seem overly promising. If Hurt comes and Montgomery and Richards stay might be ok.

    • ltpe223
      10:34 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

      That’s honestly where Kentucky recruiting is at it’s best anyway. They’re great at finding the low 5 star guys and high 4 stars and making them stars. Devin Booker, Ulis, Shai, all fit that mold.

  5. BTownUKFan
    9:49 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    People that complain about recruiting were either not around or have forgotten the Tubby/Gilispie years. Several reasons we may be missing out on some of the top talent: 1) They don’t want to come here. 2) We are not paying them or their family. 3) Cal smells personality issues 4) They want to come in and be the star.
    We don’t get the EPSN hyperbole that Duke does. Every common article pertaining to college basketball on ESPN’s web site will have a picture of Duke in action. .Maybe we’re not the ‘cool’ school like we were a few years ago. That will cycle around. These are kids, they are like puppies. With Jay Bilas, Jay Williams and Dick Vitale pumping up Duke on TV it’s not hard to influence these kids If Cal would just put together a packet of the NBA success of our kids and compare it to the lack of success of many of the Duke/Kansas/North Carolina stars he would get many of the kids kid that are serious about developing their craft and becoming NBA ready.

  6. Iamheasyouarehe
    9:55 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    Nice click bait article.

    • Bryan the Intern
      10:11 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

      Thank you!

    • Iamheasyouarehe
      12:27 pm November 21, 2018 Permalink

      And trolling your readers is not a good look either.

  7. GGHB11
    10:13 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    Idiotic article!!! You people are the most negative fans in the world!!! In 9 seasons we’ve been to 4 Final 4s. name another school to do that in the coach’s forst 9 years. The bad fans and now idiotic writers are going to be the reason Cal leaves. Then maybe we can get Travis Ford to coach!!! Im sure that’ll make all you hillbilly morons happy!

  8. Reese Davis
    10:26 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    I disagree. in 16-17 we were 2 points away from a national championship and had a hell of team with fox and monk leading the charge.

  9. eddiesuttonsliver
    10:33 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    You could hand out free $100 bills to some fans and they would bitch that theirs is not as crisp as someone else’s. People need to get a grip.

  10. eddiesuttonsliver
    10:33 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    Also when I start losing my mind three words bring me crashing back to the ground – Billy Clyde Gillespie.

  11. CatFaninNC
    10:35 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    This is one of the most idiotic posts of all time. This is the biggest reasons you can’t trust statistics, small sample sizes can be used to prove whatever point you want to make. I can pick a different 2 year period where the program would be the best EVER. Dude this is disingenuous at best. You lose a few recruits over the years, it happens to every team. We lose one and the world has gone to hell, come on.

  12. dbake
    10:37 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    To answer the question asked “NO”. Football I’ll take okay. Not in basketball. Basketball is Kentucky as football is Alabama. Now with that being said we have to understand nothing lasts forever. We have had a good 10 year run. But as with anything change has come. Now we must figure out the change, embrace it, and conquer it. It’s a new error to us just as it is to Cal. This article states that we will have a new roster next year. As it stands today if anyone on this team other than Reid Travis is NBA material, then its foolish. We will figure it out, always have maybe assistant changes, recruiting style, but we got this.

  13. GGHB11
    11:05 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    I can’t get over how bad of an article this. Absolutely clueless!

  14. lexcatfan2367
    11:33 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    BTI Sucks

  15. VirginiaCat
    11:44 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    The Duke loss was a major wake-up call that exposed Cal’s limitations as a coach. Duke was the better team, but not 34 points better. The loss told me that Cal did not have a good handle on his team and did not prepare them properly for the game. He said later that the team was not as advanced as he thought. According to Cal, they needed better conditioning and didn’t know the basics, like how to get down in their stances. Really? How could he not know? Duke was the younger team, but was better than Kentucky at every phase of the game. How is it possible that a talented team like Kentucky could have made such a poor showing? I think that the answer is obvious.

    • UK Maine-iac
      2:37 pm November 21, 2018 Permalink

      Brad Stevens isn’t coming to UK. Billy Donovan isn’t coming to UK, and who would want him to? So who is another coach out there that can top what Cal has done? It used to be “Get Sean Miller here!” We see how that worked out. I’ll take what Cal has done and still roll with it. These are the best years UK hoops has seen since Pitino. Some fans should be labeled “fans”.

  16. Racerr11
    11:52 am November 21, 2018 Permalink

    I agree that we have some way out there fans and the moron statement also but stop the hillbilly statement. As far as Cal goes check the record Cal has the best stats in college basketball since his time at Kentucky. Nothing else needs to be said.

  17. CoachCat
    12:16 pm November 21, 2018 Permalink

    I thought it was a great article with a very good point. I don’t agree with most of it but you can’t overlook the stats or facts. We are a good team with good talent. Cal has brought this program a very long way from the Tubby and BCG years. Let’s try to remember that

  18. zoupman
    12:24 pm November 21, 2018 Permalink

    Not a fairly written article. Team is doing incredible, not ok. Have probably won more games under Coach Cal then any team is country has in same time span.

    • Iamheasyouarehe
      12:34 pm November 21, 2018 Permalink

      Probably because he’s an intern and hasn’t been around long enough to remember even BCG.

  19. BallDontLie
    12:33 pm November 21, 2018 Permalink

    We didnt go to sweet 16 in 16. That was a loss to IU in 4 v 5 matchup

  20. chris43
    1:06 pm November 21, 2018 Permalink

    No, I’m not okay with UK being just an okay program. The stat that really sticks out to me is the 5-8 against our rivals/blue bloods. Add in losing elite recruits on a yearly basis and something has to give. If I’m not mistaken Nerlens Noel was the last #1 recruit we snagged. Skal was #2 but good lord we all know how that worked out Talk about overhyped…I’m still a big Cal fan he just needs to change some things because obviously something has happened.

  21. zoupman
    2:58 pm November 21, 2018 Permalink

    154 and 8 at home and you question the man. Grow up

  22. Shively1978
    5:42 pm November 21, 2018 Permalink

    I think our schedule plays a role in recruiting as well. The only complaint I have with Cal is he says our schedule is tough. We played Duke we have Carolina and Kansas and an improving SEC schedule. But we also have several “cupcakes” in a row. I get why he does it but it’s really not the best move. For example Duke is in Maui if you where 17 or 18 would you rather play in a tournament somewhere or play Winthrop. Who can really get pumped up to play 8 0r ten games like this in a row. We backed out of the Nike tournament last year. The “Golden Standard everyone’s superbowl” should play anyone anywhere anytime.

  23. timbo
    8:48 pm November 21, 2018 Permalink

    And THIS is why a scientific, statistical study doesn’t do something as ignorant as “study” a sample of TWO NON-RANDOM samples. Click. Bait. Click bait for the uneducated, Pitino-loving, curmudgeon who love to complain. Thanks for making their idiocy more audible, BTI. It’s clear you’re not a math, science, or business major.