Let’s get some perspective real quick about where we are in this UK basketball season. This team is 17-3 and 7-1 in the SEC. We are one of the 10 best teams in the country and likely headed to another SEC championship. And while this team certainly has holes, what team doesn’t? But after you suffer 2 straight losses, and you are in this fanbase, the panic button is hit quickly and often. This team has likely lost a chance at a #1 seed unless they run the table for the rest of their schedule and get some help. But, right now the concern is if UK might be actually declining as evidenced by their 2-game losing streak.
So, how do we know how much to panic? I looked back at the last 10 national champions to see if they had any kind of 2-game losing streak similar to the Cats. The results were a little surprising. Look at which championship teams had a 2-game losing streak and when that streak occurred:
2016 – Villanova: did not lose 2 in a row
2015 – Duke: lost 2 in a row once (January)
2014 – UCONN: lost 2 in a row once (December-January)
2013 – Louisville: lost 3 in a row once (January)
2012 – Kentucky: did not lose 2 in a row
2011 – UCONN: lost 2 in a row three times (January, February, and March)
2010 – Duke: did not lose 2 in a row
2009 – North Carolina: did not lose 2 in a row
2008 – Kansas: did not lose 2 in a row
2007: Florida: lost 2 in a row once (February)
2006: Florida: lost 2 in a row once, lost 3 in a row once (January and February)
So, 2 interesting facts to focus on here:
- 6 of the last 10 champions have had a 2-game losing streak during their season and 2 of them (2013 Louisville and 2006 Florida) lost 3 games in a row.
- Every single team that had a 2-game losing streak did so during their conference play.
So here is the point: KENTUCKY IS STILL A SERIOUS NATIONAL TITLE CONTENDER. Each of these champions did one or both of these things: got things turned around come March and got a nice NCAA Tournament draw. Kentucky still has plenty of time for both. You never know how the NCAA Tournament will play out but I still feel GREAT about this team, especially since their really isn’t an elite group of teams this year but rather a bunch of really good ones. Kentucky is definitely in that mix and 2 losses don’t change that.
Don’t hit the panic button yet. Most champions go through turmoil like this.