Dribble Handoff: With Kentucky struggling so far, how will the Wildcats finish the regular season?

After beginning the season she was ranked No. 4 within the AP High 25, Kentucky He fell in need of a single vote on this week’s ballot amid a 1-3 begin to SEC play that featured an embarrassing 78-52 loss in Alabama The Saturday adopted by a 71-68 loss to South Carolina on Tuesday that snapped a 28-game successful streak at Rupp Enviornment for the Wildcats. forty sixth in internet with an 0-4 document in Quad 1 video games, the Wildcats have been a deep disappointment after returning Nationwide Participant of the 12 months Oscar Cheppui together with different key gamers like Sahvir Wheeler and Jacob Toppin from a 26-8 workforce.

On the heels of a shocking loss to No. 15-ranked St. Peter within the first spherical of the NCAA event final 12 months, frustration with 14th-year coach John Calipari is at an all-time excessive throughout the UK fan base. The present’s final Large Dance win got here in 2019, and it all of the sudden appears as if there are not any ensures that 2023 will yield a single win.

However there are two months left till that Sunday and Kentucky nonetheless has time to show issues round. 5-star freshmen Casson Wallace and Chris Livingston have each proven encouraging flashes and may solely get higher because the season progresses. Sharp capturing guard CJ Fredrick should additionally return from a finger damage sooner or later whereas taking part in within the league.

The vary of Wildcats scores stays extensive, and the Calipari interval saga hits milestone numbers to seize the game’s collective consideration for weeks to come back. For this week’s version of the Dribble Handoff, our writers supply their predictions for a way Kentucky’s season will finish.

Bubbles workforce cats, however they make a giant jig

  • Anticipated convention document: 10-8
  • I predicted the NCAA event: quantity 9

Kentucky has been mediocre all season and does not appear about to show issues round. The Wildcats blew Alabama by 26 factors. They’re 3-3 of their previous six video games, and nonetheless personal zero wins in Q1 and right down to forty fifth within the standings. Clear56 in BartTorvik.com and 62 in KPI.

The UK seems like a possible bubble workforce.

At this level, I am skeptical that the Wildcats will stay as much as the preseason expectations that had them because the No. KenPom.com, are within the prime 5 mainly throughout and are rated as SEC favorites – however I nonetheless assume they’re going to land on the appropriate facet of the bubble and make the NCAA Match. After which… who is aware of? A 12 months in the past, UK had an important common season adopted by a horrible NCAA event. This 12 months might conceivably be the other – a disappointing common season adopted by a bland NCAA Match. The Wildcats nonetheless have CBS Sports activities Nationwide Participant of the 12 months (Oscar Tshiebwe) and a projected lottery decide (Cason Wallace). It isn’t probably the most proficient roster John Calipari has ever put collectively, however it’s nonetheless a extra proficient roster than most coaches. Now it is only a matter of figuring out a number of issues, doing sufficient to make the sector of 68, after which seeing if issues can break the appropriate method when that single-elimination cycle kicks off. – Gary Parish

The UK season stays bumpy, however the huge wins are to come back

  • Anticipated convention document: 11-7
  • I predicted the NCAA event: quantity 9

Though the UK is at 1-2 within the SEC – I’d count on it to be 2-2 after batting South Carolina AT HOME TUESDAY NIGHT – This convention goes to be so powerful that we won’t fairly count on the Wildcats to drag something greater than a four-game successful streak between now and the postseason. There are seven street exams, in addition to a house match on 28 January in opposition to second place Kansas Within the newest version of the SEC/Large 12 Problem. Subsequently, losses will accumulate periodically. Nevertheless, I count on Kentucky to seek out some resolve and toughen up its protection.

I count on it to attain some decisive wins in Quad 1 and guarantee it avoids bubble-talk by the second week of March. It would find yourself being just like the workforce in 2014 that was within the 8/9 sport. As a result of with 5 losses already and doubtless no less than 5 extra between now and this explicit Sunday, it is optimistic to say Kentucky will earn a single-digit seed. I’ll say it runs tight, although, due to its good efficiency on the SEC course. And: Kentucky goes to beat Kansas later this month. Matt Norlander

Wildcats hit their stride by February

  • Anticipated convention document: 13-5
  • I predicted the NCAA event: No. 6

There isn’t any query that Kentucky underperformed preseason and even consolation prospects within the season after early struggles prompted a reset. A ten-5 begin to the season is low for Kentucky even when you have severe issues. Nevertheless, there are causes for cautious optimism. That is quietly top-of-the-line 3-point capturing squads Calipari has ever featured within the UK, and Oscar Chebuy, for all his struggles, continued to flip the offensive glass and produce second likelihood probabilities.

A number of minor tweaks to participant roles and an elevated concentrate on doing what he does effectively – capturing 3-pointers, feeding Cason Wallace probabilities to set the desk and getting Tshiebwe into favorable spots – is perhaps sufficient to show issues round. There are nonetheless some issues on the sidelines that want main enchancment – this workforce is horrible at capturing free throws they usually’re always hitting the champ ball late in time when attacking – however I’ve seen sufficient positives to consider they could possibly be a No. 6 or No. 7 seed within the Match NCAA and return to the highest 15 degree on the finish of the common season.. – Kyle Boone

UK within the First 4, one of many final groups in Large Dance

  • Anticipated convention document: 9-9
  • I predicted the NCAA event: No. 12 (first 4)

Kentucky performs an archaic offensive model that’s outlined by methodical tempo and restricted ground spacing. With out an elite protection that may always create transitional alternatives, the UK are slowed down of their half of the sector and battle to seek out rhythm or construct momentum. Schematically, Calipari did not have it at this level in his profession to drag the strings wanted to unleash the potential of this roster.

The SEC’s backside feeders will make sure the Wildcats get a good variety of league wins. However UK does not get a daily season rematch with No. 4 Alabama, placing big concentrate on two video games in opposition to No. 5. Tennessee And two matches in opposition to No. 15 Arkansas. Exterior of these competitions, one match with twenty first place Auburn And the Large 12/SEC Problem sport with No. 2 Kansas represents Kentucky’s solely probabilities so as to add substance to its resume.

It is arduous to see the Wildcats do higher than 2-4 or 3-3 in opposition to Arkansas (2 video games), Tennessee (2 video games), Auburn, and Kansas. Kentucky seems destined for the NCAA event bubble, and I will take a swing on the Wildcats happening within the first 4 like different blue bloods like IndianaAnd Michigan State And College of California you might have lately. – David Cobb

Leave a Comment