It’s happened before, but it’s extremely rare. Could the University of Kentucky be headed to the NIT this season? They’re struggling, we all see that. Can Coach Cal fix this in the next couple weeks and make a late run? Before I go further, I asked a couple diehard UK friends of mine for their input on this. So thanks to Gary (@skerble80) and Corey (@BrokenSterling0) for their feedback.
The problem, at least by general consensus, is that this team lacks cohesion. There doesn’t seem to be the team chemistry that teams over the last several years have possessed. Coach Cal brings up the youth excuse/reason. Well John, you’ve done this, by design, year after year. Usually UK is playing as a team at this point in the season in spectacular fashion. But when you watch them play this year, you see a glaring lack of discipline, inconsistent scoring, and almost no presence in the paint. This is not UK basketball, at least by the standards we are used to. In my pal Gary’s words, “This team is worse than the 2013 NIT team.” Ouch, not good. That team, as you may remember, got beat by Robert Morris in the 1st round of the NIT.
The NCAA tournament is better when teams like Kentucky, Duke, UNC, Kansas, Nova, etc are in it. The fan base is huge, as is the faction that just wants to see them lose. The companies spending millions on advertising want them there too. But suffice it to say, UK is headed to the wrong side of the bubble. They have 6 games left. By my estimate, they have to win 4 of these. Auburn, ranked #8, is on deck. The Wildcats need to step up right now. The tournament will be great, as usual, with or without them. But we all want our team to take down Goliath, given the chance.