As of Christmas Eve, December 24, 2020, the Kentucky Wildcats have the worst record in SEC basketball. Although the team has played the most competitive non-conference schedule in the conference, the Wildcats are statistically, based on wins and losses, the worst team in the conference, beginning with a 1-5 record. One must go back to the 1926-1927 season to find a time when the Wildcats had such a pitiful record.
The Arkansas Razorbacks have the top team in the SEC. An average Kentucky fan says, “Arkansas has played nobody.” The average Arkansas fan retorts, “Kentucky has beaten nobody.”
Why did John Calipari give Kentucky such a hyper-competitive non-conference schedule?
The brief answer is he’s arrogant.
Even though John Calipari attempted to defend his scheduling decisions, asserting that people will criticize him no matter what he does, it either evinces ignorance or arrogance. His years of proven success demonstrate he’s not ignorant. I’m left with the conclusion that he’s arrogant, however. Why?
Calipari has scheduled seven games preceding the rigorous SEC schedule that include Richmond (losing 76-64), Kansas (losing 65-62), Georgia Tech (losing 79-62), Notre Dame (losing 64-63), North Carolina (losing 75-63), and Louisville (scheduled for Saturday at Louisville).
With such a non-conference schedule, Calipari believes he has the best or one of the best teams in the nation. Well, at 1-5, the Wildcats are not the best team in the nation. We still have a long season to go, so we will see if the Wildcats prove to be one of the best teams in the nation. In a pandemic where Covid-19 protocols prevent teams from operating normally, you don’t create a non-conference schedule like this unless you’re arrogant. Although Calipari recruits a top-ranked class each year, he loses players to the NBA each year, thus resulting in his team lacking stability and the prior year’s ability.
Recognizing he must lead a team of new and young talented players, John Calipari imprudently elected to give them one of the nation’s toughest schedules. This young team doesn’t have any remaining cupcakes on the schedule, considering it encounters the SEC schedule after the game at Louisville. Due to Covid-19 protocols, the home game scheduled for December 29, 2020, against South Carolina is postponed.
The team will travel to Starkville, Mississippi, to battle with Mississippi State, Kentucky’s first SEC game. After this grueling opening schedule, the team is starting on the road against Mississippi State University. Whew!
Kentucky will play Texas later in the season, further evidencing how brutal its non-conference schedule is.
This team will lose at least five more games, which will mean the mighty Kentucky Wildcats will finish the regular season with at least ten defeats. Kentucky fans can thank John Calipari.
Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison