Kentucky fell out of the AP Top 25 this past week. If you have any friends or family in Big Blue Nation, please check on them immediately. "We're probably somewhere around DEFCON 3," said Tom Leach, Kentucky's play-by-play radio announcer, of the level of worry surrounding the Wildcats. This is not the worst Kentucky team John Calipari has had. That honor is likely forever held by the 2013 NIT squad, but the Wildcats are trending more toward the bubble than any other group he's had in Lexington. Some of the usual ingredients are there. Every recruiting service had Kentucky with the No. 2 recruiting class—finishing in the top two of recruiting rankings is an annual occurrence for Calipari at UK—and the program has several one-and-done prospects. Still, the pieces just don't seem to fit. The Wildcats (15-5 overall and 5-3 in the SEC) are not performing at elite levels at either end. Kentucky ranks 55th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and 27th in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com. They're a team that is no longer considered part of the national title conversation, which is troubling (and an outlier) when it comes to UK basketball. This is how they got there: Roster Construction In constructing this roster, Calipari seemed to bank on the wave of positionless basketball making it all work. But the key to the positionless craze is spreading the floor with playmakers and shooting. "It's nice to have players [who] when they shoot, you're surprised they miss," 247 recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer said. "Does Kentucky have a guy like that?" What Calipari does have is an army of guys who are ideal fits as college 4s. Kevin Knox, PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel and Jarred Vanderbilt likely are all future pros. And they would all be at their best slotted at power forward. Even Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hamidou Diallo, the starting backcourt in six games so far this season, are both players who have the size and length to be effective as small-ball 4s, similar to how Kansas used Josh Jackson last year.
Is This Kentucky's Worst Team Under John Calipari?
Bleacher Report | Jan 25