The COVID-19 pandemic limited the number of practices and games some college basketball teams could have over the last few months, creating a disjointed start to the season that negatively affected some programs more than others. But as most teams that have not already begun conference play prepare to do so in the coming days, a fresh start is in order.
For teams that padded their win totals with weak nonconference schedules, it's time to prove it against quality competition. But for teams that are off to disappointing starts, conference play brings a chance to turn things around as the calendar flips to 2021. At 1-6 and facing a steep uphill climb to make the NCAA Tournament, Kentucky is the most obvious disappointment to this point in the college hoops season, but the Wildcats have company in the category of teams needing a turnaround to get their seasons back on track.
In this week's edition of the dribble handoff, our writers are sharing which teams have been most disappointing to them at this point in the season. And, yes, those poor Wildcats were the first team selected during this process.
This season's biggest disappointment is clearly Kentucky. Even Kentucky fans would agree. The Wildcats were 10th in the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll and 12th in the preseason KenPom rankings. Now they're unranked in all human polls, down to No. 52 at KenPom and, incredibly, sitting on a 1-6 record for the first time in more than a century. Kentucky has turned the ball over on 22.8% of its possessions, which ranks 273rd nationally while shooting 25.0% from 3-point range, which ranks 319th nationally. Neither of the projected one-and-done lottery picks (Brandon Boston, Terrence Clarke) have performed to the hype. One player (Cam'Ron Fletcher) has already served what amounted to a suspension. It's been a mess in basically every way, one that will almost certainly cause John Calipari to miss the NCAA Tournament for just the second time since the 2005 season, which will more than likely lead to him reevaluating exactly how he roster-builds on an annual basis at this blue-blood program that should never be this bad. -- Gary Parrish