Remember when we were all excited that Kentucky was ranked #3 in the country when the preseason polls were released? Remember when the experts considered it a forgone conclusion that the Wildcats when win the SEC?
Now all of that sits as a distant memory. The Wildcats are sitting outside of the AP top 25, are now third in the ESPN SEC power rankings, out of the Sports Illustrated power rankings and are a low #22 in the coaches poll. Even our own WBN SEC Power Rankings have the Cats at number three behind Florida and Missouri. And we are apologetically biased around here.
So what does ESPN have to say about ranking UK behind Florida and Mizzou?
3. Kentucky: Its most recent wins over Samford and Portland may have helped it recover from the back-to-back losses to Notre Dame and Baylor that cost the team its spot in the Associated Press’ Top 25. But they’re just appetizers for the Dec. 29 matchup against rival Louisville, the nation’s most efficient defense. Kentucky’s point-guard problems will be scrutinized in the buildup to that game.
Tell us something we don’t know, ESPN. The reality of the situation is that Kentucky has struggled recently, but luckily the college basketball regular season isn’t as cut throat as the college football regular season. There is plenty of room for error. Last year’s Kentucky team lost two games, one in the regular season and one in the SEC championship game, before claiming the NCAA tournament crown.
The 2010-2011 UConn team led by Kemba Walker lost nine games before winning the Big East tournament and then winning the NCAA tournament. Duke lost five games in 2009-2010 before defeating Butler in the final game of the season.
The point is that there is room for error and plenty of time for improvement. Kentucky’s problems are fixable. Rankings at this juncture of the season mean just as much as they did before the season even started.
Beat Lipscomb and Marshall, get to 8-3 and all of a sudden Kentucky will find themselves back in the top 25 just in time for the Cardinals. Not that the ranking would mean anything. But it would be nice.