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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: The Wildcats Have the Look of an NIT Team

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Jan. 22, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Archie Goodwin (10) drives the ball around Alabama Crimson Tide guard Andrew Steele (22) during the second half at Coleman Coliseum. Alabama won 59-55. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

When things are going good, it’s easy to pat everyone on the back and say “Way to go!” But when things are going bad, it’s even easier to assign blame. And with this team there is plenty of blame to go around. John Calipari, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Ryan Harrow have all recently taken their turns as whipping boy for Big Blue Nation.

But let’s not be so easy to assign blame. This team is a process and John Calipari warned us of this a long time ago. He said it might take a while for this team to get it, and maybe it’s taking longer than we all thought it would, but it’s not like we didn’t know to some degree that this may have happened.

That being said, the fact that Kentucky could be an NIT is a reality and inexcusable at the same time. Rob Dauster from NBCsports.com is as confused as we all are and lists the same culprits to blame as I just did. Here is more of what he had to say:

Add all of that up, and what it means is that Kentucky is now just 1-6 against the RPI top 100. That one win? Maryland, who is 64th in the RPI.

The Wildcats will get a couple of chances to land big wins during SEC play. They go home-and-home with Florida still (6th), visit Ole Miss (32nd) and host Missouri (27th). They also have the rematch with Texas A&M (57th) in College Station. And then there is the SEC tournament to think about.

So Kentucky’s not dead in the water yet.

But they currently have the profile of an NIT team, and if they don’t land a win over Florida — who looks like the best team in the country over the last two weeks — the Wildcats will probably have to win the rest of their SEC games, simply because they cannot afford a loss to a team like Tennessee (102nd), Vanderbilt (127th) or Georgia (181st) to avoid having the profile of an NIT team come Selection Sunday.

The bigger issue is what we have seen on the court.

Kentucky has looked like an NIT team. And they haven’t done anything to persuade those watching that a change is coming in the near future.

Can’t argue with any of Dauster’s points.

Jan. 22, 2013; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari reacts to action on the court during the second half against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum. Alabama won 59-55. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s not let the negativity overburden us. Don’t forget, John Calipari is less than a year removed from a national title and is a finalist for the 2012 Kentucky Sportsman of the Year Award:

We are revealing, in alphabetical order, the 10 finalists for the 2012 Lexington Herald-Leader Kentucky Sportsman of the Year award. The winner will be announced the night of Jan. 31 simultaneously on Kentucky.com and at the Bluegrass Sports Award Banquet. Complete results will be in the Feb. 1 Herald-Leader.

What he did in 2012: Coached Kentucky men’s basketball to a 38-2 record, an undefeated SEC mark (16-0), a second consecutive Final Four berth and the 2012 NCAA championship.

Voter comment: “(Calipari) had the most statewide impact of anyone … hands down.” — Neal Bradley, Murray State University play-by-play announcer

So, Kentucky fans that are calling out John Calipari, stop it. This man is a great coach and a great ambassador to the program. He’s done more for this team and university than his two most recent predecessors combined. Again, stop it with the Cal bashing.
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