Kentucky fans call for John Calipari’s head after first-round upset to Oakland

The Kentucky Wildcats should have been National Title contenders, but for the third straight tournament, John Calipari's team failed to get out of the first weekend in March Madness. If it time for Calipari's tenure in Lexington to come to an end?
Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari
Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

When Kentucky got sent to Pittsburgh as the No. 3 seed in the South Region, it was a homecoming for John Calipari, Adou Thiero, and Tre Mitchell, but after the Oakland Golden Grizzlies upset the Wildcats 80-76, Big Blue Nation would prefer that Coach Cal stays home for good. 

It’s now been five years since Kentucky got past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, granted one of those seasons, the tournament was canceled and another the Wildcats missed it altogether, but in three straight years, Calpari’s team has been bounced in the first two rounds. After Kentucky lost in the Final Four in 2015, the program has been on a downward trajectory, and now it’s spiraling. 

Kentucky fans are more than ready for a new era of Wildcats basketball. From the very start, this game was frustrating, as Calipari stubbornly started D.J. Wagner and Tre Mitchell instead of Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham. Sheppard struggled badly all night, but Calipari is absolutely to blame for the loss. 

What makes the recent March failures even worse is the types of teams they have come against. This season, Kentucky qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the 61st time in school history, the most of any program in the country, yet the Wildcats have had their season ended by No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s, Kansas State, and now Oakland in consecutive seasons. 

Calipari likely isn’t going anywhere because of his “lifetime contract” but the heat has gotten turned way up in Kentucky’s administration. 

This will be an interesting offseason in Lexington, as Sheppard and Dillingham almost certainly head for the NBA, and Cal tries to pick up the pieces after another postseason disaster.

dark. Next. Kentucky fans frustrated with Calipari's starting lineup. Kentucky fans frustrated with Calipari's starting lineup