Is this John Calipari's most disappointing Kentucky team ever?

From ESPN - February 15, 2018

AUBURN, Ala. -- There's no built-in excuse in Lexington this time.

In 2013, the lone season in which John Calipari was left out of the NCAA tournament, lottery pick Nerlens Noel went down because of a torn ACL in mid-February. The Wildcats were hardly a lock to go dancing at the time, but Noel's season-ending injury was the common refrain among Big Blue Nation for why the team lost five of its last nine games and earned a spot in the NIT.

This team is full strength now that Jarred Vanderbilt returned about a month ago, but the Wildcats are free-falling following Wednesday night's 10-point loss at Auburn -- giving them their first four-game losing streak since Calipari was hired in 2009.

And if not for a gift foul with two seconds left by Vanderbilt, the SEC's last-place team, it would be five consecutive setbacks. And before Vandy was that miracle second half in which Kentucky came back from a 17-point deficit to beat West Virginia in Morgantown.

Now it's time to start wondering if the Wildcats will make another NIT appearance, because it's fair to question who this team can beat on its remaining slate.

"I have got one thought. Let's just try and win the next game, win a game," Calipari said when asked if he was concerned about missing out on the NCAA tourney. "I feel like if we win a game, we can get going. I have had teams in these kind of mode we are in, but the league was different."

The good news for Calipari & Co. is that the bubble is incredibly soft. Want proof? Nebraska, Maryland and Mississippi State are still alive and kicking despite unimpressive rsums.

But this is a Kentucky team that barely beat Vandy twice, and lost on the road against Texas A&M, Missouri and South Carolina. Kentucky (17-9 overall) is currently 6-7 in an SEC that might be deep, but does not boast much in terms of star power.

Next up is a talented, erratic Alabama team Saturday at home. Then comes Arkansas in Fayetteville -- which is no easy task -- followed by Missouri and Ole Miss at home before closing out the regular season in Gainesville against Florida.

Calipari always says his team is young, but he has a valid point this season. This group is the least experienced team in the country, but I am not sure that this same group would fare much better a year from now. The Wildcats still would not boast a point guard who makes life easier for his teammates, would not feature any legitimate perimeter shooters beyond Kevin Knox, and they still might not look or play like a team.

"I have got a bunch of young kids that at times do not listen, they do not trust," Calipari said. "I told them last night [that] I failed them. I have not built enough trust that when I talk to them, they are going to do what this man says. ... But they have also failed each other. They do not play for each other."


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