College basketball grades, grades: Kentucky gets ‘F’, Arizona earns ‘A+’ on weekly report card
From 2009-2017, John Calipari and Kentucky were as dynamic and strong a pairing as any in college circles. In that span Kentucky recorded more wins than any team in the sport and compiled a 249-53 overall record with five SEC regular season titles, five SEC Tournament titles, four Final Four appearances, a national runner-up finish and an NCAA championship.
The last six seasons and change have been stronger since then.
By the standards of a typical college program, Kentucky has been very good from the start of 2017 to today, with 132 wins in that span – 18th most among men’s basketball teams. But Kentucky is No a typical college basketball program and its fans, fair or not, do No you expect a normal fan. Amassing fewer wins from 2017 than Texas Tech and Auburn, among many others, is not the norm.
In the end, there aren’t many benefits if you’re doing in the postseason, but that’s been in short supply lately, too. Kentucky has made zero Final Four appearances since 2015 and the steady stream of March Madness embarrassments in recent years has only made matters worse. A coach might be forgiven by the Big Blue in most circumstances, but not now after back-to-back disappointing season finishes in 2022 and 2023 – one that ended with a loss 15-seed Saint Peter’s and the other (second-round loss. Providence) who extended their second weekend in the NCAA Tournament to three seasons. (Both, at least, were before a nightmare 9-16 season.)
UK’s loss to Gonzaga at home on Saturday felt like another low in a slow spiral of sadness in Lexington. The shutout was historic, as it gave Kentucky its first three-game home losing streak since before Rupp Arena was even built in the late 1960s. Fittingly, Kentucky is the highlight of our weekly report card this week. – with a predictable ‘F’ going on. The Wildcats still have the future NBA talent to catch lightning in a bottle and run in March, but he hasn’t played this season as one of the most talented teams in the sport, and it looks like another disappointing outing at this stage to come.
The rest of this week’s rankings are below. As usual, the marks are given based on the week that was, running from Monday to Sunday.