The Kentucky Wildcats basketball team hasn’t gotten off to the best start in 2020-21. Kentucky is just 1-6 entering the start of SEC play. Their first conference game against South Carolina was postponed due to virus issues within the Wildcats program. But, that may be a sigh of relief for John Calipari and the team. Kentucky has struggled offensively through all seven games. They recently lost to rival Louisville in a close game, falling to 1-6 on the year.
Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Struggles
Kentucky Wildcats Off to a Slow Start
Entering conference play, the Wildcats are in unfamiliar territory. Calipari typically has his team ranked and with a winning record. But at this point, the Wildcats will not make the postseason unless they pull together and fix the issues on both ends. In a COVID-19 year, things are on the wrong end for Kentucky.
Falling from the national ranks is no fun for any team. But Kentucky is supposed to be a blueblood. However, that isn’t the case this season. Their lone win came against Morehead State to open the season back on November 25. The Wildcats are 0-2 against Top 25 teams. Kentucky lost to Kansas and North Carolina in early December. They also lost to Richmond, who has been a dominant mid-major program this year.
The struggles go beyond just the wins and losses though. The Wildcats are playing a lot of freshmen that have to find their identity on the court. If the team can group together and get better on offense, the Wildcats could be a contender yet again.
Breaking Down Kentucky’s Struggles
The Wildcats’ top scorer is Brandon Boston Jr., a freshman that averages 14 points per game. That total leads the team in points. He is shooting 36 percent from the floor and grabs 6.4 rebounds a game. The next best scorer is Terrence Clarke, also a freshman. Kentucky lost a lot of talent from last year’s team that cost the program the veteran leadership they need.
As a team, Kentucky averages 64.9 points per game. Defensively, they allow 66.6 per game. The program has lost six-straight games. While this may be considered a rebuilding year, there is no excuse for the six-straight defeats. Kentucky has always been a dominant program in college basketball. They shoot just 41 percent from the floor as a team this year.
When the opponent gets going on offense, Kentucky has no answer on defense. Not only are there struggles on offense, but the defense has trouble stopping teams in transition. For this team to get back on track, they have to play aggressive defense and force the opponent into unwanted situations on the court.
Though an NCAA Tournament berth looks out of the question now, the Wildcats are usually dominant in SEC play. Facing Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Georgia will be no easy task. Those four teams are currently undefeated and the Vols and Tigers are both ranked.
That presents Kentucky with a motivation to get back on track and get to over .500 within the first six conference games. The Wildcats open SEC play on Saturday against the 5-3 Mississippi State Bulldogs. Calipari has to get his top two freshmen, Boston Jr. and Clarke, playing more consistent basketball.
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