A trio of bloggers look at Kentucky’s plight

UK’s stumble down south on Tuesday night has some of the bloggers buzzing today. Here are three excerpts:

Eamonn Brennan of espn.com: “We keep waiting for the Wildcats to turn it on, to come together, to play the sort of defense we’ve come to associate with John Calipari-led teams, even those that rely so heavily on freshmen. But each new UK game seems to bring with it new obstacles. For much of the nonconference season, for example, freshman swingman Alex Poythress impressed, while 2012’s top-rated recruit, Nerlens Noel, largely disappointed. Now Noel is unquestionably the best player on this team: His ability to create blocks and steals is unparalleled in college hoops, he rebounds well, and his shaky offensive game has started to come around. … Now, Poythress is struggling — he finished UK’s 59-55 loss at Alabama with five fouls in 15 total minutes — and point Ryan Harrow, despite all his recent improvements, is still not the player Calipari needs him to be.”

Rob Dauster of College Basketball Talk: “I’ve defended the Wildcats all season long. I’ve said that there’s no way a team with this much talent, with four future lottery picks, can miss the tournament in a season like this with a bubble that’s projecting to be the weakest it’s ever been. All along, I’ve said there is nothing that head coach John Calipari does better than get a group of misfits to somehow figure out how to work together for seven months, how to put their differences aside and buy into a role and become a team. I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore. And it puts Kentucky in danger of actually missing out on the NCAA tournament.”

Rick Bozich of WDRB: “Ken Pomeroy’s computer projection still has the Wildcats progressing to a 21-10 regular season with a 12-6 record in Southeastern Conference play. If the Wildcats get to 21 wins, would that put Kentucky in the NCAA field? Probably, but it’s no lock. Eleven SEC teams with 20 or more wins have missed the NCAA Tournament over the last five seasons. It depends upon the teams that Kentucky beats. The blessing of the SEC (winnable games) is also a burden (few quality wins). According to Pomeroy, only three other SEC teams (Florida, Mississippi and Missouri) are ranked among the top 60 in the nation.”

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