Warmth on John Calipari ratchets up as Kentucky’s 28-game house profitable streak snapped by South Carolina


Kentucky’s season went from on the brink to off the rails on Tuesday because the 19.5-point favourite Wildcats fell at house in a stunner to unranked South Carolina 71-68. The loss snapped Kentucky’s 28-game house profitable streak at Rupp Area that was the longest working streak within the SEC and dropped the Wildcats to 1-3 in convention play for the primary time for the reason that 1986-87 season. The disastrous loss comes solely days after falling by 26 factors to Alabama — its largest margin of defeat within the century-long sequence towards the Crimson Tide — on Saturday.

The Wildcats have struggled at numerous factors all through the season, both on offense or protection, however Tuesday towards the Gamecocks was a mix of every little thing going mistaken always. South Carolina scorched the nets from 3, smashed on the offensive boards and raked in 21 second-chance factors in a wire-to-wire win in entrance of the UK trustworthy. And every time the Wildcats have been on the prowl lurking to make issues tight, South Carolina appeared to have a solution all the way in which to the tip.

South Carolina obtained 26 massive ones from Meechie Johnson — a brand new career-high — in an out-of-his-mind scoring efficiency on the highway to drag off the upset. Johnson hit six of his 10 3-point makes an attempt, together with an absurd stepback from deep vary late within the second half and one other from near the brand to cushion the lead as UK was pushing to make it nearer. Star freshman GG Jackson additionally added two 3s on two makes an attempt and contributed 16 factors on 6-of-10 taking pictures.

South Carolina was as scorching scorching as Kentucky was ice chilly in one more flat efficiency from the Wildcats. Even with reigning Participant of the 12 months Oscar Tshiebwe, UK obtained labored on the boards and the offensive glass, and obtained no assist from the offensive facet of issues to even out the scales. The crew took solely 10 3s and made three, a confounding technique by a crew that statistically charges as the most effective 3-point taking pictures groups of the Calipari period. 

Compounding issues, freshman star Cason Wallace, the crew’s finest 3-point shooter by share, left halfway via the sport with an harm and didn’t return.

Listed below are three takeaways from the sport.

1. Stress on Calipari intensifies

John Calipari denied studies this week that Texas officers had contacted him about its head teaching emptiness after firing Chris Beard. However that was about as fortuitous a distraction as doable for the Corridor of Fame coach. After falling to No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s within the NCAA Match, Large Blue Nation has been Large Mad Nation geared toward Calipari, and the 10-6 begin to 2022-23 — regardless of opening the season as a top-five crew — has solely intensified the strain on him. It would be one factor if the expertise wasn’t there, however this roster has loads of items. The trouble, although, appears to wax and wane intermittently and the system — the spacing, the pacing, the 3-point makes an attempt — appear to be off, too. It is by no means good when your personal fanbase is making indicators so that you can depart. (And even worse when your faculty officers should go full New York Knicks to defend the coach by booting a fan out of the world.)

2. Kentucky’s foul taking pictures struggles proceed

After hitting seven of its 14 makes an attempt vs. South Carolina, Kentucky is now hitting on a woeful 65.6% from the charity stripe on the season — a mark that ranks third-worst within the SEC and close to the 300 mark nationally (out of 363 Division I groups). 4 of Kentucky’s six losses on the season have been by double figures, so it is not the singular factor that is preserving it from profitable, however make no mistake: it’s a large downside. On Tuesday, it was fairly actually the distinction between a win and one other painstaking loss. 

3. What’s subsequent for Kentucky?

The CBS Sports activities faculty basketball employees went on document earlier Tuesday to sport out how the remainder of Kentucky’s season would unfold, and I used to be the excessive man of the bunch. Then they circled and misplaced to arguably the least-talented crew within the SEC at house. So what’s subsequent for Kentucky? There is not any reprieve in sight. Saturday is a highway matchup towards Tennessee and its elite protection that is prone to make this UK system look much more damaged. 

There’s room to be optimistic right here that Kentucky can flip issues round, however there isn’t any actual foundation on which you’ll be able to lay that perception. It is simply merely that … issues cannot get a lot worse. It is a top-three roster by expertise within the SEC. It has no enterprise fumbling video games away at house to South Carolina as a 19.5-point favourite. Certainly issues will get higher. They’re nearly sure to get higher. However whether or not that is a flip in direction of the trail of a tourney bid stays up for debate, and issues appear way more grim Tuesday evening than they did even just a few days in the past.



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