The No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats lost to Notre Dame last night 50-64. The 4-2 record was not the way people expected the Wildcats to start the season coming off of a national championship.
Head coach John Calipari has an interesting strategy when it comes to recruiting. Many coaches in the nation recruit student-athletes to fit in their system and work on improving them over the course of their career.
Calipari recruits the best talent he can, puts a Kentucky jersey on them and then graduates them on to the NBA after a year.
This technique has not worked in his favor this season.
His inexperienced lineup struggled against Notre Dame’s more experienced roster last night. Notre Dame was able to slow down the tempo of the game and Kentucky did not know how to handle it. They looked shocked out on the floor, very different from the athletic dunk fest the Wildcats have put on in the past.
Notre Dame is a tough road game given the large fan base, but if Kentucky had more experience on their team, it might not have bothered them.
Kentucky did absolutely nothing to counter Notre Dame. No adjustments were made to speed up the tempo or get some easy buckets. The truth is, I don’t think Calipari knows what to do when his all-star team doesn’t show up.
He is so used to relying on his team being able to walk in to any gym and win based off of pure talent and athleticism. When that strategy fails against more disciplined teams that have clearly perfected their scouting reports, Calipari is not a good enough coach to implement quick changes.
It is evident this Kentucky team has a lot of growing up to do before they enter the conference season. They are nowhere near as good as last year’s Wildcats, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be by the NCAA tournament.
If the Wildcats want a chance at another national title, or at this point a conference title, Calipari might need to actually start coaching.