In its 27 most-recent games against power-conference opponents, the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball program is 9-18.
Given that context, UK backers have every right to feel concern after Saturday’s 66-62 loss at Notre Dame that John Calipari’s Wildcats have started the 2021-22 season 0-2 against major-conference foes.
What felt alarming about the defeat in South Bend is that it looked so similar to the pattern of losses that haunted Kentucky throughout its 9-16 slog last season.
Up 62-61 with 1:50 left in the game, UK failed to score again, while Notre Dame was able to grind out five points. The biggest shot for the Fighting Irish was the 10-footer by impressive freshman Blake Wesley with 11.7 seconds left that gave ND the lead for good.
If there was a silver lining for Kentucky, it was that the Wildcats got decent shots down the stretch — which was often not the case while going 4-8 in tight games (decided by five points or less) in 2020-21.