Kentucky basketball traveled a long way Sunday night to find out it has a long way to go.
How long? That’s yet to be determined. Still, there was nothing in Kentucky’s 88-72 loss to the No. 2-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs that made you think this particular John Calipari team was close to living up to the summer hype festival or the No. 4 preseason ranking.
Instead, after the 9-16 COVID campaign and the first-round NCAA Tournament loss to No. 15 seed Saint Peter’s last March, the 3-2 Wildcats have squandered a couple of early-season opportunities to crush the program-in-decline narrative and send Cats-are-back signals across the college basketball landscape.
First there was that loss to Michigan State. You know, that double overtime Champions Classic defeat last Tuesday in Indianapolis. Both at the end of regulation and again at the end of the first overtime, basic defensive failures cost the Cats the victory. When it mattered most, Michigan State was the more disciplined and better-coached team.