Turning the roster over is a way of life at Kentucky as John Calipari recruits NBA-caliber players and usually sends then on to the professional ranks after one season.
However, the Wildcats are struggling to rebuild this season and look like a team desperately in need of a victory when they host Notre Dame at 12 p.m. Saturday at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.
Despite being 1-3, Kentucky is favored to beat the Fighting Irish
Kentucky lost all five starters and seven of its eight starters from a team that went 25-6 last season.Unlike most seasons, the Wildcats have had trouble blending their usual group of five-star freshmen into a cohesive unit.Kentucky has looked discombobulated on offense. The Wildcats are 195th in the nation in scoring with a 67.2 point per game average and their 46.7 effective field goal shooting percentage ranks 203rd
Calipari admits his team lacks confidence, especially after three straight losses.Despite being a 6.5-point favorite on the road, Kentucky was overwhelmed by mediocre Georgia Tech 79-62 on Sunday. That came after the Yellow Jackets lost to Georgia State and Mercer to begin the season.Georgia Tech had 15 steals against the Wildcats and scored 33 points off turnovers. Kentucky was also outscored 36-20 in the paint.
Freshman guard Terrance Clarke was one of just two Kentucky players in double figures with 22 points.The Wildcats also have just two players averaging double figures in scoring so far this season, freshman guard Brandon Boston Jr. (14.5) and Clarke (13.8).Hubb is Notre Dame’s Hub Notre Dame is also coming off a loss, falling to Ohio State 90-85 at home on Tuesday as a six-point underdog.
The Fighting Irish led 42-34 at halftime but were unable to put the Buckeyes away.It has been the beginning of Camp Cal this week for the Wildcats, and they needed it. Calipari said the focus will be working on limiting turnovers and converting offensive possessions.Every year it has been a similar story with Cal’s Cats. A young team that has a lot to learn and all hope looks lost. Then, conference play begins and the young team starts to look like a veteran team heading into the tournament.
This year, however, is very different. The lone returning player (Keion Brooks Jr.) has yet to play a minute this year, and every player on the court is new to Cal’s system.Top that with COVID-19 and an entirely new atmosphere for these players, and we’ve seen what the results have yielded so far.
With that, I’m confident this team will pull things together and wins will start to stack at some point. Will that start this Saturday? Let us know in the poll and comments below!
Kentucky: If there’s a bright spot to counteract Kentucky’s abysmal 25.8% 3-point shooting through four games this season, it’s that the Wildcats have also held opponents to just 26.1% shooting from beyond the arc. That creates an interesting matchup against Notre Dame, which relies heavily upon the 3-point shot. With sophomore forward Keion Brooks Jr. still
doubtful, the Wildcats are again expected to deploy a rotation featuring no contributors from last year’s team. The lack of continuity and the lack of games against lower-tier competition early this season have forced Kentucky to try and find an.offensive rhythm under adverse circumstances. It has not gone well. But if the Wildcats can use their length and athleticism to bother Notre Dame’s shooters, they could avoid what would be just the program’s second losing streak of four games under John Calipari.Game prediction, pick
Kentucky has gone 10 deep at times early this season, and if Calipari is willing to do it again against Notre Dame, the Wildcats should be able to wear down their ACC foe by contesting shots and collecting second-chance points. But don’t bet on these young Wildcats to cover a three-possession spread.. Prediction: Kentucky 81, Notre Dame 77