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Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss the uninspiring season for the Kentucky Wildcats and if it could signal the beginning of the end of John Calipari’s time in Lexington.
DAN WETZEL: Kentucky basketball, not so good right now. Bad match-ups, bad-- players don't mesh. Too many dribblers, no shooters. They got one kid who can shoot, maybe.
PAT FORDE: Maybe.
DAN WETZEL: Calipari hates them, you can tell that. They seem to hate Calipari, so--
PAT FORDE: It's a perfect match.
DAN WETZEL: Like, it's just like, Kentucky's just like, can we get to the next recruiting class? Because this one's-- it's like you got, like, a bad-- like, a burnt Frito out of the bag. You just throw it away.
PAT FORDE: They're shooting thir-- they're shooting 29% from three-point range. 324th in the nation.
PETE THAMEL: After the Alabama game, I believe it was Tuesday night, Nate Oats had a quote in his post game, and I'm paraphrasing here. It was basically like, "you know, I give Kentucky a lot of credit. They got down and didn't quit." It was like, good old Kentucky kept trying. You know, like the five and 10 they are. I was like, geez, that is patronizing and awesome.
PAT FORDE: How about that? That's when you know it's bad. When you're getting the "way to not quit, Kentucky. Good job."
DAN WETZEL: Yes.
PETE THAMEL: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: Open season on the Cats right now. You got to get them while they're down, because they're going to-- they probably will be back. The one thing about Kentucky is, you could rebuild the program every year. So it's not like, well, I don't know. That might be it. They're going to lose momentum. But obviously, bad season for-- it's amazing. They've lost four or five. They did beat LSU. And they're at Texas this week-- or they're hosting Texas.
PAT FORDE: Yeah.
DAN WETZEL: They don't get any home crowd. Probably the best thing for them is no fans are there.
PAT FORDE: It really might be now, because the crowd has-- it's vicious on the message boards. I mean, it's vicious. And it's all directed at Cal, which is probably sh-- you know, actually, that's not true. There are several fans that have turned viciously on some of the freshmen. You know, how dare you not be Anthony Davis or Karl Towns or John Wall right away? How dare you be bad? It's not pretty.
PETE THAMEL: Is this a little peek into the mind of a Hall of Famer, an incoming Hall of Famer, where Pat will occasionally, for fun, go look at the Kentucky message boards to see how miserable everyone is? He's used this in columns over the years, so I do think that's like a little peek into the mind of Pat Forde, where he does like to channel some of the misery of the fan-base.
PAT FORDE: I mean, the entertainment value is there. Because people will absolutely put their insanity on display. So there was one-- I will say one poster that had the-- like, Cal had some pretty innocuous comment that people were going crazy about. And the guy said that it's basically, this is like the end of a bad relationship, where every single thing the other person does irritates you. And that's about where Cal and the fans are right now.
DAN WETZEL: I mean, it's tough. Like, they have not been to a Final Four since '15, when they were 38 and 0. But I mean, you look at this run. 35 wins, 29, 38, 21 when Nerlens Noel got hurt. 29, 28, 27, 32, 26, 30, 25. Parades of NBA talent coming through there. Exciting games, exciting players to watch, and now they're four and nine and half that fan-base would run him out on a train.
And I'm not here to carry John Calipari's water. He's making $8 million and, hey, he recruited this team. But it's like, man, is it tough! It's like--
PETE THAMEL: So, Dan, you know--
DAN WETZEL: I mean, he's got to be, like, listen, man! Like, look at all these wins! Didn't work this year, we'll be back.
PETE THAMEL: So you know Cal, Dan, as well as anyone, and certainly as long as anybody. You covered him as a student at UMass. Like, is he smart enough to see the diminishing returns? He's always stayed a step ahead of the posse, right? Did it at UMass when he left to the Nets. When he got run from the NBA, he went and started working out players so he could bring 'em to Memphis when he got revived. Like, Cal is always a step ahead. Like, he is gaming the game at all times. Does he just see this-- and Cal is sensitive. We know that. He is very, very sensitive. He has tin ears.
PAT FORDE: You think so?
PETE THAMEL: Yes. I'm moderately aware of that--
PAT FORDE: Moderately aware.
PETE THAMEL: --directly, Pat, as you may be as well. So, does he look at-- does he look at the landscape and try to bring his act somewhere else? Because it's an act, and a new fan-base will bring it in, and it's a carnival. And that's-- he loves the chaos that comes with Cal, right? So does he see what's going on in Kentucky and just bring his roadshow elsewhere?