UK Men's Basketball

A four-game losing streak for UK? This has rarely happened in the program’s history.

The skid continues for the Kentucky Wildcats.

The first three-game losing streak in nine seasons under Coach John Calipari turned into the program’s first four-game losing skid in this era with Wednesday night’s defeat at Auburn.

The Cats’ current four-game losing streak is just the seventh in program history dating back to when Adolph Rupp became the head coach in 1930. Only seven such droughts in 88 seasons shows the sustained greatness of Kentucky basketball over the decades. It also shows just how much of an anomaly this team has been, especially since Calipari came to town in 2009.

Of note:

▪  This is Calipari’s first four-game losing streak in 13 years, when his 2004-05 Memphis Tigers dropped four straight to Charlotte, Louisville, Saint Louis and Cincinnati — all but SLU were Top 25 teams at the time — and went on to miss the NCAA Tournament.

▪  Adolph Rupp never had a four-game losing streak in his 42 seasons as UK’s head coach. Rupp did have eight three-game skids in that time.

▪  For all the criticism of Tubby Smith, he also never had a four-game losing streak in his 10 seasons in charge of UK’s program.

▪  Billy Gillispie managed two four-game losing streaks in just two seasons as UK’s head coach. The current four-game skid is the Cats’ first since Gillispie’s final season nine years ago. Joe B. Hall is the only other UK coach in modern times with two four-game losing streaks, but Hall coached the Cats for 13 seasons.

▪  Of the previous six UK teams to lose four or more games in a row, only two made the NCAA Tournament. Gillispie’s first team lost in the first round of the 2008 tournament. Hall’s final team won two postseason games as a 12 seed before losing to top-seeded St. John’s in the Sweet Sixteen of the 1985 tournament.

Of note with Alabama coming to town Saturday afternoon:

▪  The last five-game losing streak at UK happened during Rick Pitino’s first season and with the program still reeling from scandal. Pitino lost five games in a row early in the 1989-90 season, then never dropped more than two straight games as UK’s coach after that.

▪  That five-game skid during Pitino’s first year and a six-game skid in Eddie Sutton’s final season the year before are UK’s only losing streaks of more than four games since Rupp took over in 1930.

▪  As a college coach, Calipari has not endured a five-game losing streak since January 1990, his second season at UMass. He was 30 years old at the time.

John Calipari (2009-present)

Four-game losing streaks: One

2017-18: at Missouri, vs. Tennessee, at Texas A&M, at Auburn.

Team finish: ???

Billy Gillispie (2007-09)

Four-game losing streaks: Two

2008-09: at South Carolina, vs. Louisiana State, vs. Georgia, at Florida.

Team finish: 22-14 (lost in NIT)

2007-08: vs. North Carolina, at Indiana, vs. UAB*, at Houston.

Team finish: 18-13 (lost in first round of NCAA Tournament)

Tubby Smith (1997-2007)

Four-game losing streaks: None

Rick Pitino (1989-97)

Four-game losing streaks: One

1989-90: vs. SW Louisiana, vs. North Carolina*, Louisville, at Georgia, at Vanderbilt.

Team finish: 14-14 (banned from postseason)

Eddie Sutton (1985-89)

Four-game losing streaks: One

1988-89: at Georgia, at Vanderbilt, vs. Florida, at LSU, vs. Alabama, at Auburn.

Team finish: 13-19 (no postseason)

Joe B. Hall (1972-85)

Four-game losing streaks: Two

1984-85: at Purdue, vs. SMU, at Indiana, at Louisville.

Team finish: 18-13 (lost in Sweet Sixteen of NCAA Tournament)

1973-74: at Mississippi, vs. Alabama, vs. Florida, at Vanderbilt.

Team finish: 13-13 (no postseason)

Adolph Rupp (1930-72)

Four-game losing streaks: None

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