Sidelines with John Clay

This Kentucky basketball team could still make a run, says Gary Parrish

Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari instructs Kentucky Wildcats guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (22) during UK’s 66-64 loss to the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018.
Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari instructs Kentucky Wildcats guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (22) during UK’s 66-64 loss to the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. aslitz@herald-leader.com

Out of the top AP Top 25 for the first time since 2014, Kentucky baasketball travels to No. 7 West Virginia on Saturday as part of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.

To get a feel for what the national media thinks about John Calipari’s team, I talked with a long-time Calologist, Garry Parrish of cbssports.com. Gary covered Calipari’s Memphis teams while working for the Memphis Commercial Appeal before leaving for CBS. He also covers the national scene like no other.

“When you’re talking about Kentucky, I think it’s important to remember that everything is relative,” Gary said. “When you say this is a disappointing Kentucky team, or a not-good Kentucky team, it just means it’s only relative to Kentucky’s normal standards have been set at the highest end of the sport by John Calipari. Right now, they’re top 35 in kenpom still. But that would be the worst healthy Kentucky team that John Calipari has ever had.”

That doesn’t mean this UK team has no shot of making a run come March. Parrish points to Cal’s 2011 and 2014 teams, both of which lost six conference games. He’s not going to count Calipari out. Not in January.

Gary also talks about UK’s chances of stealing a win this weekend at West Virginia. We also discuss why Mike Krzyzewski and Duke have passed Calipari and Kentucky in the recruiting races. Coach K’s staff is one factor, said Gary. And don’t discount Krzyzewski’s influence in USA Basketball.

Be sure and check out all of Gary’s work on cbssports.com. And be sure and listen to his terrific college basketball podcast with Matt Norlander. Be sure and follow Gary on Twitter.

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Here’s my podcast from earlier this week with Ben Roberts talking UK basketball recruiting.

Kentucky men’s basketball 2017-18

Date

Opponent

UK

Opp

Dec

Rec

SEC

11/10/17

Utah Valley

73

63

W

1-0

11/12/17

Vermont

73

69

W

2-0

11/14/17

vsKansas (chicago)

61

65

L

2-1

11/17/17

East Tennessee

78

61

W

3-1

11/20/17

Troy

70

62

W

4-1

11/22/17

Fort Wayne

86

67

W

5-1

11/26/17

UIC

107

73

W

6-1

12/2/17

Harvard

79

70

W

7-1

12/9/17

vsMonmouth (New York)

93

76

W

8-1

12/16/17

Virginia Tech

93

86

W

9-1

12/23/17

vsUCLA (New Orleans)

75

83

L

9-2

12/29/17

Louisville

90

61

W

10-2

12/31/17

Georgia

66

61

W

11-2

1-0

1/3/18

@LSU

74

71

W

12-2

2-0

1/6/18

@Tennessee

65

76

L

12-3

2-1

1/9/18

Texas A&M

74

73

W

13-3

3-1

1/13/18

@Vanderbilt

74

67

W

14-3

4-1

1/16/18

@South Carolina

68

76

L

14-4

4-2

1/20/18

Florida

64

66

L

14-5

4-3

1/23/18

Mississippi St

78

65

W

15-5

5-3

1/27/18

@West Virginia

1/30/18

Vanderbilt

2/3/18

@Missouri

2/6/18

Tennessee

2/10/18

@Texas A&M

2/14/18

@Auburn

2/17/18

Alabama

2/20/18

@Arkansas

2/24/18

Missouri

2/28/18

Ole Miss

3/3/18

@Florida

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