It’s Time for Real Conversations About the Kentucky Head Coach Role

Random UK Fan

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The NCAA fanbase seems to be divided into 2 factions;

A) “All that talent and no trophies”

or

B) “Stop it.”

When the “all that talent and no trophies” faction would fire up 6 or 7 years ago I thought it was premature due to getting to final fours or just missing, but the last few seasons (excluding last season due to COVID) UK has been underwhelming, with our 5 star teams being bested by teams with fewer stars but scrappy ballers.

It has become clear to me that Cal can only succeed with overly-superior talent, which has not been seen for a while In Lexington like in the past with exception to Oscar. Someone will say “ . . . and replace him with who!?” One answer to that is; A no-name coach can deliver repeated early-exits just as easy as Cal has.

So, are UK fans just spoiled or should a Blue Blood take a gamble with someone new now?
 

TheDude1

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I think the idea of getting rid of Cal is nuts.

The guy is one of the best in history. He has won a TON. And honestly, I haven't seen too many coaches "win it all" WITHOUT superior talent. I don't think there are many coaches out there better than Cal, and I don't think UK would have a good chance of finding a better coach than Cal.

Honestly, I think some of the blueblood fans have expectations that are not realistic in the modern world of basketball. Forty years ago, maybe. But not anymore.
 

RockChalk82

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Kentucky and KU both have one natty this century. That in itself is sad.

meanwhile Duke and UNC have a combined 5 in the time period. UConn has 4 since 1999. Nova 2 since 2016. We have watched league brethren Texas Tech and Baylor play for titles back to back literally the year after we broke UCLA’s league title record. Texas tech?! It’s probably the equivalent of Auburn for you all. A WTF.

something mental about both our programs not able to get over the hump to hang banners. We both have played for a few or been to several final fours (you 4, us 5) this century. But one banner each.

we’re as upset with our situation as well. But, yes we’re both spoiled. Both are overdue to hang another ASAP
 

FaithPlusOne

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I think I said it earlier in the year but I’ll say it again. I think Cal is a .600 coach that gets .900 talent. That said, he does get the talent and he does win a lot. Outside of last night it’d be hard to call this year a failure.

Obviously no coach is without flaws and, while he certainly has them, I wouldn’t kick dirt on his grave just yet. He can still win big in Lexington. I think part of it is whether he wants to make adjustments or not. He seemed to make some this year with personnel (becoming older with transfer portal). Will he make more philosophical adjustments in the future, particularly as it relates to game management or type of offense he runs?

I guess it’s all moot. With his contract and insane buyout, Kentucky is sort of stuck with him as long as he wants to be there. His agent is pretty incredible.
 

lurkeraspect84

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b2e8a05e-2e84-4be5-9eac-37d6042ec5cf_text.gif


limp dick.
 

RockThrillCock

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I think the idea of getting rid of Cal is nuts.

The guy is one of the best in history. He has won a TON. And honestly, I haven't seen too many coaches "win it all" WITHOUT superior talent. I don't think there are many coaches out there better than Cal, and I don't think UK would have a good chance of finding a better coach than Cal.

Honestly, I think some of the blueblood fans have expectations that are not realistic in the modern world of basketball. Forty years ago, maybe. But not anymore.
Duke, UNC, Baylor, Gonzaga all all less talent and have won it all. The one thing he does well is got talent. Is there a coach right now that does less with so much?
 

mikeinknoxville

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Getting bumped early has its knee jerk reactions for any fan base wanting more trophys, banners etc.

Give it some time. A new top recruit will end up signing and optimism will be resumed.

And besides we like Coach Cal here in Tennessee..
 

jhmossy

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It's hard to top Cal's first couple of years at UK. That probably led to some wildly unrealistic expectations, even for UK fans who are never that realistic anyways. But no title since 2012 and only one title for UK since 1998. No Final Four since 2015. 9-16 regular season. And now a loss to a 15 seed. The flip side is he's won 78% of his games at UK and I doubt they would find someone who wins more games than he does. But he's not winning the right games anymore. I'm sure they could find someone who could lose the big games for much less money.
 

della

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The NCAA fanbase seems to be divided into 2 factions;

A) “All that talent and no trophies”

or

B) “Stop it.”

When the “all that talent and no trophies” faction would fire up 6 or 7 years ago I thought it was premature due to getting to final fours or just missing, but the last few seasons (excluding last season due to COVID) UK has been underwhelming, with our 5 star teams being bested by teams with fewer stars but scrappy ballers.

It has become clear to me that Cal can only succeed with overly-superior talent, which has not been seen for a while In Lexington like in the past with exception to Oscar. Someone will say “ . . . and replace him with who!?” One answer to that is; A no-name coach can deliver repeated early-exits just as easy as Cal has.

So, are UK fans just spoiled or should a Blue Blood take a gamble with someone new now?
Yes, UK fans are spoiled and no you shouldn't replace him. He brings in talent at the highest level in CBB you knucklehead.
 

thebasketballreasons

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I think a big part of the problem is that, UK ain’t really getting all the top talents like they did before 2017. There was a time that 2-4 top 10 recruits would go to UK, not anymore. UK had no top 10 recruits from 2021 and 2022 class, and only 2 from 11-20 range. Other teams like Duke, KU and Gonzaga have stepped up on recruiting, and UK was just one of the many possible destinations. I don’t see people bringing this up but John Calipari is actually beaten at his own game in recent years.
 

lurkeraspect84

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It's hard to top Cal's first couple of years at UK. That probably led to some wildly unrealistic expectations, even for UK fans who are never that realistic anyways. But no title since 2012 and only one title for UK since 1998. No Final Four since 2015. 9-16 regular season. And now a loss to a 15 seed. The flip side is he's won 78% of his games at UK and I doubt they would find someone who wins more games than he does. But he's not winning the right games anymore. I'm sure they could find someone who could lose the big games for much less money.
bummed.gif
 

della

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Why am I not surprised about your vote for us to keep Cal? jumpingsmile

UK fans want S. Carolina to keep their football coach too.
First of all I want to commend you, Lurker and Cujo for being "true blue" and standing tall in the eye of the storm. I have been through what y'all are contemplating in CFB. It is usually a one way trip to the abyss. Finally, I like UK to be strong, I just want UT be strong too.
 

dukedevilz

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Everybody knows it takes a bit of luck to win 6 games.

Iowa and Kentucky were both legit Final Four contenders. If you replayed the tournament 10 times, I'm willing to bet Iowa would make the Final Four at least once - and Kentucky would probably make it at least twice.
 

Jaycg15

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Everybody knows it takes a bit of luck to win 6 games.

Iowa and Kentucky were both legit Final Four contenders. If you replayed the tournament 10 times, I'm willing to bet Iowa would make the Final Four at least once - and Kentucky would probably make it at least twice.
🤫
 

ExitFlagger

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May 2, 2015
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The NCAA fanbase seems to be divided into 2 factions;

A) “All that talent and no trophies”

or

B) “Stop it.”

When the “all that talent and no trophies” faction would fire up 6 or 7 years ago I thought it was premature due to getting to final fours or just missing, but the last few seasons (excluding last season due to COVID) UK has been underwhelming, with our 5 star teams being bested by teams with fewer stars but scrappy ballers.

It has become clear to me that Cal can only succeed with overly-superior talent, which has not been seen for a while In Lexington like in the past with exception to Oscar. Someone will say “ . . . and replace him with who!?” One answer to that is; A no-name coach can deliver repeated early-exits just as easy as Cal has.

So, are UK fans just spoiled or should a Blue Blood take a gamble with someone new now?

I think it would be pretty silly to actually move on, unless you have a damn good and proven coach ready and willing. I wonder how many coaches would want the job knowing that there's immense pressure to produce one or multiple titles, and that a tourney upset or two could put them on the hot seat.

I wouldn't say that Calipari can only succeed with extreme talent, but I would say that it would have been hard to screw up 2012 or to not reach the final four in '15.

One thing that does annoy me is his youth excuse. Even in the OAD era, neither K nor Calipari should pull that card. They have their pick of the litter and they choose to load up with OADs. If they truly believe they're hindered by inexperience, then recruit some damn 2, 3, 4 year players. It's not that hard.

They usually have more talent sitting on the end of the bench than most schools have in their starting five.
 

Random UK Fan

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If they truly believe they're hindered by inexperience, then recruit some damn 2, 3, 4 year players. It's not that hard.

They usually have more talent sitting on the end of the bench than most schools have in their starting five.
Here’s the frustrating part; Cal left 2 possible benchwarmer freshman stay seated to enjoy the meltdown of our 23 & 24 year old super seniors.
 

I am stupid

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First, Cal isn't going to be fired nor will there be any talks between people that matter about it. He is only gone if he takes another job and why on earth would he do that with his current job/contract. I also don't want him gone.

There are reasons for UK fans to be upset. He had a great start here. Hard to ask of anything better. Comparing his first 5 and last 5 though its rough. Last 5 years we have had our WORST season ever, worst regular season loss, and worst tournament loss.

He is very condescending to fans in interviews, even though they deserve it, it upsets a lot.

I can't remember if we ever used a planned out of bounds play in his time here.

Our offense..... In game adjustments...


I can understand why people are frustrated, but he isn't getting fired.
 

Villian07

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I think it would be pretty silly to actually move on, unless you have a damn good and proven coach ready and willing. I wonder how many coaches would want the job knowing that there's immense pressure to produce one or multiple titles, and that a tourney upset or two could put them on the hot seat.

I wouldn't say that Calipari can only succeed with extreme talent, but I would say that it would have been hard to screw up 2012 or to not reach the final four in '15.

I will, the proof is in the pudding.
 

della

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First, Cal isn't going to be fired nor will there be any talks between people that matter about it. He is only gone if he takes another job and why on earth would he do that with his current job/contract. I also don't want him gone.

There are reasons for UK fans to be upset. He had a great start here. Hard to ask of anything better. Comparing his first 5 and last 5 though its rough. Last 5 years we have had our WORST season ever, worst regular season loss, and worst tournament loss.

He is very condescending to fans in interviews, even though they deserve it, it upsets a lot.

I can't remember if we ever used a planned out of bounds play in his time here.

Our offense..... In game adjustments...


I can understand why people are frustrated, but he isn't getting fired.
UK's problem was they did not have a purpose driven offense or defense.. They threw a lot of talent at ya and assumed that would be enough. Sometimes they clicked, but at the end of the day it wasn't enough.
 

Random UK Fan

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First, Cal isn't going to be fired nor will there be any talks between people that matter about it. He is only gone if he takes another job and why on earth would he do that with his current job/contract. I also don't want him gone.

There are reasons for UK fans to be upset. He had a great start here. Hard to ask of anything better. Comparing his first 5 and last 5 though its rough. Last 5 years we have had our WORST season ever, worst regular season loss, and worst tournament loss.

He is very condescending to fans in interviews, even though they deserve it, it upsets a lot.

I can't remember if we ever used a planned out of bounds play in his time here.

Our offense..... In game adjustments...


I can understand why people are frustrated, but he isn't getting fired.
You make great points, and I’m not saying I want him gone out of frustration or anger. My feelings are based more on the fact that he was a pioneer with the OAD system which was “effective” the first few years, but then those same 4-5 super talents dispersed across several schools which helped no one in particular consistently.

Cal was great when he was exploiting that, but the top recruits these days aren’t even close to the talent they were 6-7 years ago. I would rather take a chance with a motivating, gymrat coach than stay with a fruitless M.O. Not a lot of emotion involved in it for me, it’s just we could get continued losses to rivals and tourney flameouts with someone willing to honestly evaluate and adapt to the CBB landscape in general, and maybe at half the pay.
 

I am stupid

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Also to add to my earlier post.. Robert Morris, we didn't have a shoot around pregame, I haven't seen him(I thought this was hilarious myself).
 
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Steelers2012

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First of all, props to the UK posters for being here and facing the commentary after last night’s loss.

Below is a comparison of John Calipari’s last 7 seasons vs the final 7 seasons of UK Coach Tubby Smith. Source is KSR.

John Calipari’s last 7 years vs Tubby Smith’s final 7 years:

Calipari:

  • Record: 175-63 (.735)
  • SEC record: 91-34 (.728)
  • 2 outright SEC titles
  • 3 SEC Tournament titles
  • NCAA Tournament record: 9-5 (.643)
  • 0 Final Four appearances
  • 4 top-10 KenPom finishes (0 in top-five)
Smith:

  • Record: 228-79 (.742)
  • SEC record: 106-38 (.736)
  • 2 outright SEC titles
  • 4 SEC Tournament titles
  • NCAA Tournament record: 17-9 (.654)
  • 0 Final Four appearances
  • 6 top-10 KenPom finishes (2 in top-five)
The argument can be made that Tubby’s final 7 years, with lesser talent, were better than Calipari’s past 7 years.
Thoughts?
 

RR30

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Hard to blame Cal. He didn't miss 4 crucial FT's in a row in OT !

No but he didn't call a timeout when St. Peter's switched to a simple zone leading to a 7-0 run. Didn't call timeout when they had the ball and 20 seconds left in the game. Didn't try and mix the defense up at all. Played Keion Brooks. Etc etc etc
 

Random UK Fan

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First of all, props to the UK posters for being here and facing the commentary after last night’s loss.

Below is a comparison of John Calipari’s last 7 seasons vs the final 7 seasons of UK Coach Tubby Smith.

John Calipari’s last 7 years vs Tubby Smith’s final 7 years:

Calipari:

  • Record: 175-63 (.735)
  • SEC record: 91-34 (.728)
  • 2 outright SEC titles
  • 3 SEC Tournament titles
  • NCAA Tournament record: 9-5 (.643)
  • 0 Final Four appearances
  • 4 top-10 KenPom finishes (0 in top-five)
Smith:

  • Record: 228-79 (.742)
  • SEC record: 106-38 (.736)
  • 2 outright SEC titles
  • 4 SEC Tournament titles
  • NCAA Tournament record: 17-9 (.654)
  • 0 Final Four appearances
  • 6 top-10 KenPom finishes (2 in top-five)
The argument can be made that Tubby’s final 7 years, with lesser talent, were better than Calipari’s past 7 years.
Thoughts?
Agreed. Funny how some wanted Tubby gone for not delivering the UK standard, but will defend Cal for doing worse.
 

Demarcus Kidd-Miller

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I like Cal, a lot. He has been great for UK and has won a bunch. But I still feel like I'm ready to move on from him as a coach.

I'm just really tired of watching him go to stall ball in critical games. He tried to do it last night up 6 with 3 mins left. Instead of feeding the NPOTY, who was dominating, he lets Wheeler stand at the top of the key and dribble until there were 5-6 secs on the shot clock and got a TO or terrible shot. I'd have to rewatch, but I'm pretty sure the only two times Oscar touched the ball the last 4 or so mins was off a steal and offensive rebound. That's unacceptable to me. Same thing in 15' with Wisconsin. Towns was dominating and he has Andrew Harrison do the same. He's too stubborn to go away from it because it's won him a lot of games. But I'm tired of watching it.
 

Random UK Fan

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I like Cal, a lot. He has been great for UK and has won a bunch. But I still feel like I'm ready to move on from him as a coach.

I'm just really tired of watching him go to stall ball in critical games. He tried to do it last night up 6 with 3 mins left. Instead of feeding the NPOTY, who was dominating, he lets Wheeler stand at the top of the key and dribble until there were 5-6 secs on the shot clock and got a TO or terrible shot. I'd have to rewatch, but I'm pretty sure the only two times Oscar touched the ball the last 4 or so mins was off a steal and offensive rebound. That's unacceptable to me. Same thing in 15' with Wisconsin. Towns was dominating and he has Andrew Harrison do the same. He's too stubborn to go away from it because it's won him a lot of games. But I'm tired of watching it.
Great post. I’m not a Cal hater, just ready for a fresh look.
 

JVDBeak'em

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FWIW, my aggregate rankings had Saint Peter's as the 12th worst team in the tournament.
If we didn't have these play in games, they likely would have been a 14 seed and UK would have gotten one of the 6 16-seeds.
May not seem like a big deal, but some of those 16 seeds are some of the worst teams in the NCAA. They just got lucky and won their conference tourney.
Having a non-threatening warm up game does wonders for the nerves.
 
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F-Duke

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Losing in the first round is unacceptable at Kentucky but not a fireable offense. If it becomes a pattern and Kentucky underachieves in the next couple season, then Kentucky has every right to re-evaluate.