After beginning the season ranked No. 4 in the AP Top 25, Kentucky failed to receive a single vote in this week's poll amid a 1-3 start to SEC play marked by an embarrassing 78-52 loss at Alabama on Saturday which was followed by a 71-68 loss to South Carolina on Tuesday that snapped a 28-game winning streak at Rupp Arena for the Wildcats. At No. 46 in the NET with an 0-4 record in Quad 1 games, the Wildcats are a profound disappointment after returning national player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe along with other key players such as Sahvir Wheeler and Jacob Toppin from a 26-8 team.
On the heels of a stunning upset loss to No. 15 seed Saint Peter's in the first round of last year's NCAA Tournament, frustration with 14th-year coach John Calipari is at an all-time high within the UK fanbase. The program's last win in the Big Dance came in 2019, and it suddenly appears as if there are no guarantees that 2023 will bring one.
But two months remain until Selection Sunday and Kentucky still has time to turn things around. Five-star freshmen Cason Wallace and Chris Livingston have each shown encouraging flashes and should only improve as the season progresses. Sharpshooting guard CJ Fredrick should also return from a finger injury at some point during league play.
The range of outcomes for the Wildcats remains vast, and the saga of Calipari's tenure reaching a critical juncture figures to capture the sport's collective attention for weeks to come. For this week's edition of the Dribble Handoff, our writers are offering their projections for how the rest of Kentucky's season will play out.