Maybe Kentucky has to rebuild rather than reload after all.
The defending national champion Wildcats fell to Baylor on Saturday while on their home court, 64-55. After a 64-50 loss to Notre Dame on Thursday, this was Kentucky's second straight loss, and the team is certainly headed for a big drop from its No. 8 ranking.
With the win, Baylor improves to 5-2 in this young season, while Kentucky now sits at just 4-3.
The Wildcats were outplayed all game, as Baylor used a solid team concept and balance to keep Kentucky at arm's length.
The Bears were paced by guard Pierre Jackson's 17 points, but they had four other players go for at least double digits.
Archie Goodwin led Kentucky with 17 points of his own, but the Wildcats, who shot just 29.2 percent from the floor, had just one other player go over double digits.
The highly touted Nerlens Noel led Kentucky in shots. However, he showed his need for polish on the offensive end, as he went just 3-of-15 and finished with eight points. Before rushing to write Noel off as a bust, though, it is worth noting that the kid grabbed 17 boards and six steals.
Kentucky's rebounding on the whole was solid and held a 46-35 edge in that department over Baylor. But the Wildcats were plagued by too many lapses and missed assignments.
Ultimately, Baylor took this game by working for more efficient shots and making the Kentucky defense look pedestrian, as it hit 40.7 percent from the floor.
This was a shocking loss for mighty Kentucky. In fact, as USA Today's Nicole Auerbach points out, it was unprecedented:
still crazy that this is Cal's first home loss at UK..— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) December 1, 2012
As ESPN notes, this snaps the longest home-win streak in the nation:
Kentucky loses at home for 1st time under John Calipari. Loss snaps UK's 55-game home win streak (was longest active streak).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 1, 2012
Meanwhile, this fan adds a little perspective, pointing out it isn't time to hit the panic button in Kentucky yet:
You gotta realize that Kentucky has a bunch of freshman playing together.Last years team was unreal. Its gonna take some time this year #BBN— Chase Tindall (@ChaseTindall) December 1, 2012
Indeed, Chase, this is a long season. These Kentucky youngsters are raw, and they may still be dangerous come tournament time.
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