Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
This week: NR, Last week: 8
Last week’s results: Lost at Notre Dame 64-50, Lost to Baylor 64-55
I agree with the fact that Kentucky is not currently ranked. It is quite obvious that this year’s team faced unfair expectations before ever playing a game together.
That said, going from where it was ranked last week to out of the polls entirely is still quite the fall for UK. In fact, it’s the largest weekly drop in the AP Top 25 since expanding to that number in 1990.
Losing two games in a week—see UCLA the week before—is not a good way to hold on to a Top 25 spot, especially this early in the season. UCLA went from No. 11 to un-ranked thanks to losses to Georgetown and, inexplicably, Cal Poly at home.
In comparison to UCLA, the two games Kentucky lost aren’t totally unreasonable, despite the fact neither was ranked at the time they played the Wildcats.
UK’s first loss at Notre Dame last Thursday shouldn’t have been a huge surprise. The Irish (now No. 22) began the year in the Top 25 before a loss to St. Joseph’s. They have proven that they are extremely tough to beat at home. Syracuse—who was No. 1 when it lost its first game of the season there last year—can certainly attest to that.
The second loss of the week to Baylor on Saturday isn’t too terrible either. It came as a particular shock mainly because it came at Rupp Arena, but like Notre Dame, Baylor entered the season with fairly high expectations. The Bears were in the top 20 before losing to Colorado in the Charleston Classic a couple weeks back.
Like Kentucky, Baylor figures to get better as the season progresses, though with a more experienced backcourt it is in better position to do so more quickly. Therefore, losing to the Bears at home seems troublesome, but not necessarily the exclamation point worthy of shoving UK out of the polls entirely.
In short, the drop from No. 8 all the way out of the top 25 was harsh, but Kentucky shouldn’t have been No. 8 in the first place.