Kentucky Basketball: Lack of Depth Will Continue to Hold Wildcats Back

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2012

Dec 15, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats guard Archie Goodwin (10), forward Alex Poythress (22), forward Willie Cauley-Stein (15) and guard Ryan Harrow (12) walk out of a time out during the game against the Lipscomb Bisons in the first half at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports Images

The Kentucky Wildcats outscored the Louisville Cardinals by five points in the second half on Saturday but still suffered their fourth loss of the season.

In the end, the only starters to score in double figures were Archie Goodwin and Ryan Harrow. Kyle Wiltjer contributed 14 points off the bench, but John Calipari's squad still doesn't have many places to turn for production on either end of the floor.

Kentucky only goes eight deep, and that's a problem.

There's no doubt that the Wildcats are talented. Calipari will never have a problem with that, but this year's batch of touted freshman aren't like last year's bunch.

The first-year players that Calipari currently has need experienced players to support them. Harrow and Wiltjer fit that description based on class, but neither player has faced many tribulations during their college careers.

No matter how well Goodwin, Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress or Willie Cauley-Stein play, the team still needs more talent to turn to in big moments. Louisville didn't have much depth either, but the Cardinals are also far from an offensive juggernaut. 

When the Wildcats play a more dangerous offensive team, they will need bigger contributions from guys like Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson. Julius Mays has been good at times, but he could become more consistent as well.

Kentucky made a valiant effort on Saturday, but fell just short. The team had other issues—like terrible free-throw shooting—but the Wildcats just didn't have quite enough when they needed it the most.

The Wildcats will improve as the year progresses, but it's tough to create depth. Calipari's team will struggle to make ends meet with the bodies they currently have because the group will be vulnerable to running out of gas.

It's tough to doubt this talented group of players, but even Kentucky's talented players could use a deep bench for support.