Kentucky falls out of the Top 25

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 03, 2012
Calipari
Kentucky coach John Calipari's latest group of talented freshmen may have gotten a needed wake-up call on Monday: The defending champs fell out of the Top 25. The Wildcats opened the season ranked No. 3, dropped to No. 8 and after back-to-back losses to unranked Notre Dame and Baylor, their 61-poll run ended. The stretch included 11 weeks at No. 1 under Calipari. The coach hasn't seen the kind of commitment needed to get better but says there's nothing wrong that more gym time can't correct. Calipari has often said this freshmen class needs more time to develop than their predecessors. Kentucky's 4-3 and Calipari wants his team to put in the work to improve. But he says he's not seeing many gym rats on his roster right now. ''I keep telling you, we have a long way to go,'' Calipari said Monday. ''Individual players have to fall in love with that gym. They haven't yet. So, do they have to keep falling until they realize that because you have Kentucky across your chest that it makes them play harder. It doesn't give you any kind of edge.'' Calipari said last year's title squad was frequently in the gym, and not just when it was time for practice. He's waiting for that same enthusiasm from the Wildcats' current roster that he said hasn't spent ''one day'' in there on their own. The coach said the failure to put in extra effort has shown up in recent games. The Wildcats haven't been able to impose their defensive will on opponents or make adjustments when things aren't going well. And since they haven't shot the ball well in their last two games (40 of 118, including just 8 of 36 from 3-point range), they have managed to score just 50 and 55 points in those contests. It added up to a quick exit from college basketball's penthouse. According to STATS LLC, they are the highest-ranked team to fall out of the poll in one week since it expanded to 25 in 1989-90 season. And on top of that, the loss to Baylor on Saturday ended the Wildcats' 54-game winning streak at Rupp Arena, which was the nation's longest active run. How they lost to the Bears was especially frustrating for Kentucky. The Wildcats cut a 10-point second half deficit to three but never got closer in the final five minutes. They had their chances, but didn't match the Bears' physicality. For Calipari, whose teams have a reputation being physical, that was unacceptable. He has made that clear to his players. ''We've just got to be more competitive and work harder than the other team,'' Kentucky freshman forward Archie Goodwin. ''That's something historically his teams have done. Watching those teams growing up and watching how they play, I can see the difference in the way that they play and how tough they are. Compared to our team right now, that's something we have to work on.'' The work began Sunday. The Wildcats put in two hard practices preparing for Tuesday night's game against Samford (2-7). There was a lot of running, which they've had to do a lot of with all the disappointment early on. But the players said one thing different about the workouts was making each other more accountable. ''If somebody made a mistake, we ran as a whole team,'' freshman center Willie Cauley-Stein said. ''We ended up running a lot of suicides.'' Before the workouts the Wildcats held a players-only meeting in which they discussed what needs to change in order for them to get on track. Goodwin said it was mainly to make sure everyone's on the same page. Cauley-Stein, sophomore forward Kyle Wiltjer, freshman forward Alex Poythress and guard Julius Mays, a graduate student, deleted their Twitter accounts to help them get focused after an influx of negative comments following Saturday's loss. ''You can't say what you want to say on it anyway since it's all monitored,'' Cauley-Stein said. ''It was a lot more fun having Twitter as a high school kid.'' Calipari, who said fans should criticize him instead, was surprised to hear about the players meeting. It could be a sign that his young players are willing to take some initiative. Unlike last year's squad, with which freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist took on a leadership role, the Wildcats still are seeking that Type-A personality. Calipari warned that that leader might not emerge until February. ''Eventually someone will step up,'' he said. ''I'm still learning about the team and what it needs from me and what I need to instill in it.''
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The History of the hoagie: A Philadelphia staple in 11 images
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Antonio Brown apologizes for airing locker room video

Oregon WR defends coaches, blames 'out of shape' teammates

Report: 49ers plan to offer Kyle Shanahan head coaching job

Report: Timberwolves shopping Ricky Rubio in trade talks

Blue Jays, Jose Bautista reportedly agree to one-year deal with mutual option

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Lynn swears after saying ‘San Diego Chargers’ during presser

Bo Jackson gets worried watching Cam Newton take hits

Report: Steelers WR Martavis Bryant applied for reinstatement

Is the NBA considering pulling the plug on sleeved jerseys?

Ezekiel Elliott named Rookie of the Year by PFWA

Rory McIlroy takes shots at ex-girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

Melo out: How the Knicks can move on from their superstar

Box Score 1/17: LeBron goes boom

The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 1

The week in NFL news as explained by Heart

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

The Mulligan: Why Chip Kelly deserves a second chance after the Niners

College coaches on the NFL's radar as the coaching carousel starts spinning

Five NBA teams that should not be counted out yet

Six hottest up-and-coming NFL teams for 2017

Best of Yardbarker: How to hop on NFL playoff bandwagons

Everything sports fans need to know about the Nintendo Switch

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA hotline bling: Derrick Rose gets disconnected

Melo out: How the Knicks can move on from their superstar

QUIZ: Name the quarterbacks drafted in the 2003 NFL draft ahead of Tony Romo

The 2017 Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot, Part 1

The week in NFL news as explained by Heart

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

QUIZ: Name every Pittsburgh Steelers Defensive Pro-Bowler in the Super Bowl Era

Best of Yardbarker: How to hop on NFL playoff bandwagons

Everything sports fans need to know about the Nintendo Switch

The sports classic horror villains would play

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker