Kentucky basketball has had its success under John Calipari, reaching the Elite 8, Final Four and winning a National Championship in his three seasons as head coach. The 2012-’13 Kentucky team, however, is not playing up to the level of Calipari’s previous Kentucky teams.
The Wildcats are currently unranked after losing three games (Duke, Notre Dame and Baylor). A consensus top 5 preseason team, Kentucky was clearly over-hyped from the get-go, having not had a single returning starter from last season’s National Championship team.
Tuesday night’s match-up with Samford was not supposed to be a tough contest, which is wasn’t, with Kentucky winning by 32 points. It was what Bennie Seltzer, Samford’s first year head coach said during the first half about Kentucky, that will provide the talking points from the game.
Samford coach urging his team, "this is the worst Ky team I've ever seen."
— Steve Moss (@smosswkyt) December 5, 2012
Even though Seltzer was using this for motivational reasons, saying this year’s team is the worst in Kentucky history is an overstatement. Yes, they’re not playing like a cohesive group of five-star recruits yet, but Kentucky basketball under previous coach Billy Gillispie wasn’t anything to write home about. Was Seltzer referring to the three previous Calipari led teams? If so, then he has a case.
Seltzer: "There’s no John Wall. There’s no Eric Bledsoe. There’s no DeMarcus Cousins. Those guys were high, high level."
— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_SEC) December 5, 2012
After the game, Seltzer tried to clarify what he meant by telling reporters, “I said they’re not that good. I can’t remember what else I said. It was all motivating. Letting these guys know, ‘Yeah, they’re human’ and there’s no need to go out there and be afraid.”
Kentucky forward Willie Cauley-Stein, who finished the game with a double-double, responded to the comments saying, “It’s like a slap in the face, because we’re putting in the work.” Calipari laughed at Seltzer’s comments following the game as seen below.
Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images