Kentucky looking for right blend after dropping from rankings

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,College,Jeffrey Tomik

After suffering its third loss of the season, and second in a row, Kentucky (4-3) dropped out of the Associated Press' top 25 college basketball poll for the first time since John Calipari became its coach.

The Wildcats' three losses -- to Duke, Notre Dame and Baylor -- are already more than they had all of last season when they went 38-2 and won the national championship.

Since becoming Kentucky's coach in 2009, Calipari has done a masterful job of replacing NBA lottery picks with a top recruiting class.

But maybe he finally has run into a group that won't live up to lofty expectations or more importantly aren't able to blend well together.

The 2011-12 squad was led by a selfless superstar (Anthony Davis), a couple key holdovers from the previous season (Doron Lamb and Terrence Jones) and a freshman with the top motor in the country (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist). It was the perfect blend.

But this year's team doesn't seem to fit as well.

Top prospect and possible No. 1 overall draft pick Nerlens Noel is not Anthony Davis. Freshmen Archie Goodwin and Alex Poythress have proven they're talented -- both average more than 15 points and five rebounds a game -- but just because they're still on pace to being NBA lottery picks doesn't mean they are ready to elevate the Wildcats to a championship level.

Kentucky is one of the most talented teams in the country -- just not one of the 25 best right now.

- Jeffrey Tomik

jtomik@washingtonexaminer.com

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Jeffrey Tomik

Sports editor
The Washington Examiner