There aren’t many programs in the country, if any, that can match the level of talent that the Kentucky Wildcats roll out each college basketball season, year in and year out.
But when it comes to experience, that’s a different conversation. And the No. 10 ranked Wildcats’ inexperience showed in their 76-64 loss to unranked Richmond on Sunday.
Kentucky has become known as the premier one-and-done factory in college basketball over the last decade under head coach John Calipari, and this year’s team is continuing the trend.
Kentucky started four freshmen and a senior transfer, Olivier Sarr, against the Spiders.
Six Wildcats played at least 15 minutes and none of them played a game for Kentucky last season.
That proved to be a recipe for disaster against Richmond, which was picked to win the A-10 conference in the preseason coaches poll.
The Spiders also started four seniors and one sophomore, a stark contrast from the Kentucky roster.
Kentucky brought in yet another elite recruiting class this season, with six players ranked in the top 60 players, highlighted by freshman wings Brandon Boston Jr. and Terrence Clarke.
Both players combined to score 35 points, but it took them a combined 30 shots, on top of tallying six collective turnovers to just three assists.
As a team, Kentucky didn’t make a single three-pointer.
Richmond shot 79 percent from the free throw line compared to Kentucky’s 61 percent, while the Spiders also won the turnover battle, only committing 10 to Kenctucky’s 21.
Those are the signs of a more experienced and poised team.
It’s still early, with Sunday representing only the second game of the season for the Wildcats.
So maybe this shouldn’t be classified as an upset for the Spiders. They might just be the better team at this current point in the year.
But it’s a long season, and Kentucky will have plenty of time to right the ship.
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