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Are Kentucky Fans Turning On John Calipari?

It would take a lot, but hard losing may do it

CBS Sports Classic - North Carolina vs Kentucky
CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 19: Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts during the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on December 19, 2020 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Tar Heels defeated the Wildcats 75-63.
Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Up until lately, John Calipari has basically been broadly loved and admired by Kentucky fans. And why not?

He’s recruited brilliantly, he’s made deep runs in the NCAA Tournament and won the national title in 2011-12 behind Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, still one of our all-time favorite leaders in college basketball.

Yet there’s always been an undercurrent of unrest, muted by success to be sure, but always there.

It popped up when Calipari said that Draft Day was the most important day to the program. Well, not to a lot of the fans who prefer championships.

And it popped up repeatedly with some older Kentucky fans who didn’t necessarily like the one-and-done philosophy Calipari developed.

This year, we believe the entire roster was new except for one player.

Winning suppressed those issues as it tends to do. They never really went away though.

And now, with the ultimate sin of losing, fans are freely expressing discontent. Take this guy over at for example.

He cites three specific problems:

  • No longer relating to the fans
  • Stubborness
  • Exodus of players

But all of these came to the fore because of Kentucky losing and losing badly. The fans will tolerate many things and many sins. Losing is not one of them. If Calipari doesn’t turn this around, and fast, things are going to get ugly in Lexington. And given his record of dealing with criticism and pressure, that might not go very well.