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Things Are Getting Tense For Kentucky

As the fans continue to sour on John Calipari

South Carolina v Kentucky
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY - JANUARY 10: Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats reacts after a play during the first half in the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Rupp Arena on January 10, 2023 in Lexington, Kentucky.
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Like any sport, there are always interesting situations and dramas in college basketball. The unsavory Chris Beard situation at Texas springs to mind quickly.

But the situation at Kentucky is likely to be the most compelling drama of this season.

If you haven’t been keeping up, fans have been growing more and more unhappy with UK coach John Calipari and it’s not recent. The SEC is growing far more competitive. There have been no Final Fours lately, UK hasn’t even won an NCAA tournament game since 2018-19, and losing to Saint Peter’s in the tournament last spring was a serious blow to Calipari’s relationship with Kentucky fans.

Recently Kentucky lost at Alabama and the fans treated him to an “NIT! NIT! NIT!” chant.

And Wednesday, Kentucky lost at home - to 8-8 South Carolina. The Gamecocks, mind you, are in the first year of the Lamont Paris era. He might turn out to be a brilliant hire - who knows at this point - but losing to South Carolina at home is not going to go over well.

None of this is.

In fact, a fan was ejected Tuesday after holding up a sign urging Calipari to “please go to Texas” to replace the recently fired Beard.

Kentucky is now 10-6 and 1-3 in the SEC, currently good for 12th place.

Calipari has a tremendous recruiting class coming in - DJ Wagner, Aaron Bradshaw, Justin Edwards and Rob Dillingham - which might change things. On the other hand, he generally does have a tremendous recruiting class and it hasn’t changed the bottom line: Kentucky fans are getting restless. Any coach there is riding a tiger. Can Calipari maintain his balance? Maybe, but when the fans are suggesting you leave, it’s not a good sign.