After a shocking UNC loss to UNLV this weekend, the Cats assumed the roll of the nation’s top team on Monday. As the polls rolled out, Kentucky was at the top of the list in both the AP and Coaches polls.
Kentucky has two huge games on the horizon with St. John’s on Thursday, and then the old number one squad, now the fifth ranked team in the nation, comes to Lexington for a colossal match up between two of the winningest programs in the sport.
With the number one ranking bestowed upon such a young and inexperienced bunch, the target on their back will be bigger now more than ever. It will be interesting to see how this group responds. They have started out slowly in almost every game they have played to this point, only to have a strong second half to send them to a perfect record. With the ranking, it will be interesting to see how much pressure these young guys put on themselves.
It could be entirely possible that these guys don’t care. It could be possible that they are too young and dumb to realize what that means. For their sake, I hope that is the case. Fans expect them to play at that level all of the time, and once they get there, they better stay.
It’s very likely that there will be bumps in the road, and if Cal had his way, it’s likely that he would like to see his team lose a game or two with an eye on the bigger picture. He loves to talk his team down when others give them praise. He knows he still has a lot of work to do with his team before he gets them to where he would like them to be. A loss to a team like UNC would not hurt them at all and would be a great opportunity for Cal to teach and make a point to his team. Does he want them to lose? No, but he wouldn’t be very upset about it at this point in the season.
It sure is nice, at any time, to be recognized as the best in the country, though. No matter when it is during the season, it is nice for others to appreciate your team. While it means very little to Calipari, it means a great to the Big Blue Nation.