Kentucky’s purrfect season

Conrad Newton

In sports, the greatest legacy a team can achieve is the coveted perfect season. This year Kentucky has a shot at joining that elite group.

The Miami Dolphins did it for the first time in 1972 despite valiant efforts like the Patriots in 2007, who lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl, the Dolphins are still the only team in NFL history to go all the way without losing a single game.

In most sports this feat is highly improbable. Win an 82-game regular season, the NBA has never had a perfect season. The Chicago Bulls were the closest with a record of 72-10 in the 1995-96 season. In the NHL, the longest undefeated streak is 35, achieved by the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers.

Only four teams in NCAA basketball history have gone undefeated. The last time this happened was 1976 when the Indiana Hoosiers went undefeated through both the regular season and tournament with a final record of 32-0.

In the last 20 years only two teams have had a perfect regular season, including last year’s Wichita State Shockers who went a perfect 34-0 in the regular season but lost to Kentucky in the round of 32 in the NCAA tournament. Kentucky later went on to lose in the championship game against UConn.

With the most wins at 2,169 and tied for most championship appearances at 12, the Kentucky Wildcats are already considered one of the greatest college basketball teams ever. Coach John Calipari is continuing the legacy, and this year is no exception.

When they beat eighth-ranked Kansas by 32 points early in the season, Kentucky showed that this team once again was on top. With most of their tough matchups out of the way, the Wildcats are in an ideal position to win the rest of their games. Additionally, with no other power houses in the Southeastern Conference, Kentucky most likely won’t lose before the NCAA tournament.

With what many consider the greatest depth of talent in NCAA basketball history, Kentucky has a real chance to accomplish what hasn’t been done in more than three decades. While Kentucky is playing better than ever, this team didn’t emerge this season out of nowhere. Kentucky has been to the NCAA championship twice in the last three years under coach Calipari, and as a result of having the best recruiting class in the nation over the last several years, Kentucky currently has nine five-star recruits on its current roster.

Calipari’s 13 first-rounders in his first four years as Kentucky head coach make observers ask an obvious question: “How does Calipari manage to attract so many talented players?” Because of the current one-and-done policy of collegiate basketball, many top prospects don’t even pretend to care about their education. Calipari doesn’t seem to care either because every year he gets a fresh batch of top of the line freshman talent. He seems to realize the current way of collegiate athletics, which is characterized by athletes who attend school simply to play sports and pay no attention to schoolwork.

For better or worse, Calipari has created a monster of a team that will no doubt be remembered for a long time. Chances are they won’t win the whole thing because going undefeated in the regular season often foreshadows a devastating tournament loss. With no other team even as remotely talented as the Kentucky Wildcats, however, they just might make history.