After missing the NCAA tournament for the first time under John Calipari, the Kentucky Wildcats quickly demonstrated they had little interest in the NIT, falling to Robert Morris 59-57 in Moon Township PA Tuesday night.
In the end, UK’s bad losses outweighed its good wins, especially in the wake of losing star player Nerlens Noel to injury, as they became the first defending champion to be left out of the NCAA tournament since 2010.
After a week that saw UK lose two games by a combined 47 points; and perhaps the best player in college basketball this year to a torn ACL, the Cats rebounded by holding on to defeat the Commodores 74-70 Wednesday night at Rupp Arena.
Multiple news outlets are reporting that Billy Gillispie, former coach of both Texas A&M and Kentucky, will be in attendance Saturday as UK looks to avenge its first conference home loss under John Calipari.
Without Willie Cauley-Stein, the Cats went into a hostile environment and demonstrated they are a team that can get a 20 point lead and hold it, a capability John Calipari had doubted earlier in the week.