I’m done.

I’m done ever thinking that John Calipari can get back to 2010s levels at Kentucky. It’s over. Somewhere between Jack Gohlke draining a 3-pointer from Yonkers and Gohlke draining a 3-pointer from Philadelphia, Calipari’s last shot to make this work at Kentucky came and went in an unfathomable Round of 64 loss in Pittsburgh.

This wasn’t Saint Peter’s. It was worse.

It was worse because losing to Oakland, AKA the program that had never advanced to the Round of 32 before Thursday night, was the end. That’s it. It’s done.

If you’re still making excuses for Calipari, you’re on an island. That’s not directed at UK fans. They know it. National pundits who swoop in and assume the worst about fans of a blue-blood program don’t get it. They should now.

Calipari has lost his ability to do this at an elite level. It’s not just that he lost a game in the NCAA Tournament, or that his team didn’t start knocking down 3-pointers until it was too late. It’s that he’ll enter 2025 having won just 1 SEC Tournament game and 1 NCAA Tournament game in the 2020s.

It didn’t matter that he had the National Player of the Year, Oscar Tshiebwe, who then returned and still didn’t even take part in a Kentucky team that made it to the second weekend. It didn’t matter that Calipari had the No. 1 recruiting class in the country for 2023, which was supposed to be the only comforting thought of winning exactly 1 NCAA Tournament game with a player of Tshiebwe’s caliber.

Nope. Another year, another embarrassing ending for Kentucky. Zero SEC Tournament wins, zero NCAA Tournament wins.

Calipari got out-coached by Greg Kampe in every way. The former had his freshman sensation, Reed Sheppard, playing like he was about to lose his scholarship if he made a mistake. The latter had his 24-year-old future YMCA hooper playing like he was throwing a rock into the ocean.

Speaking of that, you would’ve thought that Gohlke invented the pump fake the way that Calipari’s team reacted to him in the first half. Like, a first half that included 7 of his NCAA record 10 3-pointers. By “record,” that’s the most 3s ever made against Kentucky in an NCAA Tournament game. Then again, perhaps we should’ve expected that from a team that struggled to defend all year, most recently against an A&M team that made 11-of-26 3-pointers.

But think about this: Remember when it felt like Kentucky bounced back after losing that wild finish against LSU? In the 7 games since then, UK allowed an average of 12.6 made 3-pointers and teams shot 45% from deep. Where were the adjustments? How is it that with all of that length and athleticism that UK let that happen?

March is madness. But watching Calipari do this year after year has become madness.

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Knowing Calipari, he’ll probably cite the facilities as to why his team lost to a school that the casual college basketball fan couldn’t even identify what region of the country it hails from (Oakland is in Michigan). That’s not it. It’s not about facilities or the amount of lottery picks or NBA money Calipari will tell you about.

This is about a past-his-prime coach who has tricked us into thinking he can still do this. He can’t. Not at Kentucky.

When Calipari signed that “lifetime contract” at Kentucky in 2019, it agreed to pay him $86 million through 2029. But this 2023 excerpt from CBS Sports is interesting to ponder on the heels of yet another disastrous UK ending:

While Calipari’s 2019 deal was unprecedented in length (10 years) and financial scope ($86 million), no such automatic renewal was included. However, it does include a provision that will allow Calipari to transition into the role of “athletics director/university representative” beginning with the 2024-25 season. That position would pay Calipari $950,000 per year and continue at least until the expiration of the original 10-year contract in 2029. No such clause exists in Self’s contract.

Do I think Calipari is about to walk away and transition into the role of “athletics director/university representative?” I don’t, though that would be a dream scenario for UK at this point. Nope. Calipari still believes that he’s right there and still capable of more deep runs in March. He said as much after this loss.

He’s not, though. No roster construction, recruit, transfer portal addition, facility upgrade or whatever should make anyone think that he’s still capable of winning on this stage. His uber-talented team just showed us exactly why that’s no longer the case.

There are shades of the last days of Bob Knight at Indiana. Knight failed to reach the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament in the last 6 seasons, so he’s 2 up on Calipari. The difference is that Knight still had fans rioting on his behalf after his messy firing.

Nobody is rioting on Calipari’s behalf in Lexington anymore. They’re just waiting for this to end officially.

It’s done.