UK Desperate for Wiggins, Randle and Gordon After Missing 2013 NCAA Tournament

Bobby ReaganFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2013

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 15:  Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats gestures from the sidelines in the second half against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the Quarterfinals of the SEC basketball tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 15, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Kentucky basketball will not defend it's national championship this year. 

After being denied a bid to the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats still have one more championship to defend. That is the recruiting championship Kentucky seems to have won every year since John Calipari has taken over.

With a dominant recruiting class lined up for next season already, it can still grow. Names like Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle and Andrew Wiggins still remain undecided and have Kentucky in their final list of schools. 

After missing out on the NCAA tournament—blame whoever you want for that—Calipari will make sure he wins the offseason again. For the first time since Calipari came to Lexington, he needs to. Sure, it may sound greedy since Kentucky already has signed the fourth, fifth, 10th, 13th and 18th ranked players from the 2013 class. 

When it comes down to it though, the players from this year's squad showed that they weren't talented or cohesive enough to win games and get Kentucky into March Madness. It will be near impossible to not make the tournament if Kentucky can sign a combination of Randle, Gordon and Wiggins. 

It won't matter if anyone returns from this year's team either. Calipari has routinely recruited the best players, regardless of position and who was already on the team. Taking a look at who is signed for next year already, Calipari has brought in two shooting guards in the top 10 and two centers in the top 18. 

There's no reason to think Calipari will pull the reins back on the remaining big three names. He not only wants them to come to Lexington, he needs them to help keep the heat off his back after this past season. 

More importantly, Calipari needs to maintain the happiness of Big Blue Nation. Kentucky fans are very in the moment and constantly ask "what have you done for me lately?" It's the reason Tubby Smith was run out of town, and while Calipari is in a different class than Smith, the Wildcats never played in the NIT under Tubby. 

If Calipari is able to get one of the three top-six players left, fans will immediately forget about the 2012-13 season and start talking about winning a second title in three years. 

Make your picks for the 2013 NCAA Tournament here with the Bracket Challenge Game