It's been a difficult two seasons for John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats, who couldn't make it out of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament for the second straight year after losing to No. 3 Kansas State on Sunday.

It's been four years since Kentucky Basketball has played in a Sweet 16, and Calipari spoke on the disappointment and frustration of another poor campaign.

“I understand what this program is about,” Calipari said after the 75-69 loss to the Wildcats, according to ESPN's David Hale. “That's what makes it what it is, and that's why I tell players, it's not for everybody because expectations are so high.

My concern are these kids, and I tried to keep [those expectations] off of them. Obviously, with a couple, maybe I didn't do as good a job as I thought I did. I wanted them to just play, have fun, enjoy the experience.”

Kentucky was ranked as high as No. 4 this season, but “late struggles and an SEC tournament loss to Vanderbilt doomed the Wildcats to a 6-seed in the NCAA tournament,” wrote Hale on Monday.

After a 61-53 victory over No. 11 Providence in the Round of 64, Kentucky's star players were quiet in the second round: Antonio Reeves shot 1-for 15, while Jacob Toppin scored just two points on 1-of-7 shooting.

Although Calipari tried to deflect blame from his top players, he admits that the immense expectations on Kentucky Basketball may have factored into some of his stars' struggles.

“This is what happened in certain games,” John Calipari explained. “You don't have to make them all, you just can't miss them all. And we've had games like that…You needed one more guy to go get baskets and play with that swagger you have to have in this tournament.”

Kentucky made the Elite Eight in 2019, but after the 2020 tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19, the Wildcats didn't make it to the 2021 iteration. They were upset as a No. 2 seed last season by No. 15 Saint Peter's in the Round of 64 last year.

John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats are going home early again in 2023.