It’s conference time, league play has begun. The Cats opened up the SEC season with a 79-64 home victory over South Carolina. They played well enough. There were times when they were on the verge of really blowing the game open. Then they would allow the Gamecocks to sort of hang around without posing a serious threat before finally winning going away. But again, that game was at Rupp Arena, where the Cats are pretty much invincible. Coach Cal has yet to taste defeat at 430 W. Vine St.
But now the time has come to really roll up those sleeves extra tight, pull them on up over the shoulders and let those delts show, or just make a cutoff tee out of the shirt and get it over with. It’s time for SEC road games. Things didn’t go well away from Rupp for UK last season. To take a not so nice look back, check the link, http://hardyboysportsblog.com/2011/01/22/road-sour-road/. The 10-5 Auburn Tigers and Calipari disciple Tony Barbee await the Cats on the Plains in the first conference road test.
It won’t be a matter of if adversity strikes, it will be a matter of when, and it will be interesting to see how the team handles it. That’s just the way life is on the road, Florida and Georgetown both lost their conference openers at Tennessee and West Virginia respectively. Providence dismantled Louisville by 31 last night. The adversity may visit UK in this game tonight, it may not, but sooner or later it’s coming. The atmosphere won’t be as raucous tonight in Auburn as it was at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, but the Cats will get Auburn’s best shot. Have they learned from the loss to the Hoosiers? How will the freshmen handle themselves? These are just a few questions that will soon be answered.
Based on his track record in his short time as a Wildcat, I think Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be just fine. No offense to Mr. Mathieu down in Baton Rouge but MKG has a little “Honey Badger” in his game too. He’s aggressive, intense, he isn’t afraid to stick his nose in and mix it up. He plays much bigger on the boards than his 6”7″ frame would indicate that he would. We all saw the Louisville game. Nuff said.
The big fella, Anthony Davis, will be fine too. I think he will just do what he does, barring early foul trouble. He will have more than his fair share of blocks, boards, and dunks. I just want to see the veterans who’ve been through this grind before step up and be there consistently as well. Lamb will be fine, Terrence Jones needs to build on what he did Saturday, and if Darius could just have a fraction of MKG’s aggressiveness. . .
I get the feeling that things will go smoother on the road in the SEC this year. I’m not saying the Cats will go 8-0, but I have a hard time seeing them go 2-6 again. The wait is almost over, time to get to work.
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