Taking the Show On the Road

MKG's game is mature, wise beyond his years. photo:kentucky.com

It’s that time again.  Mid January, the out of conference tune ups are done, the tough out of conference games are done, the preseason tournament games are done.  Teams have been working hard all season long.  But now it’s time to roll up their sleeves and really get to work.

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.

Agree, disagree, agree to disagree?  It doesn’t matter.  Feel free to leave a comment below, or on the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/Hardyboysportsblog, or on Twitter @VinnyHardy.

About the Author

My name is Vinny Hardy. I am a freelance sports blogging correspondent for the John Boy & Billy Big Show. I'm from Lynch Kentucky. I currently live in Morristown, Tennessee. My wife Katie and I have been married for 10 years and we have a 3 year old son, Micah. I would like to thank Will West of WNML in Knoxville for urging me to start blogging and the Big Show's very own Terry Hanson for his unbelievable mentoring and support. Without him absolutely none of this is possible. I hope you enjoy the blog. The articles can also be seen on theisn.net, check out that site too. Leave a comment and definitely come back regularly and see what's new.