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For UK, A Road Win Would Be Nice, But It’s Not A Necessity

Wednesday is being called a big night for the Kentucky Wildcats.  Fresh off a homecourt trouncing of South Carolina last weekend, it’s time for John Calipari’s team to prove that it can survive — and win — in an opponent’s gym. 

Kentucky is a better team than Arkansas.  The Cats have more talent on their roster.  But that didn’t help when UK traveled to Ole Miss or Alabama.  And it hasn’t helped as the Cats have stumbled to a 1-5 mark on the road in SEC play.  Kentucky, in fact, has fewer road wins than every other SEC East team.

“Maybe we just go out there and we’re not as confident on the road,” center Josh Harrellson told The Louisville Courier-Journal.  “We lost a couple of road games early and that just kind of gets to you, especially when it’s a close game.”

Most fans and writers in the Bluegrass State would tell you that things have to change and Wednesday’s game at Arkansas is the perfect place to shift gears.  But are UK’s road woes really that serious?

Kentucky is 3-6 in true road games this season.  Their losses came at North Carolina (by 2 points), at Georgia (by 7 points), at Alabama (by 2 points), at Ole Miss (by 2 points), at Florida (by 2 points) and at Vanderbilt (by 4 points).  It’s not like Cal’s Cats aren’t showing up in these games.  They’re close.

Winning at Arkansas would be nice for UK’s confidence and certainly the Wildcat fanbase would rejoice in a breakthrough road win.  But in the long run, it’s unlikely that the Wildcats’ road woes will hurt them.

When the SEC and NCAA tournaments roll around, Kentucky fans will once again travel en masse to wherever the Cats happen to be playing.  After the trip to Fayetteville and one to Knoxville next week, UK will be playing on neutral courts (where they’re 2-1 this season with their only loss coming to UConn).  Of course, none of those courts will actually be neutral.  Wherever the Big Blue goes, the Big Blue Nation will take over in the stands.

Wednesday’s game is a big one for tournament seeding and perhaps for confidence, but it’s not a do-or-die game in terms of future NCAA success.  And NCAA success is really all that will matter in Lexington next month. 

Fans and media love to toss around the tag “must win game.”  It’s easy.  It’s fun.  But in this case, that’s not what UK is facing.  Yes, the Cats would like to win, but after next Saturday, the Cats won’t have to worry about hostile crowds anymore.



  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by PetAgree Friends, KY Sports Network. KY Sports Network said: KSN "Around the Web" For UK, A Road Win Would Be Nice, But It’s Not A Necessity: Wednesday is being called a big… [...]

  2. [...] road record to Fayetteville on Wednesday. A win would be good, but not a necessity, argues Mr. SEC. John Pennington writes, “Most fans and writers in the Bluegrass State would tell you that things have to change and [...]

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