Arkansas starts four seniors, but oddly, no one on their roster has beaten Kentucky, a fact that took even John Calipari by surprise on this morning’s SEC Coaches Teleconference. The Razorbacks beat Kentucky twice in the 2013-14 season, but have lost the last five in the series, meaning they could be especially hungry tomorrow night.
“You’re telling me something in numbers and facts I did not know,” Cal said. “It’ll be a hard one. Again, they’re starting four seniors; we’re starting five freshmen. It’s going to be a hard game for us. Again, it’s another chance to learn and grow and see where we are.”
Like every game Kentucky plays on the road, Bud Walton Arena will be rocking. The Cats’ win over Alabama gave them a little momentum, but Calipari is eager to see if his team carries that over to another hostile road environment. Arkansas has only lost one game at home this season, a freakish 21-point drubbing by LSU back on January 10.
“I’m just concerned about us being in a mode, a desperate mode,” Cal said. “I’m worried about us watching and just saying, okay. Are we moving now into the roles we’ve defined for every player? Are guys accepting how they individually have to play for their team? Are they losing themselves in the team? If they’re not playing great individually, is that really affecting their team play? Stuff that, at this point in the year, you have to get by. You have to get by all that stuff.
“My team is getting better. I don’t know what that means going into Arkansas. Like they said, it’s a sellout, it’s cup night, red out, white out, whatever they’ll have. They’ll have students hanging out the night before, sleeping in tents. That’s what happens to us. We understand they’re going to play as good as they’ve played. They’re not going to give us the game, so we have to go try to take a game vs. seniors. It’s a hard task. All we’re doing is, they’re rolling into the way they individually have to play. It’s been encouraging and now we’ll see where we are on the road in this kind of environment.”