Photo by Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Now sitting on a three-game winning streak after beating the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville, the Kentucky Wildcats have built up some momentum down the stretch leading up to the SEC Tournament. They’re still just 8-13 on the year, but with three more games on the official regular season schedule, along with the possibility of “a couple games” being added the final week of the season, they could put together a fairly solid winning streak before making a run in Nashville.
“They’re in a pretty good position, but now, you’ve got to finish,” UK head coach John Calipari said during his postgame radio show. “You’ve got to play the next game, and you’ve got to play well or you get beat.”
As of today, Kentucky’s next game is currently scheduled for this Tuesday against Texas A&M at Rupp Arena, though the Aggies just postponed their sixth consecutive game, with five delays coming as a result of positive COVID-19 test results, contact tracing and subsequent quarantining of individuals within the program.
With the program still on pause, it’s not clear if A&M will be cleared in time to make a trip to Lexington in just three days. And judging by Calipari’s comments after the game, there doesn’t appear to be much optimism on Kentucky’s side of things that they will.
When asked about the possibility of adding new opponents to the schedule as he discussed Friday morning, Calipari backed away from those comments just a touch, adding that UK may just play three SEC games the final week of the season.
“Yeah (we could add new games), but the gauntlet that these kids have just been through, I’m not sure we don’t take a couple days and catch our breath,” Calipari said. “Then try to play both A&M and South Carolina both that last week where we get three games. Play at Mississippi, then two home games before our conference tournament. That’s what I’d like to do. These kids need a breath, come on. They’ve been through a gauntlet.”
With this proposal, Kentucky would not play until Saturday when the Wildcats take on the Florida Gators at Rupp Arena, followed by the team’s trip to Oxford, MS for a battle with Ole Miss on Tuesday, March 2. Then, according to Calipari’s suggestion, UK would fit in the Texas A&M and South Carolina make-up games between March 3-7, giving Kentucky four more games on the schedule.
And then from there, UK would head to Nashville the following week for the SEC Tournament, hopefully staying from March 10-14 and coming home with a conference championship trophy.
Would fans prefer a week off before two straight weeks of chaos?