Kentucky will travel to South Bend this weekend to play their first true road game in about two seasons. Traveling to an opposing site, with full crowds, against a team that could beat you. Let me be clear, Notre Dame isn't good enough to beat Kentucky, but when you factor in the sold out game, an arena full of Notre Dame fans, and a rowdy environment, that becomes the ultimate recipe for an upset.
It will be interesting to see how this team responds to being in a different environment, a true road game environment, and if it will make or break them. Thankfully this team is full of veterans who have plenty of experience doing so, but, we should probably keep eyes on the freshmen, in specific TyTy Washington. One because he will get them majority of the minutes out of our freshman class, but also because he struggled against Duke in New York. Now the Duke game was a neutral site and not a true road game, but he did seem to struggle during that moment and we have to recognize it. If he comes out and plays great against Notre Dame, then I think we can just squash that and blame it on it being his first collegiate game. If he struggles in (South Bend) Indiana, then I believe we have something to start discussing. Playing in road environments are polar opposite than playing in the silent-clapping of Rupp Arena. If you want to be great, you have to be able to play in either of the atmospheres. He will be tested this Saturday night.
John Calipari was asked what he expects it to be like playing in a true road environment for the first time in two seasons. “Well, it’ll be a typical environment that we get. It’s the game that they mark on their calendar. It’s the game they’re excited to play. My guess is, if you look at every team we play on the road, their highest attended game will be our game. Like, it’s just what it is. It’s playing here; that’s what makes it unique. It’s special, and, you know, winning on the road has really significance here because you’re playing against their best, their most excited, their most engaged and their laser focus. That’s who you’re playing against. I would expect the same. The tape that I’ve watched, Notre Dame, the games they lost they just missed shots that they normally make, because they’re not going to change how they play. So, I showed the guys a bunch of shots they missed in some of these games. Like, they don’t miss those, and especially at home. At home their shooting percentage is better.” Pretty much the same response he says for every road game. 'We're going to get their best effort, their best crowd, it's their Super Bowl' etc... Nothing new here.
Kentucky's trip to Notre Dame will be their first appearance back there since 2012, in which they lost 64-50 in that game. Would like to also point out that Notre Dame came to Rupp Arena last season and beat the Wildcats, 64-63. Aka DON'T LET THEM SCORE 64 AGAIN.
UK owns the all-time advantage in the series, 43-20, including a 10-6 record at Notre Dame. Tip-off will be at 5:15 pm.