LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Only four home games remain for UK and Tennessee is next on the list for the Wildcats.
John Calipari is hoping the fans who enter Rupp Arena give the Cats a distinct home-court advantage. "I'm not listening to hear fans with the loudness, but I know what that building is and what it stands for when our fans are really into the game.”
The Wildcats are 17-6 and every time they go out on to the court it’s a dogfight. “We are getting everyone's best shot,” said the Cats’ coach. “If you can sustain it, and learn from it, and grow from it, you can get your act together, and you will be ready for the end of the year."
The Vols come into Rupp arena ranked 15th, Tennessee’s highest rating versus Kentucky while playing in Rupp since February of 2010.
Rocky top is ranked in the top 10 defensively, but offensively is where John Calipari has been extremely impressed with how Tennessee passes the ball. The Cats didn’t pass much against Mizzou.
Cal wants his team to emulate the way Tennessee shares the call. "They are scoring points because they are efficient. They are not scoring by coming down and jacking balls. The other thing I like that they are doing is their assist to made basket ratio. It’s probably one of the top in the country.”
“They will have 25 assists on 30 made baskets. That's great. That's team basketball, and that's creating for each other, and it's making the game easy for each other.”
The veteran coach has preached all year about the process of growth for this young team. Now is the time UK teams typically come into their own, and after scoring a season-low 18 points in the first half against Mizzou, players say they think the Cats are about to turn the corner.
“If we're not winning we're learning,” said sophomore forward Sacha Killeya-Jones. “I think we've taken steps forward, but we've taken steps back too. It's small things that we need to really seal up on and make sure we're getting those things taken care of otherwise, we can't win games.”
Killeya Jones said UK specifically needs to improve their offense. “A couple of days ago against Missouri our defense has really taken a step that we need to get to. We held the team to 28 points in the first half. It really should've been less than that. But our offense isn't where it needs to be right now.”