Wildcats look to extend home win streak
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
STATS Senior Writer
Kentucky is 44-0 at home under John Calipari, and it'll be putting that mark on the line against contrasting opponents this week.
The second-ranked Wildcats look to stretch their win streak to 10 games Tuesday night when they host an Arkansas team that is winless on the road.
Kentucky (17-1, 3-0 SEC) is back home for the first time since a 79-64 win over South Carolina on Jan. 7 in its SEC opener. The Wildcats defeated Auburn and Tennessee in their next two games.
Now, Calipari's team faces the uptempo style of Arkansas (13-4, 2-1) followed by Saturday's visit by Alabama. The coach is eager to see how the Wildcats respond.
"One team, when we play Arkansas, is going to play a hectic, frenetic (style) with traps and push it up and down and run a motion," Calipari said. "And then the other team (Alabama) is going to, in the half court, absolutely physically defend."
The Wildcats' 10-game win streak over the Razorbacks ended with a 77-76 overtime road loss last season. Arkansas has dropped eight straight at Rupp Arena and shot 34.7 percent in going 0-3 on the road this season.
Coach Mike Anderson is trying to remain upbeat with his team as it tries to pull off the upset.
"I think one of the things is you've just got to give yourself a chance to make it happen," Anderson said. "The way you do that is you've got to be within striking distance. You've got to hang around."
Anderson's style of play is similar to what mentor Nolan Richardson employed during his tenure at Arkansas. It's a system best served by tremendous athletes, and the Razorbacks coach likes what he sees from Kentucky forward Terrence Jones.
"You just know his potential is very unlimited," Anderson said. "He's a tremendous power forward who can go inside, but he has the versatility that he can come out and he can do things on the perimeter."
Calipari, however, felt Jones and other Wildcats were outmuscled in Saturday's 65-62 win over the Volunteers. Jones had 10 points while Darius Miller and Doron Lamb combined to make 2 of 11 shots for eight.
The Wildcats coach wants more support for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis, who combined for 35 points.
"We need the other guys, they gotta step up and ball," Calipari said. "I mean for us to win on the road with Darius and Doron going 2 for 11 and literally throwing balls at the rim, thinking they were going to get hot, 2 for 11 and Terrence showed signs but they roughed him up and we still win. Think about that."
Kentucky is averaging 79.3 points for second in the SEC while Arkansas is third at 76.9.
"I think for the fans that are there in attendance and hopefully the fans that are watching, it should be a great game where two teams are just going to go after each other," Anderson said.
Arkansas bounced back from its first SEC loss with Saturday's 69-60 home win over LSU. Reserve guard B.J. Young had a team-high 19 points.