By LARRY VAUGHT
John Calipari says he didn’t want his team to understand how important it was to beat Mississippi and keep the Cats in position for a double bye in the upcoming Southeastern Conference Tournament.
Now UK can earn a three seed in the tourney if it wins at Florida Saturday. Both teams are 10-7 in league play, the same mark Arkansas has going into its game Saturday night at Missouri. If UK loses and Arkansas wins, the Cats would be the No. 5 seed and not get a double bye into the SEC quarterfinals for the first time in Calipari’s nine seasons at UK.
Florida earlier won at Rupp Arena this season, something freshman point guard Quade Green has not forgotten.
“We gotta go to Florida and spank them,” Green said after scoring 18 points in Wednesday’s win over Ole Miss.
Florida beat Kentucky 66-64 in a game where it looked like UK freshman P.J. Washington was fouled when he attempted a last-second shot that would have tied the game but no call was made.
Florida has its own resurgence going. The Gators lost three straight games but have responded by beating Auburn and winning at Alabama.
Yet none of that intimidates Green, who earlier this season guaranteed a win over Louisville that UK then delivered.
“It don’t take no pressure off. We got to go in and get them. You ain’t gonna go in our house and beat us, so we got to get you back,” Green said.
One plus for UK could be that Green is playing a much bigger role now than earlier. He had 18 points, four assists and two steals against Ole Miss and continued his solid floor play with jus tone turnover.
“We got one for them. It’s going to be a war. It’s on the back of our minds. It starts now,” Green said.