Big week ahead for the Wildcats

Kentucky hoping to continue a push toward an NCAA tournament number one seed with a pair of SEC ranked opponents visiting Rupp Arena this week.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky is riding a 10-game win streak into perhaps its most important week of the SEC regular season. The Wildcats are 9-1 in the league, tied with LSU and a game behind Tennessee in the SEC standings with four weeks to go. They host LSU Tuesday. They host Tennessee Saturday. A week to make a strong push toward a possible number one seed in the NCAA tournament. 

“It’s a big week for us," said Freshman guard Tyler Herro.  "Not trying to look ahead, so tomorrow’s obviously the biggest game right now. Just go into that game with as much focus as we’ve had all year, hopefully get that W and focus in for Tennessee.”

The Wildcats are coming off a 71-67 win at Mississippi State Saturday, a win that didn't leave head coach John Calipari feeling all that chipper after his team lost nearly all of an 18-point second half lead.   

"If you want me to tell you everything's all good, it isn't," Calipari said after the game. "I went right down to each guy.  Not mean, screaming or cussing. I wasn't. But you're here because you want me to keep it real.  Well, this is real."

LSU has been making a habit of coming back from big deficits.  They trailed Auburn by 16 in the early going before winning 83-78.  They rallied from 14 down with just over two minutes left in regulation to beat Missouri in overtime. And in their lone SEC defeat the Tigers trailed Arkansas by 18 in the second half before falling 90-89. 

“The next two, you have games that are Elite Eight games, Final Four games," said Calipari Monday.  "That is where we are playing now. Let’s see where we are. The good news is, whether Tuesday or Saturday, there will be more games. You are not like, ‘Well, your season ended.’ This is us to learn. Are we where we all think we are? Let’s see because we have to play the game.”

And while the meeting with Tennessee might be a little more appealing on paper, Calipari is keeping his guys focused on the Tigers. 

“From what I see, they’re really good," said Freshman guard Immanuel Quickley.  "Great guard play, real versatile, real good on the interior as well. So we’ve just got to come out and do what we do.”  

"It is starting with this team that comes in and everyone is looking by this game and talking about that next one," said Calipari.  "I am not. I haven’t looked at one tape of Tennessee. Not one. I haven’t thought about them. I don’t know what they run. Well, I do know because they have the same team so they are probably running the same stuff. But, I haven’t done anything. My focus is let’s see how we are playing against this type of team, this kind of length. Those two teams are different."

They'll tip it at 7:00 pm Tuesday against LSU. Then take aim at the top-ranked Volunteers Saturday at 8:00 pm after another ESPN GameDay visit. 

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