Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari knows his team has much work to do in December before top-10 games against Ohio State and Louisville.
Jon Hale, Louisville Courier Journal
LEXINGTON – No. 10 Kentucky (6-1) will look to extend its winning streak to five games Saturday against Fairleigh Dickinson (2-5). Here is the information you need to know to follow the game on television, radio or online.
Time: 4 p.m., Saturday
Where: Rupp Arena (20,500 capacity)
TV: Kevin Fitzgerald (play-by-play) and Dane Bradshaw (analyst) will have the call on the SEC Network. That’s DirecTV 611, Dish 408 (Hopper 404), U-Verse 607/1607, FiOs 75/575 and Spectrum Cable 516/517 in Louisville and Lexington.
Radio: Tom Leach (play-by-play) and Mike Pratt (analyst) will have the UK radio network call on 840 AM in Louisville and both 630 AM and 98.1 FM in Lexington or online at UKAthletics.com.
Live stream: Eligible subscribers can stream the SEC Network broadcast via WatchESPN.
Live stats and updates: You can follow a working box score at UKAthletics.com. Follow Courier Journal UK beat writer @JonHale_CJ on Twitter for updates from Rupp Arena.
MORE: Kentucky basketball to play Michigan in London, England in December 2020
Storylines to watch
Lots of work to do
Kentucky basketball’s December schedule suddenly looks a lot more difficult. No. 1 Louisville and No. 6 Ohio State are now ranked first and second by advanced metrics website KenPom.com after convincing wins over Michigan and North Carolina this week. John Calipari’s team plays the Buckeyes and Cardinals in back to back games later this month.
First is a three-game stretch against Fairleigh Dickinson, Georgia Tech and Utah. None of those teams are ranked better than 69th by KenPom.com, but Georgia Tech and Utah still represent an uptick in competition from the recent stretch of mid-major programs.
Calipari knows his team needs to make progress in a month with plenty of practice time between games.
“We’re still shorthanded but I’m like, forget it, I don’t care, let’s go,” Calipari said. “I’ve done this before with six and seven guys so let’s go. It’s not like I haven’t done it. I’m not panicked. I feel good. I feel good about my team, but we’re nowhere near some of these other teams. We’re not. But there are other teams that were ranked there (at the top of the polls) and I said they’re not that good either, and it’s proven to be true.”
MORE: What improvements John Calipari wants to see from each of Kentucky basketball’s freshmen
Kentucky will almost certainly play Fairleigh Dickinson with just eight healthy scholarship players. Calipari said graduate student forward Nate Sestina (broken wrist) is still a couple of weeks away from “figuring out if he can play.” Freshman wing Dontaie Allen (ACL) briefly returned to practice on Monday but missed the next two days with soreness in his surgically repaired knee.
“He’s not nearly ready,” Calipari said Friday. “He practiced one day, half of the practice maybe.”
Rupp Arena milestone
A win Saturday will give Kentucky 600 victories at Rupp Arena. Kentucky would be the fastest program to reach 600 victories in an arena, hitting the milestone in just 670 games. Only UCLA at Pauley Pavilion (689 games) and Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse (699 games) have previously reached 600 wins at their home arenas in fewer than 700 games.
Kentucky is 91-4 against unranked foes at Rupp Arena in the Calipari era. While the Wildcats were already upset by unranked Evansville at home this season, Fairleigh Dickinson is one of the worst teams in the country and seems like a safe bet for a blowout. KenPom.com ranks the Knights, which have just one Division I victory this season, 266th nationally.
Jon Hale: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @JonHale_CJ. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/jonh.