Are the Wildcats ready for the road?

Kentucky lost to Georgia in its first road game of Southeastern Conference play. Following home wins over Auburn and LSU the Cats go back on the road for games this week at Alabama and at South Carolina.

Ready or not, it's time for Kentucky to show it has learned how to win on the road in the Southeastern Conference.

The No. 13 Wildcats have won consecutive home games after losing their SEC opener at Georgia Jan. 8. Now they play at Alabama Tuesday night before going to South Carolina — one of two places the Cats lost last season — on Saturday.

"We should be fine as long as we come together and play the way we have been playing," said UK freshman point guard Brandon Knight.

Junior guard DeAndre Liggins hopes his younger teammates have learned how to win on the road in SEC play.

"Playing on the road is going to be tough. You know it's going to be a crazy crowd and we have to just stay humble and play hard down there," Liggins said. "We have to set the tone early, clamp down on defense to get stops and take their crowd out of it so it won't get crazy.

"We have to be tougher, too. At Georgia when they were bumping us we weren't tough enough. That's all it was. We just weren't tough enough. Also they just wanted it more than us."

Liggins thought he saw improvement in that area when UK easily beat Auburn and LSU last week in Rupp Arena.

"We were tougher, we executed well, we defended when we need to, made plays down the stretch, we shared the ball we did all the things that we just need to do on the road. It's not that complicated to know what it takes to win on the road," Liggins said.

So are the Cats ready to face an Alabama team that might be limited on the perimeter but could be stronger, deeper and more athletic inside than UK?

"I think it is too early to tell," UK assistant coach John Robic said. "Hopefully the young group understands that no matter what building we go into, it is going to be sold out. Generally it is the only sellout of the year for these schools that we go to.

"How hard it is to play, how hard you have to play and how much you have to stick together? We made that comeback at Georgia down 11 to go up one. Were they satisfied to get to that point? We don't know but we didn't play our style of basketball at that particular time. Typically one of our teams that does that, that is when you really hit gut check and you suck it up and pull out the tough win. That is what you have to do on the road."

Junior Darius Miller doesn't think the easy wins over Auburn and LSU will give the Cats any sense of false security heading to Alabama and South Carolina.

"We will definitely be ready. The loss we had (at Georgia) changed our mindset and kind of rededicated us and refocused us. We will be ready. It's not make or break time. We just have to keep playing with the same intensity we have," Miller said.

"We have played in pretty tough atmospheres already and won some and lost some. We have seen it all really. We should be ready. It shouldn't faze us too much. It will be tougher than home, but we should be prepared based on what we've seen and bee through."


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