Kentucky’s biggest opponent tonight may not be the LSU Tigers. It may be Old Man Winter. There is still some speculation that tonight’s game may be delayed or cancelled due to severe weather that was supposed to hit the Baton Rogue area last night.
The forecast calls for freezing rain, snow and sleet and temperatures dipping into the low 20s, which is record-low territory in those parts. Tuesday’s classes at LSU are canceled, but the school released a statement Monday evening saying it was “still moving forward” with plans to play the game, which ESPN is broadcasting nationally, on time.
UK coach John Calipari, who followed Jones on the SEC teleconference, said he’d just heard about the possibility of a cancellation and pleaded: “Tell us before we get on this plane.” But the Cats went ahead with travel plans, flying to Baton Rouge after practice Monday evening.
UK’s team, ESPN’s satellite truck and the officiating crew for the game were all scheduled to be in Baton Rouge ahead of the storm.
“Everybody will be in place to play the game if at all possible,” LSU spokesman Kent Lowe said. “They’re going to look at it throughout the night and if need be, the league and the teams will make some decision (today).”
He could not however, confirm a report on Twitter that a decision on whether to play the game would be announced at 11 a.m. Eastern Time Tuesday. Said Lowe: “I don’t know where that’s coming from. I’ve heard nothing about that.”
In my opinion, I would say there is less than a 5% chance this game gets cancelled. Remember what happened in Dallas versus Baylor when similar conditions prevailed? I would not cancel the plans to be in front of ESPN at 9:00 PM.
Coming into tonight’s game, it seems that John Calipari’s Wildcats have found themselves as they have won seven of eight games and are on the verge of cracking the top ten again. Part of the reason is that the players seem to be appreciating the grind and are “getting it”. Life on the road is different however but Cal thinks his team is up to the challenge.
“We’re getting to where every day you can try to get better because we’re not fighting it,” Calipari said. “We’re trying to get our guys to say, ‘This is who we want to be. Here’s the mental picture. Let’s go for this.’ And they’re trying. (Sunday), we walked off and said, ‘Man, day after a game and that kind of practice?’ Tells me a lot about where they are mentally.”
Calipari no longer needs to scream for more effort every few seconds in practice. Coaching this team full of teenagers, he said, is suddenly more fun.
“The biggest thing is we’ve learned to enjoy and love the grind, love the process,” freshman forward Julius Randle said. “That just makes things a lot easier. We’ve fallen in love with the whole process of getting better, changing habits. And because of that, it’s been smooth for us.”
I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical of Tyler Ulis when he committed, but I have become a huge fan of him. He appears to be the real deal and look for him to rise in the final rankings for the 2014 class. Here is another look at Ulis, along with some highlights.