Tomorrow’s game in Knoxville will put Kentucky in yet another crazy and hostile atmosphere on a Saturday, but that’s nothing new to the Wildcats. It will be the fourth straight Saturday on the road and UK is seeking its third win in that four-game gauntlet.
Tyrese Maxey, who seems to play better outside of Lexington, has gotten used to the challenges of playing away from Rupp Arena. On Friday he said, “I’ve learned so far that every time we step out of Lexington the game is insane and probably sold out. The opposing fans are screaming and trying to do whatever it takes to help their team win, so I feel like (tomorrow) is going to be the same.”
“Coach Cal tells us to stick together, stay as one unit, which really helps us out on the road,” he added. “Having leaders and vets like we have, I think it really helps us when we go on the road. They’re able to talk to us and we’re able to come together as a team and be successful on the court.”
Maxey had 22 points last Saturday at Auburn — in a loss, unfortunately — so I had to ask if there is something he enjoys about being a bad guy in the opposing uniform.
“We like it,” he admitted. “It’s a lot of fun going out there and playing on the road. You gotta stick together with your teammates and we really embrace it.”
As for what Maxey expects in his first trip to Thompson-Boling Arena tomorrow afternoon, some of his older teammates have already let him know that it can get wild when the Vols are playing well.
“My teammates told me that it was really crazy last year,” he said. “I think somebody got a dunk and they said the floor was shaking and they couldn’t hear themselves think. But I’m ready to experience it for myself.”
I believe this is the dunk he was talking about and, yes, it blew the lid off the building early in what ended up being Kentucky’s fourth straight loss in Knoxville:
Thank God that guy is gone.