Four of Kentucky’s first five Southeastern Conference games this season are being played on the road.
The Wildcats passed their first SEC road test Wednesday night, defeating LSU 74-71 in Baton Rouge, La.
Round 2 comes Saturday night when 17th-ranked UK travels to Knoxville to take on 23rd-ranked Tennessee.
Longtime Big Blue fans know that a trip to Rocky Top is always a test, but how hard is it, exactly?
Kentucky has played 104 games in Knoxville and won 54 of them, a winning percentage of .519. The only SEC stop that has been harder on the Cats has been Fayetteville, Ark., where UK is 7-7 (.500) at the home of the Razorbacks.
Tennessee’s body of work stands a test of time dating to 1915, when the Volunteers showed Kentucky what it was in for by winning the schools’ first-ever meeting in Knoxville, 36-21. Arkansas did not begin playing Kentucky regularly until the Razorbacks joined the SEC in 1992.
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Traveling to Knoxville is no easier now than it ever was for the Wildcats. Kentucky has lost in its two most recent visits and is 3-4 there since John Calipari became head coach. The only other SEC venue in which Calipari has a losing record for Kentucky is — you guessed it — Arkansas (1-3).
Kentucky is 16-13 in Knoxville since Tennessee began playing in Thompson-Boling Arena in 1987. It’s big. It’s orange. It’s loud. And there’s something about it that never sits quite right with Kentucky.
The Cats and Vols tip off Saturday at 9 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.
Kentucky on the SEC road
Here is Kentucky’s record all-time on the home floor of every current Southeastern Conference team, along with John Calipari’s UK record at each school. Opponents are listed from toughest to easiest:
UK’s winning pct.