With Kentucky fans fully aware of Coach Billy Gillispie's often-surprising substitutions, the burning question going into Saturday's game is this: How much will Kevin Galloway play?
"If he plays like he did the last time, he'll play a lot," Gillispie said on Friday. "Yeah."
Galloway, a junior college transfer, emerged from hibernation against Florida on Tuesday. His six points, eight rebounds, nine assists and 25 minutes were all career highs as UK beat the Gators.
A reporter noted that in an earlier game, Galloway got benched after taking a three-point shot. "I remember that," Gillispie said. "I don't think it was Tuesday night.
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"If he did get taken out two or three games ago, he didn't take it the other night. Then we're making progress."
Then Gillispie added in a deadpan voice, "That's a guy making an adjustment. Maybe it's a guy who wants to stay on the floor and play."
The game will be Gillispie's first in Bud Walton Arena. He expects a raucous environment.
"I've heard it's a great home-court advantage," he said. "From the games you watch on TV, you can tell they get revved up."
Gillispie noted Arkansas' home-court victories over two top-10 teams, Oklahoma and Texas, earlier in the season.
"They always play hard, but they definitely got to another level against Oklahoma, and they got to another level against Texas," he said. "And that's what we'd be expecting tomorrow."
Depth an issue?
With point guard Courtney Fortson suspended, Arkansas lost another player on Friday when the school announced that Marcus Monk was no longer on the team.
That's not as serious a loss as Fortson, but Monk contributed, as evidenced by scoring 12 points and grabbing six rebounds against Oklahoma and scoring 10 points and grabbing five rebounds against Florida in games earlier this season.
Monk's loss was no surprise since he had missed the last six games as Arkansas officials reviewed his eligibility.
The Hogs may also have to do without freshman Jason Henry, the leading scorer off the bench (7.2 ppg).
When asked about Henry's knee injury, Arkansas Coach John Pelphrey said, "We'll see. That's obviously day to day."
Of his team's dwindling depth, Pelphrey said, "This isn't the NBA. I can't go out and pick somebody up right now. We're past the break, so we can't have more walk-on tryouts."
Added freshman Michael Sanchez, "We definitely have enough players. We have more than enough to get it done."
New point guard
Junior Stefan Welsh presumably will take over at point guard with Fortson suspended. In Southeastern Conference play, Welsh has more turnovers (20) than assists (18).
"He's a very, very, very capable player," Gillispie said. "I think he's one of the most underrated players in the league."
UK pursued Sanchez
Kentucky offered a scholarship to Sanchez, who hails from nearby Springdale, Ark. When asked if that offer made him want to play against UK, Sanchez said, "Who doesn't want to play Kentucky?"
Still a rivalry?
Arkansas hasn't beaten Kentucky since 2001. Since that time, every SEC team except Auburn has beaten UK at least once.
So does the once red-hot rivalry still exist? Arkansas thinks so.
"I don't know why it wouldn't exist," Sanchez said.
Added freshman Brandon Moore: "Right now every game is kind of a rivalry. We need all the wins we can get right now to make the tournament.'
Pelphrey took a philosophical view of UK's winning streak against Arkansas.
"Do you think Kentucky-Florida is a rivalry?" he asked a reporter. "I think Kentucky beat Billy (Donovan) nine straight times at one point. And then I think going into the game the other night Florida won seven of the last eight. It runs in cycles."
Pelphrey caused a stir earlier this season when he wore a bright red jacket during a game. Might he wear it again for a big televised game on Valentine's Day? He wouldn't say.
When a reporter said he was wondering if he would, Pelphrey said, "You are? (smiling). Wait and see. I can't give you that information. You know that."
Tim Brando and Bill Raftery will call the game for CBS.