(WAVE) - A 48 hour COVID pause over the weekend cost the Cats a home against #5 Texas in the SEC / Big 12 Challenge.
At 5-10, they have nine regular season games remaining, starting at #18 Missouri (11-3, 4-3 SEC) on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
“We got nine games left, let’s go,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “I’m watching this team move to here, this team, we’re not that far off, but it’s not what I believe and I keep telling them, it’s what they believe.”
“I know the team, our team thinks we can win the rest of the games,” UK freshman Lance Ware said. “I mean we believe in each other so honestly that’s what it’s about, so if we believe in each other. I know our coaching staff believes in us, so we all believe that we can win the rest of these games.”
Calipari added that he does not expect any players to miss the Missouri game with COVID issues, but that the Cats could be shorthanded. He did not elaborate.
Terrence Clarke has missed the last eight games with an ankle issue.
“With Terrence we’re going by the doctors and what they’re telling us,” Calipari said.
The Cats main hope to get into the 2021 NCAA Tournament would be to win the SEC Tournament. There has been plenty of talk about teams opting out of conference tournaments to make sure they’re healthy for the NCAA version.
“I can promise you we won’t opt out, that’s not what I would do,” Calipari said. “The second that I would tell you, that, if the best teams in conferences opt out, the NCAA probably would come back and say, you know, we’re not, your winner is not going to be an automatic bid, and so why wouldn’t we do it every year? The top four or five teams in our league, just say, we’re opting out of the tournament, so that we get one more team in. I think that either we’ll all play or there will be a reason, and the reason would be the safety of the players and the coaches, that we wouldn’t play.”
After Wednesday, the Cats (5-10, 4-4) host #11 Tennessee (12-3, 5-3) on Saturday at 8 p.m. Five of their last nine games are in Rupp Arena.