In recent years when these two get together it is in March. This time when two old friends reunite in Morgantown it’s a non-conference matchup in the middle of conference play. Bob Huggins has made it known he is not thrilled with the timing of this game.
“I’d rather this not be in the conference season, but obviously ESPN wants it then,” Coach Huggins said. “I think the theory is whether we play it when there are a bunch of bowl games on or do we do it when everybody is tuned in to basketball.
“That’s the overriding reason we’re playing it now.”
John Calipari and Bob Huggins are great friends, but Huggy Bear couldn’t help but take a jab at Cal with a weird joke about Rick Pitino today: https://t.co/VLuC06e1fi
— Tyler Thompson (@MrsTylerKSR) January 25, 2018
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For the first time since 2014 the Wildcats are completely out of the AP Top 25. Despite this, Huggins is confident his team will still be locked in for the contest.
“Kentucky is Kentucky and you’ve got a Hall of Famer sitting on the bench. So…”
The longtime friends and rivals will catch up before the game. The two will get together at a fishy fry that benefits the cancer awareness fund that Huggins started just after he lost his mother to cancer in 2003.
“We got to be pretty good friends,” Huggins said about his long time adversary. “I’m older than Cal is and we’ve spent a lot of time on the road together. We’ve done seemingly hundreds of charity events together. We’ve had a great relationship since the ’70s.”
The friendship will be put on hold on Saturday night during the featured game of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. ESPN College GameDay will be in Morgantown for the second time ever. Despite recent struggles by both teams the game will be a massive event.
The Mountaineers skyrocketed to the No. 2 ranking in the nation on January 8. If you ask Coach Huggins that may have been a bit premature.
“We’re not very good right now,” Huggins said as his team has lost three of four. “We haven’t played nearly as good as we have before. I don’t know what we are doing, to be honest with you. We try to disrupt the best we can.”
Meanwhile Kentucky just snapped their two-game losing streak by taking down Mississippi State by a final score of 78-65 on Tuesday night.
Huggins heaped praise on Calipari. He made special mention of how he has been able to mesh these highly rated recruits into such a strong “team”concept.
“The first thing that jumps out at you is their size and length,” Huggins said. “I’m amazed that Cal can take guys to play together and have them organized like he does. I’ve got three-year guys who don’t know what they are doing. That’s what jumps out at me.