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The UK men’s basketball team has spent the last two weeks playing teams that most would expect them to win with ease.
That will change Thursday night when the Cats travel to South Bend, Ind. to take on Notre Dame in the SEC/Big East Challenge.
UK will welcome back sophomore guard Ryan Harrow, who returned to the team last weekend after battling an unknown sickness and personal issues since the season began.
“I have been doing well in the two practices we have had since I have been back,” Harrow said. “I’ll be ready, but I don’t know when (I’ll play). I’ll be dressed up and ready to go when needed.”
Head coach John Calipari voiced his comfortability in playing freshman guard Archie Goodwin at the point Wednesday, saying there isn’t a clear point guard any longer.
“We want (Harrow) on the team, obviously,” Calipari said. “It has shifted things. It gave us a chance to put Archie exclusively at point guard; it gave us a chance to put Jarrod (Polson) in games that are meaningful. It gave us a chance to do some things, but it’s not what you want.”
The Fighting Irish, although recently unranked, will welcome the Cats to one of the most hostile environments in college basketball in their Joyce Center.
They have won 45 of their last 47 games at home, making this the first difficult road environment that UK’s freshmen will play.
“When you play in your first road game, you thrive on it,” junior guard Jon Hood said. “You love when everybody boos you, and (the freshmen) will be hyped for it. They will be ready.”
Goodwin will look to continue on his stellar play the past two games. The freshman has 50 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists combined in the Morehead State and LIU Brooklyn games.
The Cats will have to combat a veteran Notre Dame team, one that is deep of strong big men and consistent outside shooters.
“They were 12-22 last game (from 3). If they do that against us, we will be coming home with an ‘L’,” Calipari said. “They are very, very big; they have great size. They are a good team, so it will be a tough challenge.”
The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2.