I know it sounds absurd at this point of the season - and I do not want to sound like the UK fan who can never be happy - but I do believe the next few weeks have what could be must wins - especially if UK wants a number one seed.
Follow me after the jump....
To get the number one seed - or at least one of the #1 seeds - in the NCAA tournament, I would argue that UK needs to:
1) Win all home games - or at least all but one
2) Win 1 or 2 of the following away games - @ Vandy, @ Florida and @ MSU
3) Take care of business vs Ole Miss and on Senior Day (vs UGA)
4) Make it to the finals of the SEC Tournament - perhaps win it if any of the above are not accomplished.
With that as my premise, i would argue that UK needs at least a split over the next 2 games. Given Memorial is a tough place to play, winning tonight does not mean UK can relax Saturday at Vandy BUT a loss tonight would mean even more pressure on a young team heading into a very tough environment. So - tonight is a "must win" if UK is to avoid a real pressure cooker on Saturday.
I would also add that given UK's easy SEC schedule so far, a win tonight will go along way to keeping the "haters" at bay. Should they lose, at home, in their first big SEC test, then you can bet the "miserables" will be out in full force saying everything up to today is fool's gold (I don't think it was, but just saying).
Saturday, becomes a must win if UK wants some breathing room on the road at MSU and Florida. Again, if they win Saturday, the pressure will not be as great but if they lose, then I do believe there will be pressure to show they can beat a top 20 team on the road - and not just at a neutral site.
I guess the bottom line is that if you want a #1 seed - and Cal is clear that is his goal - then you have to win alot of games. You do not have to win them all, but you do have to win a large number, therefore making almost all your games "must-win." So, tonight is a "must-win" only in the sense that if they lose, then they will create truer "must-wins" down the road - all IMHO.....