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Never mind the sights, what Kentucky basketball needs in England is a royal win over Michigan

Oh-for-two against marquee opponents, John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats need a mood-altering win over Michigan in London on Sunday.

Earlier this month, basketball took a 2,000-mile field trip to Spokane, Washington. It did not turn out well. This week, Kentucky travels 4,000 miles for another educational opportunity, this time in the original , i.e. London, England. The Cats need this trip to be a success.

After all, a team only gets so many shots at beating a big shot. 's club air-balled its first two, gift-wrapping a double-overtime win for State in the Champions Classic before that jarring 16-point loss at Gonzaga. Sunday brings royal opportunity No. 3. Michigan is the opponent. London's O2 Arena is the setting. ABC has the 1 p.m. coverage. That's WTVQ locally.

Before packing bags for Britain, the Cats played Bellarmine in a Tuesday night tune-up. Kentucky won 60-41. The final score told only half the story. At intermission, the teams were tied at 21. (This was basketball, not football.) That's the fewest first-half points by a Kentucky team at Rupp Arena since Tubby Smith's Cats trailed Kevin Stallings and Vanderbilt 23-20 on Jan. 10, 2006. Vandy won 57-52. Luckily, 16 years later, Cal's Cats did not suffer a similar fate.

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