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Kentucky’s non-conference schedule is once again loaded

May 7, 2014, 3:32 PM EDT


Nobody in college basketball is better at putting together a non-conference schedule that Kentucky head coach John Calipari.

In a sport where it’s no uncommon to see top 25 programs avoid playing a relevant opponent until conference play has started, Kentucky has been one of the standard-bearers when it comes to building a schedule in November and December.

With the announcements today that the Wildcats will be playing games against Texas and UCLA this season, you need to take a look at who the Wildcats will be playing during the first two months of the regular season:

  • Kentucky vs. Kansas in Indianapolis for the Champions Classic
  • Kentucky vs. UCLA in Chicago for the CBS Sports Classic
  • Texas at Kentucky in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge
  • Louisville at Kentucky
  • North Carolina at Kentucky
  • Providence at Kentucky

Kansas is the No. 5 team in the country in the Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25. North Carolina? They’re No. 6. Texas is No. 8 and Louisville is No. 11.

That’s wild, and it will only get tougher if Kris Dunn plays up to his potential for Providence this season or UCLA is able to get the kind of performance from the likes of Kevin Looney, Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton are good enough to carry the team.

Kentucky is the preseason No. 1 team in the country. They are the unquestionably going to be the title favorite entering the season, and it will not take us long to get a feel for whether or not that opinion is accurate.

A strong schedule can also be a double-edged sword. Last season, for example, Kansas had one of the toughest schedules in the history of the game, so while they were tested by the time that Big 12 play came around, it may have also cost them. The Jayhawks never had the chance to learn or build confidence against their weaker opponents.

The good news for Kentucky?

This will be their most experienced team under John Calipari, as they may not end up starting a single freshman.

  1. uk2ndbestinthestate - May 7, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    You have to have a loaded out of conference schedule when you play in the S”EZ”

  2. uk2ndbestinthestate - May 7, 2014 at 8:24 PM

    Providence???? Hahahaha…yeah, loaded Dauster

  3. cdawg1969 - May 7, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    Carolina’s is equally…or more…impressive. Locked in games against UK, OSU, Iowa, Texas, and a tournament including Wisconsin, Florida, UCLA, Oklahoma, and Georgetown. Throw in conference games against Duke (2x), Louisville (2x), and Syracuse, I’d say UNC’s is tougher.

    • ukcatsfan - May 8, 2014 at 10:17 AM

      I am pretty sure the title of this Blog is “Kentucky’s non-conference schedule is once again loaded” doesn’t say anything about the conference games. Yes overall UNC has a very tough schedule, however your are disputing his claim by adding in UNC’s conference schedule. I think the ACC is by far the toughest conference to be a part of and wish the SEC could catch up, however until they do the ACC will be the premiere league.

      • dunkdynasty - May 9, 2014 at 1:20 AM

        “A tournament featuring…” So you will play almost none of those teams even in the best case scenario.

        Kentucky has a conference schedule, too, and Florida is still on it twice. You basically just listed all the same opponents, mentioned that you’ll only play some of them instead of all of them, and then said UNC’s schedule is tougher for no real reason.

  4. kaspauf - May 8, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    4 home games and 2 neutral site games… make them go to a true road game.

    • ukcatsfan - May 8, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      2 of our home games are home and home series with UNC and UL which means we played both on the road last year.

      • dunkdynasty - May 9, 2014 at 1:17 AM

        Actually the article is not quite accurate on that count. Our UNC and UL games used to be synced up like that, but that’s why we took the year off with UNC, so we’d always play one away and one at home, instead of every other year having to play both on the road.

        Last year we played vs UL and @UNC, next year we play @UL and vs UNC.

        It’s also worth pointing out that teams like Duke or Syracuse, most of the ranked teams, not only play all cupcakes, but insist on playing them at home. To complain that Kentucky plays 6 great teams, 3 at home and 3 away, is absolutely insane.

  5. dunkdynasty - May 9, 2014 at 1:27 AM

    Let’s not get too crazy bragging about Kansas. Duke and Florida were the only good teams they played last year, and Kansas lost 10 games somehow. Kansas was probably the second best team in Kansas last year, KU would definitely not have run the table if they played Wichita’s schedule.

  6. ukfan2 - May 9, 2014 at 9:18 AM

    UK Never plays on a “HOME” court. Rupp Arena is owned by the city and UK doesn’t get to practice there everyday so I’d say it’s a “NEUTRAL” court. They need to build their own “HOME” court where they can practice and play everyday. Remodel and convert Commonwealth Stadium to a “DOME” and play football & basketball there.

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