Today, Kentucky published their men’s basketball non-conference schedule for 2015-16. As usual, it is a mix of easy and hard games, and as normal lately, it is five really challenging games against some of the highest-quality programs in America.
Lets take a quick look:
|Nov 17||2||vs. Duke|
|Nov 20||Wright St.|
|Nov 27||3||vs. South Florida|
|Nov 30||Illinois St.|
|Dec 3||at UCLA|
|Dec 9||Eastern Kentucky|
|Dec 12||Arizona State|
|Dec 19||4||vs. Ohio St.|
|Jan 30||5||at Kansas|
- Home games in bold
- 1-Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Classic (Rupp Arena)
- 2-Champions Classic (United)
- 3-Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Classic (American Airlines Arena, Miami)
- 4-CBS Sports Classic (Barclays Center)
- 5-Big 12/SEC Challenge (Allen Fieldhouse)
Some quick observations:
Man, November is a busy month, particularly early. Four games in seven days, including two back-to-back, and a total of seven games in 17 days.
December is a correspondingly quiet month with only five games. Louisville is once again on the day after Christmas.
We haven’t had a non-conference game in the middle of conference season since back in 2004, according to my reckoning. By that time, both Kansas and UK should be pretty good. That will be a most interesting game.
North Carolina, in case you are wondering, will resume in 2017.
Think UCLA won’t be stoked for UK’s visit in early December? I might have to think about making that scene, it will be memorable.
We haven’t played Ohio State since that dramatic win in the Elite Eight.
Arizona State has a lot of returning players from a pretty good team last season, and a very good shooting guard incoming freshman. The last time UK played ASU was in 2002 at the Maui Classic.
I wonder when was the last time UK played two Pac-12 schools in the same year not including the NCAA Tournament?
Can't wait to play Duke. That one should be fun, and we need to win. We haven't beaten the Blue Devils in a while, and losing to them is officially old.
Overall, this looks like a good schedule. There are some tough games and some easy ones, but it looks very much like every other schedule in the John Calipari era when it comes to non-conference. Gone are the days of brutal schedules like 1999-00:
|11/17/99||Pennsylvania at (#14) Kentucky||W||67 - 50||Preseason NIT (at Lexington, KY)|
|11/19/99||(#16) Utah at (#14) Kentucky||W||56 - 48||Preseason NIT (at Lexington, KY)|
|11/24/99||(#11) Kentucky vs. (#22) Maryland||W||61 - 58||Preseason NIT (at New York, NY)|
|11/26/99||(#11) Kentucky vs. (#8) Arizona||L||51 - 63||Preseason NIT Championship (at New York, NY)|
|11/29/99||(#13) Kentucky vs. Dayton||L||66 - 68||(at Cincinnati, OH)|
|12/04/99||(#13) Kentucky vs. (#23) Indiana||L||75 - 83||(at Indianapolis, IN)|
|12/07/99||UNC Asheville at (#23) Kentucky||W||86 - 41||-|
|12/11/99||(#23) Kentucky at (#21) Maryland||L||66 - 72||-|
|12/18/99||Louisville at Kentucky||W||76 - 46||-|
|12/23/99||(#5) Michigan State at Kentucky||W||60 - 58||-|
I think this one is quite tough enough, though.