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UK Basketball: Previewing the December schedule

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A game-by-game breakdown of what will soon be a difficult stretch for the Cats.

Harvard v Kentucky Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

December looks to be a telling month for the Wildcats full of rematches, rivalries, and needed SEC match-ups.

UK finished the month of November at a solid 6-1, winning four-straight to bulk up their non-conference resume. They followed that up with a 78-70 win over Harvard to begin what’s turned into a tough December slate for the Cats.

Last season, the month of December was a positive in the win column for the team, but they did walk away losing two important games. This year they play those exact two teams again in the same month (UCLA and Louisville), and hope to avenge their losses of the past season.

Coach Calipari has predicted this team will make significant growth over this time with added practice and rest.

Saturday, December 9th @ 12 p.m. ET – Monmouth

Kentucky will be heading to Madison Square Garden to face off against Monmouth for the Citi Hoops Classic. This will be the first meeting between the two teams, and they have already scheduled another meeting for next season. The Hawks finished last season 27-7 and have returned All-MAAC first-team selection Micah Seaborn and MAAC Sixth Man of the Year Austin Tilghman among eight other players. With UK’s very young roster this should be a tight game of talent and knowledge.

Saturday, December 16th @ 2 p.m. ET – Virginia Tech

This is another non-conference game with this looking like it will prove to be a tougher fight. UK is slightly favored with both teams sitting with only one loss on the season. Virginia Tech has been solid this season so far, and their veteran depth could prove to be tough for the young Cats to do deal with. This game should help fans truly see what these Cats are made of.

Saturday, December 23rd @ 1 p.m. ET - UCLA

UCLA is a matchup I’m sure most Kentucky players and fans have marked on their calendar this season. Last December UCLA, led by Lonzo Ball, defeated the Wildcats 97-92. Although we did avenge this loss by beating them in the NCAA tournament at the end of the season, the first loss should still be fresh in our minds and have us wanting to prove again who has the better team. UK is favored heavily in this year’s CBS Sports Classic game with UCLA not having as star-studded a cast compared to last season. UK should walk away from this game with a well-deserved win.

Friday, December 29th @ 1 p.m. ET – Louisville

No matter the state of either team this is the biggest regular season game for all Wildcat and Cardinal players and fans alike. With Louisville beating UK last December 73-70 this year will be more important than most. UK hasn’t lost back-to-back games against the Cardinals since 2008-09 and had won the last four straight before losing last season. These two basketball teams have met a total of 50 times with UK leading the series 34-16 and Louisville being the current holder of the winning streak sitting at one win. The scheduled game time of 1 pm on a Friday does concern some fans who will have to work during the game, but before the season started both teams assured that the stadium will still be packed for this fierce rivalry.

Saturday, December 31st @ 6 p.m. ET – Georgia

This SEC match-up has UK highly favored. Last season the team beat Georgia and the Bulldogs are set up for another loss to the Wildcats. UK is averaging more points per game, a higher field goal %, more assists per game, more blocks per game, more steals per game, and has won the last 9 match-ups. This game will be a solid last game of 2017 in a great in-conference game, and it’s playing at a great time for the beginning of any NYE parties and looks to be the start of a great night for Wildcat fans.