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Meaningful basketball will return for Kentucky as quickly as possible in 2018-2019

The Cats will open next season against the likely preseason #1 Duke Blue Devils in the Champions Classic.


Like most Kentucky fans, it has been a struggle to swallow yet another squandered opportunity.

The path to the Final Four was wide open, but it just didn’t happen for the Cats. To make things even more upsetting, #11 seed Loyola Chicago will represent the South region in San Antonio. It stings, and it will continue to sting for a long time.

But what’s done is done. And thankfully, meaningful basketball will be back as quickly as it possibly can for the 2018-2019 season.

Kentucky will open next year on November 6th against Duke. This powerhouse matchup will take place as part of the Champions Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The event will be moving up a week as a feature to tip-off the college basketball season. The second game will include Kansas vs Michigan State.

If you are like me and have been looking for something to ease the pain of a disappointing Sweet 16 loss, then this game could be that something. Instead of opening with the traditional mid-major opponent, UK fans can look forward to some meaningful hoops right from the start to open the 2018-2019 season.

I can’t think of any better medicine than to beat Coach K and Duke right out of the gate in a primetime matchup of blue bloods.

The Blue Devils will likely be the pre-season #1 team in America after signing one of the best recruiting classes in history. R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Cam Reddish are the top three players in the 2018 recruiting class and are sure to be the talk of college basketball next year.

I am really looking forward to the narrative changing. This time, UK will return some experienced players to battle against the traditional one and done freshman.Kentucky will have several players who have already played in a Champions Classic and understand the pressure that it brings. It will be the third time for Sacha Killeya Jones and Wenyen Gabriel to play in the event if they return for their junior seasons.

Here is what John Calipari had to say about the Champions Classic being moved to the season opener:

“The Champions Classic has been the gold standard for college basketball’s regular-season events for the last seven years, but I love what we’re doing to use it to tip off the basketball season. What better thing for our sport than to begin the year with four of the most successful programs in college basketball. Now, it might not be the best thing for my team, but the good news is we’ll all be learning about our teams at the same time while taking this thing to the next level. I know our fans will turn Indianapolis blue next fall.”

It is a blessing that the Classic is moving closer to the bluegrass by playing the games in Indy. As Coach Cal mentioned, the Big Blue Nation will have a great chance to dominate the arena. Tickets are historically difficult to get. They usually do not go on sale until Mid-October and in my experience have been gone in a heartbeat. So if you are planning to go, keep your eye out for ticketing options directly through the other three universities. Last year, I was able to get my tickets through Michigan State for the games in Chicago. It worked out nicely and I saved a lot of money versus going through Ticketmaster.

I am looking for anything to help me move past this years devastating Sweet 16 loss. November 6th is now circled on my calendar and I will be sure to be present in Bankers Life Fieldhouse to support the Cats.

Once that ball tips off we can all take a major step in the healing process. But there is no doubt that it is going to be a long 7 months of waiting.

Stay strong!