The Kentucky Wildcats have announced the full 2018-19 basketball schedule, and what a slate it is.
We now know almost all of the game times and TV channel info for several of Kentucky’s games for the upcoming season, including clashes with the Duke Blue Devils, Kansas Jayhawks and North Carolina Tar Heels, as well as SEC clashes with the Auburn Tigers and Tennessee Volunteers.
All of these teams are ranked in the top 15 of every major preseason top 25 poll, and that’s not even accounting for several other SEC teams squeaking into the top 25 of several polls. This is going to be the most challenging schedule Kentucky has faced in the John Calipari era, but he has a team fully capable of surviving it and making a deep run in March.
2018-19 Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Schedule
The 2018-19 college basketball season begins with a matchup between Kentucky and Duke in the Champions Classic. The game takes place on Nov. 6 at 9:30 PM EST on ESPN.
Kentucky will later clash with the Tar Heels in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 22 at 5:15 PM EST on CBS.
The Wildcats and Jayhawks will face off in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Jan. 26 at 6 PM EST.
That means Kentucky will face three of the five top programs in college basketball history before the postseason even begins, and if the Cats make a deep run in March, they’ll likely see at least one of them again.
The 18-game SEC schedule was released recently and features all 13 teams in the league at least once. Kentucky has home-and-home dates with the Auburn Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs, in addition to permanent home-and-home foes Florida Gators, Tennessee Volunteers and Vanderbilt Commodores.
UK’s schedule is balanced with no trip or stretch of home games lasting more than two in a row (which includes the SEC/Big 12 Challenge). The Wildcats will also have a familiar weekly pattern of Tuesday-Saturday games every week once conference play starts.
Kentucky tips off the SEC season against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Jan. 5. They’ll wrap up SEC play at home against the Florida Gators on March 9.
The 2019 SEC Tournament is slated to return to Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, beginning March 13 with a champion being crowned on March 17.
Combined with the non-conference schedule, Kentucky will face 16 teams that played in the postseason in 2018, including 12 in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats’ opposition combined to go 526-356 (.596) last season.
A record eight SEC teams made the 2018 NCAA Tournament and won the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, 6-4. The league is expected to be even better this coming season, making this all the more challenging for a Kentucky team expected to contend for a national championship.
2018-19 Schedule Overview
- Combined record in 2017-18: 526-356 (.596)
- Teams in postseason: 16
- Teams in NCAA Tournament: 12
- Teams that advanced to the Sweet 16 or better: 3
- Average RPI ranking in 2017-18: 84.5
- Teams that finished the seasons in the polls: 7
- First-time opponents: 3