Kentucky’s basketball schedule is always filled with big games in the nonconference portion, as they regularly play schools like Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, and other big-name teams in Sonic Blockbusters, the Big 12/SEC challenge, and other events (and they annually play Louisville of course).
Yet there are still many juicy matchups that would pack Rupp Arena out there. Here are a few I’d love to see come to fruition.
4. New Mexico (away)
Put Kentucky in The Pit! The Lobos’ famous below-ground arena is one of the coolest venues in sports and gives a big home-court advantage to New Mexico. Send an experienced Kentucky squad underground in front of thousands of rocking fans? Yes please! It would be a full-blown, ESPN College Gameday must-see TV game that would be great for both schools (or at least the winner).
3. Indiana (home and away)
After the Hoosiers hit a buzzer-beater to give the 38-2 2012 championship team one of their two losses on the year, Kentucky abandoned the series and has yet to start it up again. The schools have too much history to quit playing each other altogether, though. I want to see a packed Rupp Arena booing IU players and Kentucky routing the Hoosiers out of Assembly Hall.
2. Villanova (The Palestra)
This one is a bit of a wild dream, but seeing Kentucky take on Jay Wright’s squad in the Cathedral would be a game to remember. Not only are these two very storied and successful programs, but Villanova occasionally plays in Penn’s famed court. If they could these two Wildcat teams in college basketball’s most historic building, it would turn heads towards the televisions.
1. Gonzaga (home and away)
The Zags are probably the best powerhouse Kentucky never plays, and that’s a shame. Maybe one day they’ll meet in the NCAA tournament, but I think they should take their games to each other’s courts. Kentucky playing to Spokane would give both teams a big nonconference test and benefit both programs, as would the Zags coming to Lexington. Honestly this would be a great game wherever it’s played. Play it in Maui. Or Indy. Or a high-school gym in Wyoming. Just make it rain Cats and Dogs.
If you could see Kentucky play any opponent that they don’t normally play, home, neutral, or away, who would it be? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Here’s my top four picks: