College basketball fans across the country are rejoicing as the 2022-2023 season rounds the corner to live game-action.
The University of Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team is set to host their annual intrasquad scrimmage this weekend, only this year, things will look a little different.
In response to the devastating flooding that occurred in Eastern Kentucky the Cats made the decision to move the Blue-White game to Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville.
“We’re excited to be able to come and play for the fans of eastern Kentucky. This is a unique opportunity for the people in our state who have been affected, and we hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.” John Calipari said in late September after the change in venues was announced at UK’s fundraising telethon.
The game will tipoff on Saturday at 6:00 pm ET and will be streamed on the SEC Network+.
After much was left to be desired at Big Blue Madness from a live scrimmage perspective, Saturday will provide fans will their first real opportunity to evaluate this year’s talented roster since their August trip to the Bahamas.
If you’ve followed these scrimmage games in the past, you know they can get a little wonky and nontraditional, but the spirit is just to simulate a more authentic game experience.
Despite not being played in Rupp Arena, the televised event should give the coaching staff a clearer picture of who’s performing and executing on-stage in front of a live crowd.
Speaking of the crowd the venue seats up to about 5,700 people, and I would expect it to be full.
It’s going to be really special seeing Kentucky play basketball in such an intimate setting all while benefiting a wonderful cause.
What should you be watching for on during Saturday night’s Blue-White game?
- Don’t forget that Oscar Tshiebwe will be out after undergoing a minor knee procedure last week. I wouldn’t want anyone tuning in and freaking out at the sight of him on the bench wearing a brace or whatever the case may be. By all indications the Big O will be ready to go for UK’s season opener on November 7th against Howard. Lance Ware and Jacob Toppin may also be out due to minor injuries.
- Rotations - Obviously, a big aspect of the Blue-White game is analyzing who’s playing well together and beginning to formulate opinions on just exactly how the Cats will play offensively this season.
- Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso - I’m anxious to get another look at the big-man after just getting a tease at the recent Pro-day. With no Oscar Tshiebwe on the floor it should allow a chance for Kingsley to operate more freely and show the Big Blue Nation what he’s got in his bag.
- Shooting - If Antonio Reeves comes out flaming-throwing like he was in the Bahamas then it’ll all but cement the idea that he’ll be a pillar of consistency for UK this season. The outside shot of Reeves’ teammates will be equally important to keep your eye on. If Kentucky can shoot above 35% from deep as a team this season, something they haven’t done since 2018-2019, then they’ll be tough to beat.
MVP prediction: Chris Livingston
Livingston should flex his versatility in an atmosphere like Blue-White game and the fact that he’ll play hard for the entire time he’s on the floor makes me like him for MBP. Expect him to rack up stats at both ends of the floor all night long.
Kentucky Basketball Blue-White Game 2022
- Time: 6 pm ET on October 22nd, 2022.
- Location: Appalachian Wireless Center in Pikeville, Kentucky
- TV Channel: SEC Network+
- Online Stream: WatchESPN
- Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings for replay schedule).
- Kentucky Basketball Roster
- Radio: UK Sports Network with Tom Leach and Jack Givens.