Located in St. Joseph, Missouri, the Griffons are a Division II program that plays in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. They are led by head coach Will Martin, a former UK team manager under John Calipari (read more about Martin here).
Martin was at UK from 2009-12 when the program went to three Elite Eights, two Final Fours, and won the 2012 NCAA National Championship.
Assistant coaches Perry Stevenson and Jon Hood are also former Wildcats on the Griffons staff.
This will be our first opportunity to see this year’s Wildcat team play against someone other than themselves since their August trip to the Bahamas, which was an impressive showing for the Cats.
Kentucky is entering this season as the preseason No. 4 overall team in the AP Top 25 Poll behind North Carolina (No. 1), Gonzaga (No. 2), and Houston (No. 3). Kansas and Baylor are both tied for the final spot in the top 5.
As we are less than two weeks away from Kentucky’s first official game of the regular season. Here are some things to watch for on Sunday.
How is Kentucky’s post presence without Oscar Tshiebwe?
The Cats will be without the reigning National Player of the Year after he underwent a minor knee procedure. However, John Calipari and Tshiebwe have given positive updates on his recovery. Tshiebwe believes he will be ready to go when the regular season tips off on November 7th.
Without Tshiebwe on the floor, others are going to have to step up, and it will be interesting to see how the Cats look when the NPOY is not available.
This will also be a great opportunity for true freshman Ugonna Kingsley Onyenso to get more run that he would have gotten if Tshiebwe was healthy. Getting Onyenso these valuable minutes should help speed up his development and hopefully have him ready to give UK good minutes when Tshiebwe is on the bench.
During the trip to the Bahamas, Calipari started a variety of lineups as he was still in the feeling out process of this team. Now that the regular season is about to start, it will be interesting to see how Calipari manages this roster.
During media day, Calipari noted that Cason Wallace has been playing point guard in practice and hasn’t been doing much off the ball. Will we see Sahvir Wheeler and Wallace on the floor much together?
It will also be interesting to see how the rotations work with Chris Livingston, who views himself as a shooting guard but will also likely spend some time as a small-ball power forward.
One thing that this year’s team should be able to do really well is shoot the ball from three-point range at a high percentage. That was the case during the trip to the Bahamas and during the Blue-White game.
Surrounding Wheeler with sharpshooters will open driving lanes for him and his passing ability will result in a lot of open looks for this team. If the Cats can shoot a high percentage from deep, they will be hard to beat.
We’ve seen how well Reeves can shoot it, and CJ Fredrick is also lethal when he’s healthy. UK needs someone else to step up and show they can consistently make shots from deep.
Calipari has done nothing but praise the work ethic that he has been seeing from Toppin this preseason.
During Media Day, Calipari said Toppin has been a gym rat this year, and he is expecting to see Toppin have a breakout season.
During the four games in the Bahamas, Toppin averaged 16.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and led the team in minutes at 24.5 per game.
He was also third on the team in total assists with 10, tied for first with Daimion Collins in blocks with 8, and tied for second with Sahvir Wheeler and Adou Thiero in steals with 7.
Toppin is going to have a much bigger role this season and will have every opportunity to have a breakout season.
Time/Date: 7:00 pm ET on Sunday, October 30th, 2022
Location: Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY
TV Channel: SEC Network
Radio: Tom Leach and Jack Givens will have the UK radio network call on WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1, and the UK Sports Network.
Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings).
What will you be watching for when the Cats and Griffons face off on Sunday? Let us know in the comments section!