With basketball season just around the corner it’s time to scan the schedule and look at what will be UK’s five most difficult regular season games. While they’ll be tough, they all look like a blast to watch, and I’m looking forward to all of them. Let’s dive in:
The O2 Arena in London’s hosting a basketball matchup that hasn’t been seen since the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The last time these teams played, Aaron Harrison hit a tie-breaking three at the buzzer to send UK to the Final Four in one of the coolest wins a basketball fan could ever dream of. Will there be any similar heroics in London this December? We’ll see: as usual, these teams are the cream of their conferences’ crops.
The defending national champions are coming to Rupp Arena this January—season pass holders take note! They’ll be replacing a lot of talent, but will likely be rolling into Rupp Arena as the roughest and toughest opponent to visit Lexington this year, and also one eager to avenge a certain 18-point home loss from a year before.
3. at Arkansas Razorbacks
The wild Hogs of Fayetteville have been one of the most formidable teams in college hoops the past two seasons, reaching back-to-back Elite Eights and taking down UK in a nail-biter in front of the Razorback faithful last season. Kentucky will have to bring their A-game if they want to avoid a repeat of that defeat.
2. at Tennessee Volunteers
Thompson-Boiling Arena: the house of horrors for Big Blue Nation. They’ve lost in no arena more often under Calipari and if they’re going to buck that trend they will need to dig deep: Tennessee looks like they’ll be a top-15 team again this season and always brings a fight when playing the ‘Cats.
1. at Gonzaga Bulldogs
I’m so excited for this. Kentucky clashes against the blue bloods every year but has only faced off against the Gonzaga machine one time—way back in the 2022 Maui. We’ve had Zags vs. Duke, Zags vs. Baylor, Zags vs. North Carolina. Now we get Zags vs. Kentucky, Timme vs. Tshiebwe, Few vs. Calipari. Oh, and it’s in Spokane, Washington in Gonzaga’s home city. This isn’t your typical Champions Classic or CBS Sports Classic game: this is Gonzaga in Gonzaga’s city in front of Gonzaga’s fans with no one but Cats and Dogs. Get ready for what might be Kentucky’s most difficult test of the season.