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Preseason rankings and UK's Non-conference Schedule

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Conferences, coaches, and computers have released their preseason rankings. Here's what they have to say about Kentucky's non-conference opponents.

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Ahh schedules - the drop of water in the off-season desert. Way back in July when Kentucky released its non-conference the predominant opinion seemed to be: "Holy crap those home games are weak!" Ken and Glenn each wrote about their own reactions and we all chimed in with our own thoughts about what the schedule looked like at the time.

That was 5 months ago. No one had any real idea of how good these teams might be once the season kicked off, but as we approach the start of the regular season we have more information about how these squads are perceived in the form of national and conference rankings released by coaches, media, and a couple of computers. With that in mind, I thought it might prove to be informative to look at the schedule in terms of how these teams are expected to perform both nationally and within their respective conferences. Is it possible there are some diamonds in the rough that make the home schedule look better than it did in July? Read on to find out!

National Rankings

First up, here are the national rankings as measured by the AP and Coaches Polls, Dan Hanner, and Ken Pomeroy. Obviously the AP and Coaches only rank the Top 25 teams so not every team gets something there. That makes Dan and Ken's respective rankings useful since they do every team.

National Rankings
Opponent Conference Location AP Poll Coaches Poll KenPom Hanner
Maryland ACC Neutral

135 111
Duke ACC Neutral 8 8 9 7
Lafayette Patriot Home

270 300
Morehead St OVC Home

185 188
Long Island NEC Home

133 144
Notre Dame Big East Road 22 23 17 22
Baylor Big 12 Home 19 18 20 25
Samford SoCon Home

288 302
Portland WCC Home

182 165
Lipscomb A. Sun Home

224 233
Marshall CUSA Home

93 99
Louisville Big East Road 2 2 8 10
Eastern Michigan MAC Home

291 248

  • There are 4 teams ranked by the Coaches and Media which is not a surprise. The rankings are probably roughly what we would have expected back in July.
  • The media and coaches are largely in agreement with the computers on these teams with the only serious disagreement being Louisville. Obviously Ken and Dan are a little more suspicious about the Cardinal's ability to score points than the coaches and media are.
  • Beyond the 4 ranked teams Marshall, Long Island and Portland stand out as having good-to-decent ratings by the computers. That's not a surprise for Marshall and LI who are coming off of successful seasons, but maybe Portland will be better than we thought back in July?
  • Ken and Dan are basically in agreement for all the teams except Eastern Michigan where there is a 43 place difference. I just think that's interesting.

Conference Rankings

Next, here are where each team is predicted to finish within their conference. Some conferences have both a coaches poll and media poll, others have one but not the other. Conference USA doesn't have a preseason poll of any kind which prompted Ken Pomeroy to organize his own. I've listed the results for all the ones I could find. I also extrapolated conference rankings from Dan and Ken's rankings. Also, some conferences rank teams overall and others split into divisions. Rankings listed are overall except where specifically notated.

Polls used: ACC Coaches and Media, Patriot League, OVC, NEC, Big East Coaches and Media, Big 12, SoCon Coaches and Media, WCC, Atlantic Sun, MAC, and the KP CUSA poll.

Conference Rankings
Opponent Conference Location Media Coaches KenPom Hanner
Maryland ACC Neutral 6 6 11 9
Duke ACC Neutral 2 2 1 1
Lafayette Patriot Home
4 5 6
Morehead St OVC Home
4 (Div) 5 5
Long Island NEC Home
1 4 4
Notre Dame Big East Road 3 3 3 5
Baylor Big 12 Home
2 4 3
Samford SoCon Home 4 (Div) 6 (Div) 11 11
Portland WCC Home
8 7 6
Lipscomb A. Sun Home 8 8 8 6
Marshall CUSA Home 2
2 4
Louisville Big East Road 1 1 2 1
Eastern Michigan MAC Home 6 (Div)
10 10

  • Duke, Louisville, Baylor, Marshall, and Long Island are teams that at least one group likes to contend for their conference title (ranked 1 or 2). None of those teams are surprising.
  • A couple of teams are high-to-middle of the pack: Notre Dame, Maryland, Morehead St, Lafayette. Everyone else is closer to the bottom of the league than they are the top.

Sadly, I have no hope to offer you season ticket holders. The first impressions of this schedule have proven to be correct: it is pretty strong on the road/neutral site games and pretty weak at home. Marshall and Long Island might prove to be better games than the school names might suggest, but we knew that back in July. The only team that might prove to be moderately more interesting to watch than we initially thought is Portland, but it's a bit of a stretch.

At least there's always conference season.