Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports released his list of what he considers to be the Top 55 Non-Conference games of the 2012-2013 season. Spoiler Alert: Kentucky is included in 5 of the games listed, including 2 of the top 5.
-The Kentucky/Louisville game on December 29th in the Yum Center topped Goodman’s list as the most highly anticipated game in the non-conference schedule. The two teams are already being tabbed in the top 3 in nearly every pre-season poll. The rivalry game is always a big one, regardless of the potential of each team. Coming off of a Final 4 clash, the game this season elicits even more excitement. Louisville returns the bulk of their Final 4 team (roster subject to change at all times with Rick Pitino), while Kentucky’s roster will look entirely different.
-The Kentucky/Duke game in the Champions Classic on November 19th made Goodman’s list at the #3 spot. The two teams have combined for some of the most entertaining NCAA tournament games of the 90′s, including the infamous 1992 game as well as the incredible “comeback Cats” game in 1998 under Tubby Smith. Two of the most relevant programs in college basketball, with two of the best coaches in college basketball, will be squaring off for a regular season game that has been a long time coming.
-The Baylor/Kentucky game, which will be much higher on the list a season from now when they face off in double-header at Dallas Cowboy Stadium, made the list at #14. Two programs who have been killing it on the recruiting trails, and recently faced one another in the Elite 8, combine to make an exciting non-conference match up.
-A game much maligned by some fans, featuring Kentucky/Notre Dame, made the list at #19. I was a little surprised to see the game so high, but the Big East/SEC Challenge lacks a marquee match-up and this game might be the closest thing to that status. The road game for the young Wildcats should prove to be a good early season test for Calipari to use as a measurement of where his teams stands heading into conference play.
-The Kentucky/Maryland game was the final UK game to make the list, coming in at #40. The fact that the game is being played in Brooklyn might add some flavor. Ten years ago this game may have been more exciting, but Maryland has not been able to ascend back to the top of the ACC.
To check out the entire list of Goodman’s Top 50 Non-Conference games for the 2012-2013 season, click here.
*Just to get the juices flowing on this early afternoon, where do you think the Indiana/Kentucky game might have landed on this list had it been played in Rupp Arena? And then where do you think that game might have landed had it been played in Lucas Oil Stadium?
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