Most of the Cats non-conference games will make Calipari yawn.
November 13th: Morehead St. (Home)
Last season: 20-16 (lost in 1st round of NCAA Tournament)
Thoughts: Defending OVC champs, picked to win conference again, Return 3 of top 4 scorers. Look for Cats to be scratchy in this one, but able to comfortably win. I see Patterson and Bledsoe having big games.
Prediction: UK 75-59
November 16th: Miami (OH) (Home)
Last season: 17-13 (lost 1st round of MAC tourney)
Thoughts: Slow down team could keep game close, only 2 seniors on roster
Prediction: UK 81-59
November 19th: Sam Houston State (Home)
Last season: 18-12 (lost in 1st round of Southland tourney)
Thoughts: Return several of their top players, but Southland is a poor league, look for Cats to break 100 in this one. Worst non-conference team the Cats play.
Prediction: UK 104-70
November 21st: Rider (Home)
Last season: 19-13 (Lost in semis of MAAC tourney)
Thoughts: Remember this name: Ryan Thompson. But don’t worry, UK is way better than Mississippi St. and they know now that Rider presents a challenge, so don’t expect them to overlook the Broncs.
Prediction: UK 88-67
November 24th: Cleveland State (In Cancun, Mexico)
Last season: 26-11 (Lost in 2nd round of NCAA Tournament)
Thoughts: Lost most of its key players from last years team, but still should be stiffest challenge for Cats up to this point in the season.
Prediction: UK 83-67
November 25th: Stanford/Virginia (In Cancun, Mexico)
Last season: Virginia (10-18), Stanford (20-14)
Thoughts: Either way, this will be the first major team the Cats play. But neither on paper should pose a serious threat. Stanford had no problem scoring last year, it was stopping teams that they couldn’t do. Look for UK to pull out a 10-15 point win against either team.
November 30th: UNC-Asheville (in Louisville)
Last season: 15-16 (Lost in semis of Big South tourney)
Thoughts: In games against 3 ranked teams last year, gave up 95 PPG. Look for much of the same from UK.
Prediction: UK 100-59
December 5th: North Carolina (Home)
Last season: 34-4 (Won National Title)
Thoughts: Moment of truth game for UK. Fans have become way too overconfident about this game. But, UK appears to have strong advantage in the backcourt. Watch out for Ed Davis, feel like he could hurt Cats. A 50-50 coin flip, even at Rupp.
Prediction: UK 81-79
December 9th: Connecticut (in New York City)
Last season: 31-5 (Lost in Final Four)
Thoughts: Will be MORE up and down than the UNC game. Demarcus Cousins could dominate in this game. But, if Wall and Bledsoe struggle, could be a loss for UK.
Prediction: UK 90-85
December 12th: Indiana (Road)
Last season: 6-25 (Lost in 1st round of Big Ten tourney)
Thoughts: THE TRAP GAME. I am telling you, I think this game has surprise loss written all over it. It is the only true road game UK plays in the non-conference. They will be coming off two huge games against UNC and UCONN. And Indiana will be flying under the radar. The Hoosiers have no reason to win this game, except if UK doesn’t show up, they DO have the talent this year to beat the Cats. As unpopular as this may be, I think UK slips up here.
Prediction: IU 74-72
December 19th: Austin Peay (Home)
Last season: 19-14 (Lost in finals of OVC tourney)
Thoughts: This team always has solid talent. Wes Channels averaged 16.5PPG last season. But, by this point, Cats should really be shaping up for conference play.
Prediction: UK 84-64
December 21st: Drexel (Home)
Last season: 15-14 (Lost in 1st round of Colonial tourney)
Thoughts: This team could not score last season, and lost their top scorer. Will be the best defensive performance of the non-conference season for the Cats.
Prediction: UK 79-50
December 23rd: Long Beach State (Home)
Last season: 15-15 (Lost in 1st round of Big West tourney)
Thoughts: After long trip, the 49ers should pose no real threat for the Cats. Not to mention, they are really poor 3-point shooters, so an upset is VERY unlikely.
Prediction: UK 89-65
December 29th: Hartford (Home)
Last season: 7-26 (Lost in America East tourney)
Thoughts: For whatever reason, this game is on primetime on ESPN2. This is likely the biggest blowout in the Cats non-conference. Hartford is a slower team, but its hard to slow down Wall and Bledsoe.
Prediction: UK 80-50
January 2nd: Louisville (Home)
Last season: 31-6 (Lost in Elite Eight)
Thoughts: I think the Cats matchupVERY well with the Cards. UL has quick guards, UK has quicker guards. UL has big, mobile body in Samardo Samuels, UK has a better one in Cousins. I just think this game sets up for a BIG win from Kentucky. I also think Patrick Patterson will dominate and by the ultimate difference.
Prediction: UK 86-70