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Potential Trap Game on 2012-13 Basketball Schedule

Long Beach State proved to be a challenge for the Cats just before Christmas break in the 2009-10 season.

Long Beach State proved to be a challenge for the Cats just before Christmas break in the 2009-10 season.

Earlier this week, Stuart Hammer wrote a post about an article which picked seven teams that Kentucky should be worried about in 2013: Duke, Baylor, Louisville, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee, and Indiana (if the Cats would meet the Hoosiers in the NCAA Tournament). I agree, for the most part, that those are games you can pick out from the schedule that will be tougher games, or in Indiana’s case, a tough challenge in the post-season for the Cats. The only criticism I have with that list is Baylor (at Rupp) being selected over Notre Dame (in South Bend). With as many players that Baylor has lost, even with a good class coming in, I see that game playing out similar to the way the St. John’s game played out last year in Rupp. Notre Dame, on the other hand, will be our first true road test against a very experienced Notre Dame team. If the Cats bring an undefeated record into South Bend, you can expect the atmosphere there to be as hostile as any that the Cats will face all year.

Notre Dame, however, is not a team that will “sneak up” on the Cats, nor would any of the six previously mentioned teams on the regular season schedule. Calipari wll drill it in our kids’ heads that it will be a war in South Bend, and he will remind them of the loss last year’s team took in their first true road game in Bloomington. It will be a tough game either way, but UK won’t go into it thinking that it won’t be anything other than a war against a solid Big East team on the road.

So which team could sneak up on Kentucky this year? Which team could give the Cats a tough game when they aren’t exactly expecting one? What game can I see on the 2012-13 schedule as a “trap game”?

If I had to pick one trap game on next year’s non-conference schedule, it would be December 22nd against Marshall. It’s the last game Kentucky plays before Christmas break, and their opponent when they return from the Holidays is Louisville. It would be very easy for the team to look forward to coming home to see their families and also thinking ahead to that Louisville game, and maybe not showing up against Marshall. UK has struggled in the past against mid-major opponents right before Christmas break, such as in 2009-10 when UK found themselves tied with Long Beach State at halftime, and last season when they held only a 6-point lead over Loyola at the half. It took a 17-2 second-half run or Kentucky to open things up against Loyola, and it could have been a very interesting finish if not for a career-high 24 points from Kyle Wiltjer. If a team as super-talented a last year’s 38-2 National Champions can struggle against a mid-major, then this team can too.

Marshall may be known for football, but their hoops squad has been very competitive of late. Last year, Marshall cracked the Top 25 polls, defeated Cincinnati, and finished off the year with a 21-14 record. The Herd had hopes of an NCAA Tournament appearance last season and ended up in the NIT, but return enough from last year to make a run at the NCAA’s again this year. Marshall returns leading scorer DeAndre Kane (16.5 ppg) and Dennis Tinnon (10.2 ppg), and you betcha Kentucky will be their Super Bowl this season.

I don’t think we have to worry about a Calipari-coached team with as much talent as this one actually losing to a mid-major team, but as Calipari likes to say, his players are human and they are not computers. Marshall is a game that I think could be an interesting one and closer than most would expect.

Article written by John Wilmhoff

Former beer vendor, college mascot and ESPN editor. This spring, you can also find me blogging about the Reds on Follow me on Twitter: @JohnWilmhoff

20 Comments for Potential Trap Game on 2012-13 Basketball Schedule

  1. Aaron Craft's Rosacea
    2:03 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    UK by 30

  2. Marcus L. Owens
    2:09 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    By 40

  3. G
    2:09 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    Vols gonna spank that a$$ this year!

  4. Can't wait
    2:11 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    This is one of the games that i am really looking forward too. Hoping that we can get a few tickets for it since its right before Christmas. I’m from Ashland so Marshall is a pretty big deal around here. Also my sister goes to Marshall and I go to UK so it is a grudge match of sorts.

  5. #1's Viagra
    2:12 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    What’s the under / over on games Joker coaches this season? 7… 8… 9…?

  6. Bob Sugar
    2:14 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    HAHAHAHAAH.. a trap game vs. Marshall, where did this nugget come from? Of all topics available you chose to talk about a trap game in December for the Basketball team without even seeing Kentucky play or having the faintest clue about how Marshall’s team will play or matchup with Kentucky. This conjecture is exactly the rubbish we have come to know and despise from KSR. We drop IU and pickup Marshall around the Christmas Holdiay and all of the suddden you would have us believe they are a worthy ooponent. Nice try John Wilmhoffffff, but next time you’ll have to better than “Marshall is a game that I think could be an interesting one and closer than most would expect.” Either UK wins or loses, the rest is irrelevant.

  7. King Nate
    2:20 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    This is the worst post of the year. UK wins this game by 25 even if Noel is back on a plane to NE.

    MU hoops is a joke!

  8. StillTrollinISee
    2:41 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    6 can you let go of your anger about the IU game? “We drop IU and pickup Marshall around the Christmas Holdiay”…one has nothing to do with the other. We didn’t drop IU for Marshall. We didn’t drop IU for any game. We usually play IU closer to the beginning of the month, not around Christmas, so if you want to say we dropped it for any game the Baylor game is closer than the Marshall game.

  9. Steve Fitts
    2:54 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    The Cats had better remember, as Roger Miller taught us, “You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd.” If the Cats expect to skate to an easy win against the Thundering Herd, they may be in for trouble! As Roger Miller said, “Knuckle down, buckle down, do it, do it, do it!!!”

  10. Evil Bill Cosby
    2:55 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    we dropped iu two months ago because cal didn’t want to play road games and now he wants us to play iu, unc, ku, ul on a home/away basis every year… what am i not understanding?

  11. JPhelps
    3:01 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    Wholeheartedly disagree… Firstly, Kane averaged 16 points against a mid-major schedule. Yeah they beat Cincinnati, but Cincinnati was vastly overrated in the Big Least. I know. I actually attended some UC games last year (UK undergrad/UC postgrad student) and thought they had a outside chance of not winning a game after February 1st. They were that weak! The only valid point you made is that we will be their Super Bowl as for which we are everyone’s super bowl. And I’m not being a homer, I’d be excessively surprised to see Marshall come within 20 points of us. Especially at Rupp. Where Cal has NEVER lost.

  12. Casual Observer
    3:19 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    Somebody really went out on a limb with that list

  13. We Aren't Marshall
    3:19 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    10: All of these teams would like UK on their schedule every year which would leave us with a very tough OOC. Meanwhile they round out their OOC with cream puffs (other than challenge games) I think Cal knows they won’t go for it but is saying “put your schedule where your mouth is”.

  14. BPsycho
    3:20 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    They are Marshall! They will die!

  15. John Wilmhoff
    3:36 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    The post doesn’t have anything to do with Indiana or trying to validate UK’s schedule. There’s not many teams besides the 6 listed above who could give UK a game in the non-conference schedule, but Marshall is one that COULD do it, that is all, and that game right before Chritmas as been dangerous in the past. This time, they even have UL right after they come back.

  16. John Wilmhoff
    3:36 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    *has been dangerous

  17. UKgrad-in-h-town
    4:35 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    UK grad, grew up in Huntington, not going to miss this game…..BPsycho…with that comment…let’s meet and let me buy u a “beer” before the game….

  18. You are.....Nothing
    4:38 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    I am also a UK grad that get up in the WV ghetto of Huntington (home of the Tywanna Patterson Bob Evans). Cant wait for the Cats to whip up on the herd by 20. These clowns around here think that Dennis Tennon is going to be able to play with Noel…..hahahahaha

  19. Head Bussa
    6:14 pm August 2, 2012 Permalink

    Trap game? Marshall? Are you freakin’ kidding me? The Thundering Nerds?

  20. herdu
    2:50 am August 3, 2012 Permalink

    Marshall has played at Rupp before and were very competitive. Also, Marshall gave Calipari’s Memphis teams fits in C-USA. I’m glad UK diehards see a big blowout. Just don’t bet the family farm on it.