The Southeastern Conference finally released the 2020 basketball schedule this afternoon, giving us 18 more games to pore over. We’ll have plenty of analysis of Kentucky’s 2019-20 schedule in the coming days and weeks, but for now, here are five quick reactions…
|Jan. 4 (Sat.)||Missouri||SEC Network||2:00 p.m.|
|Jan. 7 (Tue.)||at Georgia||ESPN/2/U||9:00 p.m.|
|Jan. 11 (Sat.)||Alabama||ESPN/2/U||12:00 p.m.|
|Jan. 15 (Wed.)||at South Carolina||SEC Network||6:30 p.m.|
|Jan. 18 (Sat.)||at Arkansas||ESPN/2/U||4:00 p.m.|
|Jan. 21 (Tue.)||Georgia||ESPN/2/U/SECN||7:00 p.m.|
|Jan. 29 (Wed.)||Vanderbilt||SEC Network||6:30 p.m.|
|Feb. 1 (Sat.)||at Auburn||ESPN/2/U||6/8:00 p.m.|
|Feb. 4 (Tue.)||Mississippi State||ESPN/2/U||9:00 p.m.|
|Feb. 8 (Sat.)||at Tennessee||CBS||1:00 p.m.|
|Feb. 11 (Tue.)||at Vanderbilt||ESPN/2/U/SECN||7:00 p.m.|
|Feb. 15 (Sat.)||Ole Miss||ESPN/2/U||2:00 p.m.|
|Feb. 18 (Tue.)||at LSU||ESPN/2/U||9:00 p.m.|
|Feb. 22 (Sat.)||Florida||ESPN/2/U||6/8:00 p.m.|
|Feb. 25 (Tue.)||at Texas A&M||ESPN/2/U/SECN||7:00 p.m.|
|Feb. 29 (Sat.)||Auburn||CBS||3:45 p.m.|
|March 3 (Tue.)||Tennessee||ESPN/2/U||9:00 p.m.|
|March 7 (Sat.)||at Florida||CBS||1:00 p.m.|
1. Four Tuesday 9 p.m. games
Considering we’ve already got 11 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. tips in the non-conference schedule (why???), I was already worrying about my caffeine intake this winter. Kentucky will have four Tuesday night 9 p.m. games in league play, same as last season. There’s also potential for two 8:00 p.m. games, on the road at Auburn and home vs. Florida, both on Saturday nights.
2. The return of Wednesday games
Last season, Kentucky only played conference games on Tuesday and Saturdays. This year, they’ve got two Wednesday games on the schedule: at South Carolina on January 15 and vs. Vanderbilt on January 29.
3. Road Trip potential
If you’re looking to knock another SEC arena off your bucket list with a weekend road trip, here are four Saturdays to look at:
- January 18: at Arkansas (4 p.m.)
- February 1: at Auburn (6 or 8 p.m.)
- February 8: at Tennessee (1 p.m.)
- March 7: at Florida (1 p.m.)
With the exception of Tennessee, none of these games are close to Lexington. Arkansas is in rebuilding mode, but Bud Walton Arena is definitely a cool experience if you’ve never been, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Fayetteville. Auburn is always a fun trip, especially if you toast a victory at The Hound.
After my experiences there, I will never advise anyone to go to Knoxville, but the 1 p.m. tip make a day trip possible. Gainesville is a haul, but could be worth it for a showdown that may have huge implications on the SEC and Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament seed. What up, Kerry Blackshear Jr.?
4. Will College GameDay come for Florida?
Both of Kentucky’s games vs. Florida are on Saturdays, which I’m sure is by design. On February 22, the Cats will host the Gators at Rupp and on March 7, they’ll close the regular season in Gainesville. The game at Rupp will be at night on the ESPN networks while the game in Gainesville will be on CBS at 1 p.m., so if I had to guess now, I’d say there’s a good chance GameDay comes to Lexington on February 22.
5. I love that Kentucky plays Tennessee on Senior Day
Kentucky typically closes the home schedule with Florida or another random SEC opponent. This year, the Cats will host Tennessee on Senior Night for a Tuesday 9 p.m. showdown. Sure, the only senior on the roster this season is Nate Sestina (and he’s really a grad transfer), but given the new life in the rivalry and the fact that the Vols lost so much firepower, what a way to go. Bring it on.