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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Can This Year’s Non-Conference Schedule be the Hardest Ever?

The AP has been ranking teams in the PRESEASON since 1961-62 and in that time, Kentucky has played quite a few difficult non-conference slates.  But next season, on paper, has the potential to be one of the toughest in Kentucky history.  There are AT LEAST 7 NCAA Tournament teams from last year, and 5 of those teams won at least 1 game in the tournament.  Of those 7 teams, it is very likely that Kansas, Texas, North Carolina, Louisville, and UCLA will all be ranked in the preseason, with Providence as a darkhorse.  But where will it stack against other great UK non-conference slates?  Here are the TOP 9 I picked out since 1961-62:

#1. 1999-00 (13 total non-conference games)
Ranked Opponents: #8 Arizona, #5 Michigan State, #16 Utah, at #21 Maryland, #22 Maryland, #23 Indiana
Additional NCAA Tournament Opponents: Penn, Dayton, Louisville, Missouri

#2. 1998-99 (14 total non-conference games)
Ranked Opponents: #2 Maryland, #2 Duke, #8 Kansas, #10 UCLA, #11 Indiana
Additional NCAA Tournament Opponents: Miami (FL), Louisville

#3. 1984-85 (9 total non-conference games)
Ranked Opponents: #10 SMU, at #11 Indiana, #11 Kansas, at #14 Louisville, #17 NC State
Additional NCAA Tournament Opponents: Purdue

#4. 1993-94 (13 total non-confence games)
Ranked Opponents: #7 Louisville, #11 UMASS, #13 Arizona, at #14 Syracuse, #21 Indiana
Additional NCAA Tournament Opponents: Texas

#5. 1996-97 (15 total non-conference games)
Ranked Opponents: #8 Indiana, #12 Syracuse, at #16 Louisville, #18 Villanova, #20 Clemson
Additional NCAA Tournament Opponents: College of Charleston, Purdue

#6. 1979-80 (11 total non-conference games)
Ranked Opponents: #1 Indiana, #3 Duke, #8 Notre Dame, #9 Purdue
Additional NCAA Tournament Opponents: Bradley, Iona

#7. 1978-79 (7 total non-conference games)
Ranked Opponents: #2 Notre Dame, #5 Kansas, at #8 Indiana, #8 Syracuse, #17 Texas A&M
Additional NCAA Tournament Opponents: None

#8. 2005-06 (14 total non-conference games)
Ranked Opponents: #4 Louisville, #13 West Virginia, #18 Iowa, #18 Indiana
Additional NCAA Tournament Opponents: North Carolina, Iona, Kansas

#9. 2011-12 (15 total non-conference games)
Ranked Opponents: #4 Louisville, #5 North Carolina, #12 Kansas
Additional NCAA Tournament Opponents: Indiana, Loyola (MD), Lamar

Of those 9 teams, only the 1979 team did not make the NCAA Tournament and 2 of the 9 would go on to the Final Four, with the 2012 team winning it all.  And for those asking, Joe B. Hall had 3 of the 9, Rick Pitino 2 of the 9, Tubby Smith 3 of the 9, and John Calipari 1 of the 9.

So, do you think this year’s schedule can stack up with these?  I don’t see it surpassing the 2 consecutive years Tubby put together in the late 1990’s, but I wouldn’t be surprised seeing it in the Top when it’s all said and done.

 

Article written by Bryan the Intern

5 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Can This Year’s Non-Conference Schedule be the Hardest Ever?



  1. Haha
    9:50 am May 19, 2014 Permalink

    No comments, very odd for a BTI post. This is probably the 3rd or 4th hardest, you’re right BTI.



  2. UKBlue1!
    10:02 am May 19, 2014 Permalink

    It needs to be tough. The SEC got 3 and 4 teams in the tourney the last 2 years. Its facing getting 3 or less next year. If the Cats want to get a decent seed its going to have to play a tough non-conference. Its just a Fact.



  3. Bluegrass
    10:41 am May 19, 2014 Permalink

    Guys my twitter got hacked this weekend. I am starting a new twitter, @johnrobicshair34. Should be up in the next day or two. Please unfollow the old account.



  4. Cal's aging in dog years
    10:51 am May 19, 2014 Permalink

    When I was scrolling down the site, I thought that pic of Cal was from the early Memphis days. Then I looked closer at the tie and am thinking it is first year at UK.

    Holy cow…this guy is gonna kill himself the way he runs around on behalf of UK. (Yes, I entirely get that he makes a lot of money and that all of us would trade positions with him (in a heartbeat!) if given the chance.) That said, this whole UK thing…the recruiting, the pressure, the scrutiny, will either drive him away or over 300 pounds sometime sooner than we any rationale UK fan wants.

    He has aged about 12 to 14 years since April 2009.



  5. Tha Blonde Bomber
    11:56 am May 19, 2014 Permalink

    He’s also become the most important man in college basketball