January 8th: HOME against Mississippi State (9-3)
– The 9-3 record might be a bit misleading as the Bulldogs 9 wins have come against Prairie View, Kennesaw State, Mississippi Valley State, Jackson State, Loyola, SE Louisiana, Florida A&M, Florida Gulf Coast, and South Florida. Point being, they’ve beat NOBODY. They played their first quality opponent December 23rd (UNLV) and lost by 16. At Rupp, the Bulldogs are no challenge.
January 11th: ROAD against Vanderbilt (7-4)
-Probably the most difficult game of the month, but probably for the fact of WHERE it’s being played over who it’s against. Memorial Gym is always tough, plain and simple. Calipari is just 2-2 there. But the Commodores are still in rebuild mode and Saint Louis just beat Vandy by 8…..in Memorial. Austin Peay and Marshall lost to Vandy by 2 points each…..in Memorial. Cats should expect to win this game.
January 14th: ROAD against Arkansas (10-2)
-If Cats get through Vandy-Arkansas double, this WILL run the January schedule. The problem with the Arkansas game is that the Hogs score the ball very well, something UK has struggled with at times. Arkansas currently 12th in the country in scoring. If Cats bring defensive “A game”, they should be OK.
January 18th: HOME against Tennessee (8-4)
-Keep an eye on the UT-LSU game in Baton Rouge on January 7th. That’s because the Vols have yet to win a true road game this year and that game against LSU will be their only other chance before coming to Rupp. Tennessee has been wildly inconsistent this season, but they don’t shoot the ball well.
January 21st: HOME against Texas A&M (8-4)
-The Aggies no longer have Elston Turner and it shows. A&M ranks 233rd in the country in scoring. No Turner means no chance for Texas A&M in Rupp. By the way, the Aggies best win this season: Houston.
January 25th: HOME against Georgia (6-5)
-I think Georgia is the 13th best SEC team, also knows as the 2nd worst. They are 258th in the RPI, they can’t score, they don’t defend, and they turn the ball over a bunch. This team will try and slow it up and shoot a high percentage. Even still, this is the cupcake game in January.
January 28th: ROAD against LSU (9-2)
-This could be a trap game as the Tigers have played some good teams close, losing by 2 to UMASS and 7 to Memphis. They also have a win over Butler, although the Bulldogs have taken a step back this season. But UK seems to have LSU’s number, beating them all 5 times under Calipari and crushing them both times in Baton Rouge. If Cats are undefeated in January come this game, I will feel comfortable they keep it going here.
Considering the embarrassing 40-0 talk that came back to bite many in the fanbase, it’s hard to ask for perfection from this team. But I will be surprised if UK is not 7-0 in SEC at the end of the month. They are certainly going to be favored in each game and they only team with even a fraction of the overall talent of Kentucky is Arkansas. So I am calling for an undefeated January heading into a much more difficult February for the Cats. What kind of month are you looking for from this team after looking through the 7-game slate?