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ESPN ranks UK and Florida’s non-conference schedules as the toughest in the SEC

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It’s no secret that most of the league’s non-conference schedules this season are weak. SEC Commissioner Mike Slive even called out teams during Media Days in July for their watery non-conference slates, and has called in a “scheduling consultant” to help them beef up their tournament resumes. ESPN’s Myron Medcalf went through each SEC team’s non-conference schedules and ranked them on a “toughness scale,” 1 being softer than Kevin Stalling and 10 being strong as Julius Randle. Not surprisingly, Kentucky’s schedule got top marks:


Toughest: vs. Michigan State (Nov. 12 in Chicago), at North Carolina (Dec. 14), Louisville (Dec. 28)
Next toughest: Baylor (Dec. 6 in Arlington, Texas), vs. Providence (Dec. 1 in Brooklyn, N.Y.), Boise State (Dec. 10)
The rest: UNC-Asheville (Nov. 8), Northern Kentucky (Nov. 10), Robert Morris (Nov. 17), Texas-Arlington (Nov. 19), Cleveland State (Nov. 25), Eastern Michigan (Nov. 27), Belmont (Dec. 21)

Toughness scale (1-10): 10 — Is there a rating higher than 10? John Calipari is not going to bring his highly touted recruiting class to Division I basketball with an easy introduction. Just the opposite, in fact. If Kentucky gets through this slate, then the Wildcats will more than justify the hype. They’ll face Michigan State, a team that’s certainly in the national title preseason conversation, in Chicago in early November. They play at Chapel Hill in mid-December. And then, the reigning champ, Louisville, comes to Lexington on Dec. 28. Oh, Baylor and Boise State — who should both be in the preseason top 25 — will be thirsty for an upset. The only knock against this lineup is that it features only one true road game. Still, good luck, youngsters.

Here’s how he ranked the rest of the league’s non-conference games:

Alabama: 7
Arkansas: 3
Auburn: 3
Florida: 10
Georgia: 6
LSU: 5
Mississippi State: 3
Missouri: 5
Ole Miss: 6
South Carolina: 7
Tennessee: 8
Texas A&M: 1
Vanderbilt: 6

Come on, Texas A&M…really? Step it up, Aggies.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

20 Comments for ESPN ranks UK and Florida’s non-conference schedules as the toughest in the SEC

  1. Catfan23
    1:21 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Why can you guys or none of the other media that saw the pickup games between this years team and the pros from this past weekend not go into detail and say anything? Will there be a certain time in a month or two that we can find out information from what you guys seen at the pickup games?

  2. SEC = Football
    1:30 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    The writers here, and the Kentucky fanbase in general, for some reason think the rest of the SEC gives a rat’s #$% about basketball. I assure you they do not. They have no incentive whatsoever to schedule games that their fans will not attend or even know will be played. In this conference, it’s football, football, football, then baseball. Basketball is a distant afterthought. I’ve honestly had fans of other SEC schools tell me that basketball is something to make UK feel important.

  3. I Sayy
    1:38 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    #2 That’s the kind of things people say when they suck. And also, we are the needle for college basketball

  4. UK Homer
    1:45 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    2 – Who cares what other SEC teams think? I bet they, like the rest of the nation, fill out brackets every March. If they want to ignore a significant source of school pride and $$$, then go right ahead. It’s easy to say you don’t try to care when your school sucks.

  5. Freddy
    1:58 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    #2 If they really don’t care then why do there fans pack there arenas when UK comes to town??? Sounds to me like it matters to them. We hold this conference up in basketball (with a little help from Florida) point blank period!!!

  6. SEC = Football
    2:15 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Boy, did I apparently tick some people off. All I’m saying is they don’t worry about scheduing because they don’t care and for UK fans to act like they place any insignificance on basketball is just wrong. They don’t say that because they suck; they say it because they don’t care and that’s okay. Yes, UK may be the needle of college basketball but the sport is far less popular nationwide than football. In terms of popularity, college basketball only outranks football in like 4 states. People’s interests are just different. Again, okay. I don’t care about soccer at all but it has nothing to do with how good UK’s soccer teams are. I just don’t care and that, again, is okay.

    Why does it matter what the rest of the conference thinks? Why was this post made about their schedules? Captain Obvious tells me that the only school who puts any emphasis on the sport will have the most compelling schedule, if for nothing else but to make up for the weakness and lack of interest within the conference. People often label the UK fanbase (particularly the bball only sect) as the “worst” or “dumbest” in sports. A huge part of that has to do with fans and media talking trash to opposing fanbases about something they don’t care about. Why not stick out our chests and proclaim dominance over the conference for those cheerleading championships as well? Sorry if I offend anyone.

  7. BNClay
    2:15 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Ditto Freddy.

  8. random drug testing
    2:25 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    is anyone in the NCAA testing for HGH ????

  9. NorthernKYcatfan
    2:27 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Cool post #2.

  10. tim miller
    2:32 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    #2 You stir the hornet’s nest up and then wonder why the hornet’s sting.

  11. J in Orlando
    2:38 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    I dont know how helpful this whole rating system is. If UL doesnt meet UNC in the preseason tourney, their second toughest game is WKU…and they got a 6

  12. Gut feeling
    2:45 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    #2 something tells me #2 watches alot of football with a bottle of lotion and tissues near by. Good theory by the way….. Football is the most popular sport nationwide therefore no other sports should exist. P.S. as a side note if your theory were true we would only be watching NASCAR 24/7 sound good? Yeah didn’t think so. Fug off.

  13. SEC = Football
    2:47 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    tim – I guess I just underestimated how incredibly sensitive people are. The article is reporting on an assessment of the other SEC schools’ basketaball schedules. Why does me saying that those schedules are bad because their fans and administrations don’t care about or put emphasis on the sport “stir up” anyone here? Why would that offend anyone not affiliated with those schools? Why would anyone get mad because someone else doesn’t like basketball?

    I will end by using another example. If Alabama fans were to talk trash to you and proclaim their greatness over you due to their gymnastics championships (I realize they already do this for football but work with me), what would your response be to them? Would that response be reflective of UK’s poor gymnastics teams and your jealously of championship gymnastics? Would you bitter and covet their trophies?

    All people are different and A LOT of UK fans need to come to the realization that some people just don’t care about the same things they do. Good day to you all.

  14. Matt Jones
    2:49 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    I would lick Randle’s sweaty testicles.

  15. Jack Bauer
    3:05 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    SEC=Football almost everything you said in your posts is factless and opinion based. So congrats on sharing your opinion but that doesnt validate your points. Only about 4 states favor basketball over football? Get out of the south much? Football in the northeast falls behind basketball and lacrosse.

  16. Where the legend lives on, from the Chippewa on down ...
    4:02 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    In the Dakota’s, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and most of Michigan, hockey (men AND women’s) is more popular than football and basketball. The next time a North Dakota Fightin’ Sioux hockey fan wants to talk mess about Kentucky’s hockey schedule, I’ll refer to this comment thread for an appropriate response.

  17. blue blue
    5:44 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    Actually I think scheduling does matter. It matters when the commitee picks teams for the ncaa tourney. It matters alot. That’s one of the biggest things talked about at end of season. Is your schedule strong enough. Who did you play… I’m glad we playing who we playing this year. But if we have a not so good year, then that stuff comes into play. NUMBER 2!!! But I think we demolish some teams this year. Hopefully. Lol

  18. UK Homer
    8:55 pm September 11, 2013 Permalink

    SEC=Football: I don’t fill out a gymnastics bracket every March. Gymnastics doesn’t take over the world of sports for a month (even more if you count all the “bubble” drama) every year. Yes, you’re correct that football is king in America, and I hate it when UK fans act like they don’t care about football. Bottom line is these SEC fans have to spend a lot of time with their heads in the sand in order to “not care” about basketball.

  19. Gene T.
    12:10 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    SEC all care about Basketball, just say they don’t because UK reigns. PPL say UK doesn’t care about Football. That is absurd. UK wants to do good in Football as much as anyone in the SEC. The rest of the SEC wants to do good in Basketball. PPl lie when their team sucks.

  20. You Guys Are Missing The Point
    12:40 am September 12, 2013 Permalink

    Sure, the SEC cares somewhat about basketball, but not a single on of those schools (other than UK) would trade a BCS championship for an NCAAB championship. Hell, they wouldn’t trade *any* BCS win for a basketball trophy.