“We do more than move the needle, we are the needle“- John Calipari, Big Blue Madness 2011
That famous quote from John Calipari’s third state of the union speech at Big Blue Madness has proven to be one that can sum up the entire Cal era. For the past six seasons Kentucky basketball has been the show as superstar after superstar have made their impact in Lexington and on the world of college basketball.
Last year the talk of 40-0 and platoons was brought up every time anyone was talking hoops and the Cats’ eventual loss was a bigger story than the team that ended up winning. After that year of dominating the basketball conversation, Coach Cal once again has his team at the forefront of college roundball with a number one ranking and a new batch of superstars. Need proof? Well look no further than Jeff Eisenburg’s most intriguing non-conference games of the upcoming season which is chock-full of Kentucky games and references to the Cats. Topping the list? A showdown with Duke in the Champion’s Classic:
1. Duke vs. Kentucky, Nov. 17 (Chicago): The heavyweight matchup many expected in last year’s national title game never materialized because Wisconsin upset the Wildcats. Now Kentucky and Duke will meet a eight months later at the Champion’s Classic, albeit with many new faces on both sides. This will be much of the nation’s first glimpse of heralded freshman Skal Labissiere and Jamal Murray from Kentucky and Derryck Thornton and Brandon Ingram from Duke.
[Yahoo Sports: The 25 most intriguing non-league games of the 2015-16 season]
Also making the list were #3. Kentucky @ Kansas, #8. Louisville @ Kentucky, and #15. Kentucky @ UCLA. Four of the top 15 non-conference games feature UK and the four games were the most of any school by far. With the season just under a month away, the school in Lexington is once again the center of the college basketball universe. After an immense hangover following the loss to Wisconsin, it seems the fun has returned to Kentucky basketball.
Which of the non-conference games are you most looking forward to?