The University of Kentucky released its complete 2017-18 basketball schedule and it includes the standard 18 conference games, nine of which are on the road.
Let’s rank those road games and then we’ll take a closer look at the nine home SEC contests some other time.
When: Saturday, February 3
Three words: Michael. Porter. Junior.
This is a must-see game.
2. Texas A&M
When: Saturday, February 10
A&M returns Robert Williams, who is back for a sophomore season after passing on the NBA draft as a potential lottery pick. The Aggies will also bring back Tyler Davis to play next to Williams inside, as well as D.J. Hogg, a double-digit scorer from a year ago, at small forward. That’s a pretty nasty frontcourt and we know how tight A&M has played Kentucky in the past. Three of the last four games in College Station ended in overtime.
When: Saturday, March 3
Kentucky will be in town for Chris Chiozza and John Egbunu’s senior day festivities in Gainesville. It will be a revenge game for the Cats after the Gators curb-stomped them a year ago; although this year’s Kentucky roster is completely different, and probably unaware that game even happened.
4. South Carolina
When: Tuesday, January 16
A surprise Final Four team a year ago, South Carolina will be without Sindarius Thornwell in 2017-18 as it looks to build off a great tournament run.
But Columbia is a fun town and you might see John Calipari get ejected, so this is one I would consider.
When: Wednesday, February 14
Is this the year Bruce Pearl puts Auburn basketball back on the map? He has the weapons with Mustapha Heron, Austin Wiley, Danjel Purifoy and Chuma Okeke, among others; plus Auburn returns each of its top four scorers and seven of its top nine overall from last season.
Auburn Arena will be rocking, just as it was in 2016 when the Tigers upset the Cats.
When: Saturday, January 13
Vanderbilt will have the same cast of characters in Bryce Drew’s second season at the wheel, minus Luke Kornet. So get ready for more Riley LaChance, Matthew Fisher-Davis and Jeff Roberson, the Commodores’ 11th-year seniors.
When: Saturday, January 6
Here’s what I know about Tennessee basketball right now: Rick Barnes is the head coach; there’s a player named Admiral Schofield and I’m pretty sure he’s back; they signed a JUCO player from Vincennes University; and Robert Hubbs III graduated. I know nothing else about Tennessee basketball at this time.
When: Tuesday, February 20
Now that Malik Monk is gone, do we care about Arkansas?
Moses Kingsley and Dusty Hannahs graduated.
When: Wednesday, January 3
The Cats’ first road trip of conference play will be to Baton Rouge to meet the Tigers under the new leadership of Will Wade in his SEC debut, which has already been billed as a “Gold Game.” Freshman point guard Tremont Waters, once a Kentucky target, is the only player I can name on LSU’s team. Stay home.
Plan accordingly, BBN.