We finally got our hands on Kentucky’s 2018-19 conference schedule, and man, it’s a doozy. Before we go in-depth, here are some quick reactions:
1. Saturdays are for big time basketball
It is not a coincidence that Kentucky’s biggest conference games take place on Saturdays. On six of those nine Saturdays, Kentucky will play Tennessee, Auburn, and Florida, three of the best teams in the league. Saturday isn’t for the boys, it’s for big time basketball. We don’t have game times yet, but go ahead and schedule your social life around these seven games:
- Saturday, January 5: at Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
- Saturday, January 19: at Auburn (Auburn, AL)
- Saturday, February 2: at Florida (Gainesville, FL)
- Saturday, February 16: Tennessee (Lexington, KY)
- Saturday, February 23: Auburn (Lexington, KY)
- Saturday, March 2: at Tennessee (Knoxville, TN)
- Saturday, March 9: Florida (Lexington, KY)
2. Avery Johnson will have Tuscaloosa rocking on January 5
Kentucky opens SEC play vs. Alabama in Tuscaloosa on January 5, and although the Crimson Tide might not have as much buzz as rival Auburn, they’re legit. Avery Johnson’s squad lost Collin Sexton to the NBA, but he’s still got John Petty, Donta Hall, Dazon Ingram, and Tevin Mack, a talented wing who transferred from Texas. Kira Lewis was a late addition to the class and is primed to take over Sexton’s spot at point guard.
I was hoping this game would take place on the same night as the college football national championship so Bama fans wouldn’t care, but no dice. Avery Johnson will do everything in his power to pack Coleman Coliseum and would love nothing more than to upset the Cats to start SEC play. Too bad it’s not gonna happen.
3. …but Kentucky’s trip to Auburn will be even crazier
Who wants to beat Kentucky more than Avery Johnson? Bruce Pearl. Kentucky’s trip to Auburn on Saturday, January 19 will be wild. The Cats have lost their last two games in Auburn Arena, and the Tigers could be even better this year than they were last year. Mustapha Heron may have transferred, but Bryce Brown and Jared Harper will be back, along with Austin Wiley and Danjel Purifoy, who had to sit out last season due to the FBI investigation.
Bruce Pearl is already sweating through shirts in anticipation.
4. No Wednesday or Thursday night games
After coaches complained about it for years, the SEC finally did away with Thursday night games, and Kentucky managed to avoid one of the 27 Wednesday night games. So, if you’re wondering when the Cats will play each week in the SEC, it’s going to be a Tuesday or a Saturday on ESPN.
5. Starkville on a Saturday!
Who wants to go? Don’t all raise your hands at once. Lame town aside, this is not your typical Mississippi State team. Ben Howland has his top six scorers back, including the Weatherspoon brothers, and a Top 25 recruiting class coming in. The Bulldogs are a preseason top 15 team according to CBS Sports and NBC Sports, and the Hump will be rocking.
I just hope there isn’t an ice storm like the last time I went.
6. Will Kentucky vs. Tennessee get GameDay twice?
Tennessee is a top three team coming into the season, which means their trip to Lexington on Saturday, February 16 and Kentucky’s trip to Knoxville on March 2 are prime candidates for ESPN’s “College GameDay.” The Vols beat Kentucky in Rupp and at Thompson-Boling last year and have practically their entire team back, including their top six scorers. With an NCAA regional up for grabs in Louisville, these games are absolutely huge for Kentucky.
Throw the ball up right now. I’m ready.