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Which Local School Would YOU Like Kentucky to Play?

Brian Spurlock

Brian Spurlock

If Kentucky had one slot open in its basketball schedule, which local team would YOU want them to play? Would you opt for a power five matchup if it means going on the road? Or do you want to stay home and whup up on another Kentucky State? I have a list and some reasons for four of the other prominent basketball programs in the region…


Business is a factor we’ll have to consider during this process. It’s likely Kentucky could drag Morehead State or Eastern Kentucky to Lexington for one game and not have to worry about any type of return match. The Hoosiers would want balance. A game in Rupp, a game in Assembly, and maybe even a third neutral-site match in Indianapolis or Louisville would likely be Indiana’s demands. But John Calipari refuses to give Assembly Hall another romp in the hay after the 2012 debacle in which Kentucky lost as drunk overall-ed college students recreated the wildebeest stampede from Lion King – with Darius Miller starring as Mufasa.

Personally, I’d take whatever we can get with Indiana over one-offs with mid-major programs like Western or Murray (we’ll get to them). Power-five school, esteemed tradition, historic rival. Archie Miller may not be the John Wooden prognosticators had hoped for, but he’s got a nice little run of recruiting talent lately, including the golden child Romeo of course. IU should (they always should) be top-25 worthy in 2020-21 and easily capable of making the tournament, a feat unconquered since 2016.

Western Kentucky

After announcing the addition of UAB to the Kentucky men’s basketball schedule, fellow Conference USA comrade Western Kentucky took to twitter to whine about their lack of getting to face the Big Blue and offered a shrewd and ethically-undeniable deal: WKU will give its profits from a potential game vs. UK to charity. I don’t like this “gratuitous” act by the Hilltoppers – trying to play charity and local pressure together to game Kentucky into having to play Western.

Also, why is Western airing their grievances?  Their twitter outburst mentions a “previous offer,” which isn’t discussed in other tweets but references what I’d think are behind-closed-doors negotiations to actually play WKU, which KSR’s Matt Jones sort of hinted at on the radio show earlier this week. So Kentucky was apparently arranging to play WKU, and the Toppers try to start a social media fist fight? Have at Cal if he flicks his nose up at you guys again. However, if he’s making an effort to schedule a game (or series) against Western, taking to the twitter-verse to school UK in one-upmanship doesn’t appear to me as the smartest course of action.

Who knows – that one press of the send button could end the negotiations completely. I’d still like to see them in Rupp.

Murray State

If the year were 2019, I’d offer to play an away game at Murray. Without a return. Why? Ja Morant.

That’s the case for Murray: since 2013, Murray State has had as many point guards drafted as Kentucky: Three. Isaiah Canaan was drafted in the 2nd round in 2013, Cameron Payne was selected as the No. 14 overall pick in 2015, and one Temetrius Jamel Morant was selected No. 2 overall behind Zion Williamson last year. In short: this program produces top, top-end talent. Will they continue to? It would seem unlikely but heck, three draftable point guards in six years is unreal for a mid-major.

In a vacuum, Murray is probably the definitive basement-dweller of this list. Not as good as any of the other schools year-to-year to go along with a smaller, less-populated school in general, which typically means less fan support. But I’d rather watch Ja Morant play basketball against the Cats than any player in WKU or IU history.


Oh yeah, a wildcard, sort of. Like most of the state, I’m sure the readers forgot about our brothers up north.

Cincy is a basketball program I’d be overjoyed to play. Compared to the rest of this bunch, UC is easily the best program and the squad most likely to beat Kentucky (they’re a Skyline Chili version of Virginia). Obviously, facing the Bearcats under Mick Cronin would have been ideal for meme purposes, but we’ll have to settle for Dracula-led Cincy – I mean, John Brannen-led.

Kentucky rarely plays Cincinnati, and I can’t remember a time in recent memory where it happened outside the NCAA Tournament. I wish we did. Lately, the Bearcats have been a perennial member of the AP Top-25 and qualified for the NCAAT every year of the 2010s. This is a top-20 basketball program in the country, located 100 miles away, that Kentucky never pays attention to unless the selection committee forces it to happen. They didn’t trample UK’s players, throw peanuts at the families or mess up Cal’s hair, and they still get the WKU and Murray State treatment from UK. I hope things change.

With the open slot, I’d sign Cincy. Maybe Kentucky ends up having to do a home-and-home series at the very worst, but who cares – their new arena rocks, and their fans are great. Most importantly for me: the game would be competitive. A physical contest between each side of the Ohio/Kentucky border.

What about you?

Article written by Alex Weber

@alexweberKSR on Twitter.

24 Comments for Which Local School Would YOU Like Kentucky to Play?

  1. kyfan200587
    8:14 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

    Def Cincy!!!!!!

  2. T-Town Cat
    8:24 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

    None of the above. How about West Virginia?

  3. Newtype
    8:31 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

    Murry. And I hope they do it just as big f**k you to western.

  4. Aar
    8:45 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

    Murray State would prolly be best for UK’s BPI regardless of outcome, they’re in state and there’s minimal bad blood.

    • Richd23
      8:50 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

      Correct, and Murray State is never as bad as this person made them sound like they are. They will have a junior guard who destroyed Marquette in the tournament 2 years ago in Ja’s triple double. They are most all back from last years team.

    • trumpetguy
      4:30 pm July 13, 2020 Permalink

      Murray has played both Auburn and Bama tight competitive games in recent years and likely will do the same AT Memphis this year! They would be a much more worthy opponent than other in-state schools mentioned. Ask Final Four coach Bruce Pearl about the Racers!

  5. Richd23
    8:46 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

    Murray State. As I recall, Kentucky has never played Murray, to my knowledge. I maybe wrong.

    • brainesman
      8:52 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

      I looked it up, looks like Kentucky hasn’t played Murray since at least 1950

    • Richd23
      8:59 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

      I looked it up too and no they have never played each other

  6. WKY Cat
    8:49 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

    Murray State

  7. Barry59
    9:00 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

    Proud Murray grad. My cats been running from the racers too long. Just do it. ?

    • Richd23
      9:02 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

      Murray grad too, went there early to mid 80’s

    • Jon
      9:14 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

      Why? Lol. Literally forty-two people in the United States wants to see UK play other schools.

      Play schools like Cincinnati and Xavier. Maybe Dayton, Butler, etc. But not Murray State.

    • Barry59
      9:21 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

      Hey Jon why not help in state schools?

  8. BG Cat
    9:13 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

    WKU and Murray St! Great b-ball traditions and help the Western part of our great state

  9. Bruce Dickinson
    9:16 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

    Last time I remember Kentucky playing Cincinnati was in the early 80’s. Cindy played stall ball the whole game. Before the shot clock.

    • CrystalBall
      11:05 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

      Was at that Cincy game. Most boring game l have ever seen. Tony Yates, UC coach, lost his
      job because of that game, and the NCAA voted in the shot clock.

  10. Bruce Dickinson
    9:17 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

    Cincy not Cindy.

  11. Davey McCrockett
    9:47 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

    Butler. More consistent program than IU and Purdue while in Indy so Banker’s Life would work if an away game was played

    • the ghost of Bill Hicks
      11:36 am July 13, 2020 Permalink

      Agreed. Plus, it would be a nice FU to IU.

    • UKFanSC
      5:11 pm July 13, 2020 Permalink

      I like that. And we’d better show up, or those guys will hang an L on us. Good pick.

  12. The Professor
    10:01 pm July 12, 2020 Permalink

    Murray St

  13. Urincatland
    4:39 am July 13, 2020 Permalink


  14. the ghost of Bill Hicks
    11:39 am July 13, 2020 Permalink

    Illinois is a border state too, why not a home and home with U of I? BBN is strong in Illinois.