Each time I look at the non conference schedule for the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team, I am amazed at the depth and just toughness of it. Even with the best squad that John Calipari has had, there certainly should be no “40-0″ talk this year. This is a pretty murderous schedule.
The folks over at CoachCal.com obviously think so and they dove into the opponents a bit and came up with some telling stats.
But this one, on paper, looks to be the best of the Calipari era.
Taking the final rankings from last year, the average RPI of UK’s nonconference opponent in 2014-15 is 97.4. Six opponents on the slate finished last season in the all-important RPI top 50, including five of the final seven nonconference opponents.
Furthermore, the Cats’ 13 opponents in the upcoming year posted a winning percentage of .655 last season, considerably better than the .570 winning percentage UK’s 13 opponents in 2012-13 ended with and still better than last year’s admirable mark of .634. Remember, Kentucky’s strength of schedule last season was No. 2 in the country and this one appears to be even tougher.
The schedule obviously has five teams that will be ranked in the preseason top 25 in Kansas, UL, UNC, Texas and UCLA. What makes the schedule so deep are the “other teams” that are stronger than the typical “cupcake” opponents.
But the depth of the schedule comes with teams like Providence, Eastern Kentucky and Boston. The Friars play an exciting style of basketball that brought out the best in Willie Cauley-Stein last season, EKU nearly knocked Kansas out of the 2014 NCAA Tournament, and Boston is expected to return four of its six leading scorers from its regular-season Patriot League championship squad.
Perhaps the best thing about this schedule is that it should effectively end all the calls by pundits whining about the Indiana Hoosiers not being on the schedule anymore.