Yesterday the University of Kentucky Wildcats reveal..."/>

Yesterday the University of Kentucky Wildcats reveal..."/>

Breaking Down the 2011-12 Non conference schedule for: The Kentucky Wildcats


Yesterday the University of Kentucky Wildcats revealed who the 2011-2012 basketball team would be playing in the non-conference portion of the schedule ranging from November 11th to January 3rd. This is always the first teaser during the summer months when everything is going slow, as is it this summer; this is the first step in getting excited about Kentucky basketball. Let’s take a look at the non-conference slide which includes everyone from Penn. State to Louisville, and also some games in interesting locations. So let’s take a look at the first opponent for John Calipari’s Wildcats.

November 11th, Marist:

Head coach Chuck Martin leads his team and six wins the previous season into Rupp Arena for a match up with Kentucky. This is a typical match up for John Calipari to bring in a sort of rebuilding team to Rupp Arena, partly because the truth is these teams get paid a good lump of money for coming in and getting blasted. This game isn’t all that bad for Kentucky either. Marist’s leading scorer returning only averaged 11 points per game last year. Their roster IS full of guards though so it should get Kentucky nice and ready for their game against Kansas, which is…

November 15th, Kansas:

This is a game that everyone will be watching and is definitely the early “sexy” match up of the year for sure. It features Bill Self vs. John Calipari, Kentucky’s great recruiting class against Kansas’ freshman who will also look to step in and contribute right away, and it’s the inaugural Champions Classic game, with Duke and Michigan State being the other game in this three year, round robin type of tournament. Oh, did I mention it is going to be in Madison Square Garden, the Mecca of basketball. This match will be a great early season test for the Wildcat’s but they will look to out gun the Jayhawks, due to the simple fact that Kansas lost A LOT of talent last year: The Morris twins, Josh Selby, Brady Morningstar. It’s going to be hard to replace the two big guys in the middle—none the less this will be a very fun match up to watch.

November 19, Penn. State:

Taylor Battle isn’t walking through that door, but if he were, this would be an amazing game to watch. This game is in a unique location, Uncasville Connecticut and it is a part of the Basketball Hall of Fame tip off tournament that Kentucky is taking place in. Penn. State came so close to making some noise last year, and Battle was one of the best players to watch in the nation last year, but he graduated and now the Nittany Lions have a new head coach, and staring down the barrel of a fully loaded roster of Wildcats that will either be rolling off of a huge win over Kansas, or seeking revenge after a loss.

November 20th, South Florida OR Old Dominion:

Either one of these teams can get to play the Wildcat’s in this tournament, and both teams WILL be a good opponent for the Wildcat’s that will look good on the resume’ come March. One on hand you have Old Dominion who hosts a talented coach in Blaine Taylor who has been the head coach there for 11 seasons. He is a very defensive minded coach and reloads player’s right for that program year in and year out. This could be one of the best defensive teams that Kentucky will have faced all season. Then on the other hand you have South Florida, who also has one heck of a coach in Stan Heath, he’s been there for five seasons. Do you remember last year when Kentucky had problems with those long, athletic teams? Well, South Florida is exactly that. I don’t think this Kentucky team will be bothered as badly as that team was, but if those types of team cause Kentucky trouble this season, this get the aspirin ready because this team will give you a headache. Sure they didn’t have a great record last season, but in 15 games lost, they lost them by 10 or less.

November 23rd, Radford:

I can’t say much about this team besides they hired Mike Jokes (who?). They hired him off of Shaka Smart’s VCU staff, so I’m putting money on this guy in a couple of years can be the next up and coming coach out there in the NCAA. Also, they have a 7’1 guy on their team, Martin Abele. We will see how many times Anthony Davis can swat him. I’m betting on six.

November 26th, Portland:

Okay, this is the same Portland team that Kentucky smashed by 30 points last season, not only that but the game last season was supposed to be a SIX POINT GAME. The people who make money putting lines on these games really screwed the pooch on this one. This time Portland comes to Rupp. Portland has a ton of shooters though and Rupp Arena is a GREAT shooting gym, but since Calipari’s crew now has a ton of length on the perimeter, a Kentucky fan shouldn’t worry about three point shooters going off like in the past. Plus, Portland has NOBODY in the paint that can deal with Kentucky’s talented freshman.

December 1st, St. Johns:

It seems as if every year Kentucky has one stretch of games that define them. If Kentucky can stay undefeated up and past these next three games, then they can very well go into SEC play with zero losses on the schedule. Steve Lavin is one electrifying coach and he brings the St. Johns team who everyone had such a good time watching into Rupp Arena for a game with John Calipari and the Wildcats as a part of the Big East/SEC challenge. Now, St. Johns did lose a lot off their team last year—actually they lost everyone, but Lavin is John Calipari like because he stocked up on top rated freshman and grabbed the number three recruiting class for 2011.Lavin’s star class includes, center Norvel Pelle and shooting guard D’Angelo Henderson. They are both ranked 23rd and 40th overall. He also added for four-star forwards. This will be a tough one, but for once, Kentucky will have more experience than another team.

December 3rd, North Carolina:

TWO days later Kentucky has to turn around and take on North Carolina, luckily it’s in the confines of Rupp Arena where John Calipari has yet to lose, although that will be in jeopardy with these two home games back to back. This is the match up of the non-conference in ALL of college basketball, and the eyes of the college basketball world will be upon this game. North Carolina returns EVERYONE. Yes that means Tyler Zeller, Harrison Barnes and Dexter Strickland, while Kentucky reloaded with talent. Expect Kentucky and North Carolina to be numbers one and two leading up to this matchup. Not any more needs to be said about this match up. John Calipari vs. Roy Williams round four.

December 10th, Indiana:

Kentucky makes its way up to Bloomington in a game that will hopefully renew the rivalry between Kentucky and Indiana. Quite frankly this game has been
lacking for years and a lot of younger Kentucky fans don’t even consider Indiana a rival anymore. However, there is still a few out there who like thumping Indiana, but that may not happen this year as Cody Zeller arrives to wear the red and white warm up stripes to be the savior of the Indiana program. Along with key returnees for Indiana…This win could actually look GOOD on a March resume’. Everything has to click for Tom Crean this season for the Hoosiers to get back into post season play, but this is going to be his best chance. If Kentucky can complete these three games, they should be undefeated, or close going into conference play.

December 17th, Chattanooga:

A seven day break between three tough games for Kentucky. This game could be a trap game as the Mocs have two guys who aren’t afraid to fling treys in the air. Omar Wattad and Keegan Bell combined for 150 threes last year, and the three ball is the great equalizer for many teams, but it isn’t that will trap Kentucky, it’s the fact that three major marquee teams followed up by Chattanooga may not look like much, but Calipari is very good at telling his team that Chattanooga can beat and play with anyone. So you’ll hear a lot of that in this game. This game also starts a five game home stretch for the Wildcat’s.

December 20th, Samford:

Jimmy Tillette has been with the Samford bulldogs for 14 seasons, and runs a Princeton offense, so you know what that means? A snore fest, most likely. Princeton offense can work in the right setting, but Kentucky will be looking to get up and down the floor and, well once Princeton gets down about 15 points, it’ll be lights out because they won’t be able to keep up.

December 22nd, Loyola:

You’ll notice late in the non-conference skid that John Calipari is starting a trend. He schedules coaches who have been with their teams a while, who has a crisp and efficient offense and defense. This is key for having longevity in the conference schedule. Loyola’s coach is no different and Jimmy Paston is in his eighth season with Loyola and has a ton of guys who can go off at any time. Not much of a challenge, but you can never tell with these smaller teams.

December 28th, Lamar:

The most interesting thing about this game? Do you remember how all off-season and at the end of last season we’ve had to hear Bob Knight rant and take shots about Kentucky? What would be the best way for John Calipari to get Bob Knight back without really doing anything to him? Why, thumping his son, Pat Knight in his first year at Lamar. That should be enough to tune into this game.

December 31st, Louisville:

What really needs to be said about this game? It’s in Lexington, it’s on New Year’s Eve and it’s our rival. Louisville got some nice recruits in…Chase Behanan and Wayne Blackshear, but the Kentucky recruits have already been barking at the Louisville recruits during some all-star games. Blue glasses aside, this can’t be much of a game as Louisville seems to always lose to Kentucky now, and in Rupp Arena…They don’t stand a chance.

January 3rd: Arkansas-Little Rock:

Steven Shields is in his ninth season as head coach of ARKLR and every website I go to says it’s going to be a mystery about what kind of team he’s going to put on the court, which is honest because they only return one Guy…Literally. His name is Dalton Guy and he averaged 7.6 points last season. The best thing about this game is that it’s in Freedom Hall in Louisville.

That wraps up my breakdown of the non-conference schedule and by far Kentucky fans should be more excited about this one than any in recent memory because of the star power on it. The rivalry game with Louisville in Rupp. Lavin’s Red Storm and the basketball blue bloods, Kentucky and North Carolina hooking it up. If Kentucky comes out of this schedule with an undefeated record, or with one loss at the most then I suspect a number one seed coming their way come March…If not then this team will look to peak in conference like it did last year.

Keep following www. for the best in Kentucky basketball and football news, rumors, and opinions. By Kentucky fans for Kentucky fans