We are now less than 100 days away from the start of the 2023-24 college basketball season. That means, in just about three months, Kentucky basketball will take the court again.
We already know what the Wildcats’ SEC schedule will look like and are just waiting on dates and times. The non-conference slate is also rounding up to be a challenging one, as the Wildcats will play Kansas in the State Farm Champions Classic and host Miami (Fla) in the ACC/SEC Challenge.
On Saturday, Kentucky basketball announced a game against St. Joe’s on Nov. 20 at Rupp Arena.
As a below-average Atlantic 10 team, St. Joe’s probably doesn’t move the needle too much for Big Blue Nation. But games like this are exactly what makes college basketball great. The Wildcats need to be prepared to face the Hawks.
Despite finishing 16-17 (8-10) last season, the Hawks had some good moments. They came close to knocking off Villanova, only losing to those Wildcats by 7. In one stretch during A-10 play, St. Joe’s won 7 out of 9 games and played like one of the hottest teams in the conference. Then, in the A-10 tournament, they made a short run, going to the quarterfinals as a 10-seed.
This season, the Hawks return Erik Reynolds II, who led them in scoring at 19.6 points per game as a sophomore. Reynolds’ decision to return should make the Hawks a serious contender to finish first in the Atlantic 10.
If that isn’t enough reason to believe, the Hawks also return Cameron Brown (13.3 PPG/6.0 RPG), Lynn Greer (12.5 PPG/5.0 RPG/4.1 APG), and a few other key pieces. In total, St. Joe’s brings back their top three, and seven of their top nine scorers from last year’s team.
The Hawks have one of the top returning cores in college basketball and will look to bring that into Rupp Arena and leave with a shocking with.
For Kentucky basketball, it will all be about not overlooking St. Joe’s. Sure, the Hawks haven’t had a winning record since the 2015-16 season. But this is a new year, and the Hawks seem to have their best chance at reaching the NCAA Tournament since then.
These are the type of games that can define teams, and Kentucky basketball will have a chance to earn a quality win when they face off in November.