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Kentucky Reveals Challenging 2017-18 Non-Conference Schedule

Kentucky unveiled their 2017-18 non-conference schedule on Tuesday. A schedule that includes six-teams that made last years NCAA Tournament.

During the thirteen game stretch, Kentucky will face four teams ranked in the Way Too Early Top 25. Three will be in consecutive games starting on December 16 when they will host Virginia Tech at Rupp Arena, followed by a matchup with UCLA in New Orleans on December 23 and finishing with an at home game against in-state rival Louisville on December 29. Kentucky will finish its nonconference schedule with a trip to Morgantown to face West Virginia in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

Kentucky will be one of the youngest teams in the country, returning only one player who logged any significant minutes during the 2016-17 season.

“We are going to have what could be the youngest team in the history of college basketball,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said in a release via the school. “We had to take that into account when building this year’s schedule. How do we prepare our guys to be at our best at the end of the season – which we’ve done nearly every year – while also putting them in a position to grow and succeed? I think we’ve done that with this schedule.”

The Cats lost De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, Isaiah Briscoe, Isaac Humphries and Bam Adebayo to the NBA Draft, although Humphries will most likely play overseas. They also lost Dominique Hawkins, Mychal Mulder and Derek Willis to graduation.

Overall, Kentucky will attempt to replace almost 92% of their 2016-17 scoring, 76% of their rebounds and 88% of their total minutes from a squad that advanced to the Elite 8 before falling to the eventual National Champions, North Carolina.

“When you look at who we will play, you’re talking about experienced teams that were in the postseason a year ago and bring back the core of their teams,” Calipari continued. “This schedule is going to be a challenge for us, but my hope is it sets us up for a run at the end of the season.”

 

KENTUCKY NONCONFERENCE SCHEDULE:

  • Nov. 10 – Utah Valley – Rupp Arena
  • Nov. 12 – Vermont – Rupp Arena
  • Nov. 14 – Kansas – United Center
  • Nov. 17 – East Tennessee State – Rupp Arena
  • Nov. 20 – Troy – Rupp Arena
  • Nov. 22 – Fort Wayne – Rupp Arena
  • Nov. 26 – University Illinois – Chicago – Rupp Arena
  • Dec. 2 – Harvard – Rupp arena
  • Dec. 9 – Monmouth – Madison Square Garden
  • Dec. 16 – Virginia Tech – Rupp Arena
  • Dec. 23 – UCLA – Smoothie King Center
  • Dec. 29 – Louisville – Rupp Arena
  • Jan. 27 – West Virginia – WVU Coliseum

Kentucky is a consensus Top 5 team in the Way Too Early rankings from ESPN, CBS, FanRags and Yahoo. Vegas has the Wildcats with 11/1 odds to win the 2017-18 title, fourth best behind Michigan State, Arizona and Duke, respectively.

 

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