The SEC launched its full males’s basketball schedule on Friday and Kentucky — ranked No. 13 within the newest CBS Sports activities High 25 (and one) — simply has one of many hardest slates to face in 2020-21. The Wildcats open their season towards Morehead State on Nov. 25 but it surely rapidly toughens, with checks towards Kansas, UCLA and Louisville sprinkled all through the month of December.
Then there may be the SEC slate, the place in January, the Wildcats will journey to Florida, Auburn, Georgia and Alabama previous to the Large 12/SEC Problem to finish the month towards Shaka Sensible and Texas.
We’ll study lots about this younger workforce and the way rapidly the core — which consists of 10 newcomers — can come alongside. However by way of measuring progress, we’ll study essentially the most by how the workforce fares in its most difficult battles. So under, we have ranked the 5 hardest checks of the season.
1. Kansas in Champions Traditional, Dec. 1
This recreation might be held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, as CBS Sports activities’ Matt Norlander confirmed on Friday. And it is one of many early ones on the schedule (recreation quantity 4, to be actual). Kansas misplaced Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike however nonetheless has a powerful core returning led by Ochai Agbaji and Marcus Garrett, and its backcourt ought to current an actual problem to UK’s.
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2. At Tennessee, Feb. 20
Circle this one in your calendar as a result of it has an opportunity to be an excellent one that would probably decide the SEC regular-season race. The Vols return Yves Pons, John Fulkerson and Santiago Vescovi, amongst others, and have additionally signed two five-star guards to hitch the combination this season. Their mix of top-end expertise and expertise may put them excessive within the league, they usually enter the season because the highest-ranked SEC workforce in our rankings. And UK has misplaced at Tennessee in 4 of the final 5 seasons.
3. UCLA in CBS Sports activities Traditional, Dec. 19
UCLA may be the perfect workforce within the Pac-12 and Kentucky may be the perfect workforce within the SEC. Who would not wish to see these two going through off, particularly contemplating their standing within the bluebooded hierarchy of the game? The Bruins received 11 of their last 14 video games to finish the season and return their high 5 scorers, amongst them Chris Smith, a possible first-round expertise who may give this Kentucky workforce actual suits within the frontcourt.
4. At Louisville, Dec. 26
There was loads of hand-wringing about this one — significantly about whether or not it will occur and the place it will occur if it certainly did. However in the long run the present is on, and Kentucky-Louisville stays one of many sport’s greatest rivalries. Going to the KFC Yum Middle isn’t any joke for Kentucky, both. Louisville coach Chris Mack misplaced some key items from the roster final 12 months, however Carlik Jones and David Johnson are skilled and proficient sufficient to provide UK all it might deal with right here. We’re nonetheless effectively over a month away, however realizing what I learn about every of the 2 groups, I believe Louisville wins this one.
5. Texas in Large 12/SEC Problem, Jan. 30
Texas primarily returns its whole roster and provides five-star, top-10 recruit Greg Brown to the combination of a workforce that went 19-12 and claimed victories in 5 of its last six video games. The continuity is there for UT to lastly — lastly! — be a drive underneath Shaka Sensible. We’ll see if the items come collectively and the momentum continues, however the Longhorns have a ton of size and expertise to deal with UK and make this one an actual battle.
Kentucky’s 2020-21 schedule
|Nov. 25||Morehead State (Bluegrass Showcase)||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Nov. 27||Detroit Mercy (Bluegrass Showcase)||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Nov. 29||Richmond (Bluegrass Showcase)||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Dec. 1||vs. Kansas (Champions Traditional)||TBD|
|Dec. 6||vs. Georgia Tech (Vacation Hoopsgiving)||State Farm Enviornment (Atlanta)|
|Dec. 12||Notre Dame||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Dec. 19||vs. UCLA (CBS Sports activities Traditional)||Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (Cleveland)|
|Dec. 26||at Louisville||KFC Yum! Middle (Louisville, Ky.)|
|Dec. 29||South Carolina*||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Jan. 2||at Mississippi State*||Humphrey Coliseum (Starkville, Miss.)|
|Jan. 5||Vanderbilt*||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Jan. 9||at Florida*||Exactech Enviornment (Gainesville, Fla.)|
|Jan. 12||Alabama*||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Jan. 16||at Auburn*||Auburn Enviornment (Auburn, Ala.)|
|Jan. 20||at Georgia*||Stegeman Coliseum (Athens, Ga.)|
|Jan. 23||LSU*||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Jan. 26||at Alabama*||Coleman Coliseum (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)|
|Jan. 30||Texas (SEC/Large 12 Problem)||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Feb. 2||at Missouri*||Mizzou Enviornment (Columbia, Mo.)|
|Feb. 6||Tennessee*||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Feb. 9||Arkansas*||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Feb. 13||Auburn*||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Feb. 17||at Vanderbilt*||Memorial Gymnasium (Nashville, Tenn.)|
|Feb. 20||at Tennessee*||Thompson-Boling Enviornment (Knoxville, Tenn.)|
|Feb. 23||Texas A&M*||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|Feb. 27||Florida*||Rupp Enviornment (Lexington, Ky.)|
|March 2||at Ole Miss*||The Pavilion at Ole Miss (Oxford, Miss.)|
|March 10-14||SEC Event||Bridgestone Enviornment (Nashville, Tenn|
* – SEC recreation