Kentucky basketball schedule 2021-22: Tubby Smith’s Rupp Arena return among Wildcats’ top nonconference games

Kentucky basketball on Monday launched its non-conference schedule for the upcoming 2021-22 season and it is jam-packed with goodies. Among the many headline video games on the slate embrace a season-opener towards Duke within the Champions Traditional, a probably epic highway showdown towards Kansas scheduled for Jan. 29 inside Allen Fieldhouse and a homecoming recreation for championship-winning coach Tubby Smith.

The Kentucky program plans to honor Smith, who coached the Wildcats from 1997-2007 and received a title with them in 1998, throughout the homecoming tilt on New Yr’s Eve. Smith is one in all a number of former UK coaches who will face off towards John Calipari’s program within the non-conference slate together with Central Michigan and its head coach, Tony Barbee, in addition to Southern and its head coach, Sean Woods.

Right here is Kentucky’s nonconference schedule in full: 

Nov. 9: vs. Duke (State Farm Champions Traditional in New York)
Nov. 12: Robert Morris
Nov. 16: Mount St. Mary’s
Nov. 19: Ohio
Nov. 22: Albany
Nov. 26: North Florida
Nov. 29: Central Michigan
Dec. 7: Southern
Dec. 11: at Notre Dame
Dec. 18: vs. Ohio State (CBS Sports activities Traditional in Las Vegas)
Dec. 22: Louisville
Dec. 31: High Point
Jan. 29: at Kansas (Massive 12/SEC Problem) 

And listed below are the highest 5 finest non-SEC video games — ranked so as of probably the most interesting — determined by yours actually.

1. vs. Duke

Nov. 9: Champions Traditional in New York

Early High 25 And 1 rating: No. 8 

An epic option to ring within the new season. Duke, getting into its remaining season below Corridor of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski, faces off towards John Calipari and Kentucky probably one remaining time to open up the 2021-22 marketing campaign. Each groups are top-15 in Gary Parrish’s latest CBS Sports Top 25 (and one) with the Blue Devils — led by a pair of potential top-five picks — doubtless getting into this showdown inside Madison Sq. Backyard as a slight favourite.

2. at Kansas

Jan. 29: Massive 12/ SEC Problem in Lawrence, Kansas

Early High 25 And 1 rating: No. 4 

Almost six years in the past to the date that Kentucky and Kansas performed an additional time thriller in Lawrence (on Jan. 30, 2016), Kentucky returns to the identical hallowed grounds in search of some revenge. The Jayhawks received that one 90-84 and have received three of the final 4 matchups towards UK since then. Like Kentucky, Kansas has an overhauled roster heavy on transfers however ought to enter the season — like Kentucky — with title hopes. By this time within the schedule we’ll have an excellent really feel about how real looking these likelihood is and whether or not this one has potential NCAA Tournament seeding implications on the road.

3. Louisville

Dec. 22: in Lexington

Early High 25 And 1 rating: Not ranked

The most effective rivalry in faculty basketball would not have its ordinary luster — Louisville doubtless enters the season unranked and Kentucky will not be a preseason top-10 crew — however who’re we kidding, actually? It is nonetheless Kentucky and Louisville for Bluegrass State bragging rights. Here is to hoping we get extra petty beef within the lead-up to the Dec. 22 matchup between the 2 coaches like we did last season.

4. vs. Ohio State

Dec. 18: CBS Sports activities Traditional in Las Vegas

Early High 25 And 1 rating: No. 18 

Ohio State bought again probably the greatest gamers within the Massive Ten when E.J. Liddell opted to return for the season, thrusting the Buckeyes into the combination as a convention title contender and — by extension — a darkhorse to contend in nationwide title race. The crew returns six of its prime eight scorers from final season’s crew that earned a No. 2 seed within the Massive Dance and the backdrop to this one — in Las Vegas for the CBS Sports activities Traditional — needs to be incredible. Ohio State is 2-0 towards UK within the CBS Sports activities Traditional collection since its 2014 inception.

5. Excessive Level

Dec. 31: in Lexington

Early High 25 And 1 rating: Not ranked 

How Kentucky will honor Tubby Smith on this homecoming remains to be being labored out (perhaps they’re going to play some MMMBop over the loud audio system at Rupp as a tribute to the late 90s hits UK had below his watch?), but it surely’s in the end irrelevant — Smith returning to Rupp is, plain and easy, an exquisite storyline. He was 263-83 as UK’s coach with 10 SEC titles and so correctly honoring him — already a UK Athletics Corridor of Famer — in his first time because the opposing coach within the constructing needs to be a pleasure to observe. | Kentucky basketball schedule 2021-22: Tubby Smith’s Rupp Area return amongst Wildcats’ prime nonconference video games


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