Part one of two.
It is the time of the year for all Kentucky residents to come together and root for their Wildcats. No matter what gender, race, or religion they may be. This time of the year, the religion is Kentucky basketball.
Fans will live and die with the blue and white from November to March. Family events will be moved to find a way to watch or listen to Kentucky. Women know better than to have a kid during a game.
Every person talks to the next, even if they haven't met before. From young to old. You bleed blue upon birth, and wearing Kentucky attire.
Put on the blue and white Kentucky fans and lets take a closer look at the upcoming non-conference games.
November 14, 2008 at Lexington, 7 p.m.
- Virginia Military Institute
- Head Coach: Duggar Baucom
- 2007-2008 Record: 14-15
- Top Returning Player: Chavis Holmes at 18.3 ppg
- Top Player Gone: Reggie Williams at 27.8 ppg
The Keydets will be out matched and out played. Kentucky will score easy baskets and have a stingy defense. Kentucky wins easy 83-47.
November 18, 2008 at Chapel Hill, 7 p.m.
- University of North Carolina
- Head Coach: Roy Williams
- 2007-2008 Record: 36-3
- Top Returning Player: Tyler Hansbrough at 22.6 ppg
- Top Player Gone: None
North Carolina is more experienced than a young Kentucky team. Kentucky does have the talent to hang with UNC and can beat them. Close game but UNC edges Kentucky 78-73 but a few calls Kentucky's way and UK wins.
November 22, 2008 at Lexington, Noon
- Delaware State University
- Head Coach: Greg Jackson
- 2007-2008 Record: 14-16
- Top Returning Player: Donald Johnson at 27.6 ppg
- Top Player Gone: Roy Bright at 36.2 ppg
Kentucky will run all over Delaware State and let more of the young players get some action. Kentucky wins 77-50.
November 24, 2008 at Lexington, 7 p.m.
- Longwood University
- Head Coach: Mike Gillian
- 2007-2008 Record: 9-22
- Top Returning Player: Kirk Williams at 16.9 ppg
- Top Player Gone: Lamar Barrett at 9.3 ppg
November 28, 2008 at Las Vegas Tournament, TBA
- Kansas State University
- Head Coach: Frank Martin
- 2007-2008 Record: 21-12
- Top Returning Player: Jacob Pullen at 9.7 ppg
- Top Player Gone: Michael Beasley at 26.2 ppg
Kansas State does not have the fire power that it did a year ago and it will show. Kentucky wins 67-59.
November 29, 2008 at Las Vegas Tournament, TBA
- West Virginia University or University of Iowa
- Head Coach: Bob Huggins or Todd Lickliter
- 2007-2008 Record: 26-11 or 13-19
- Top Returning Player: Darrius Nichols at 10.7 ppg or Cyrus Tate at 8.3 ppg
- Top Player Gone: Joe Alexander at 16.9 ppg or Tony Freeman at 13.8 ppg
Either way it goes here, Kentucky can beat either team. If Kentucky plays West Virginia 84-71. If Kentucky plays Iowa, UK 71-61.
December 3, 2008 at Lexington, 7 p.m.
- Lamar University
- Head Coach: Steve Roccaforte
- 2007-2008 Record: 19-11
- Top Returning Player: Kenny Dawkins at 34.9 ppg
- Top Player Gone: Darren Hopkins at 28.9 ppg
Kentucky wins another game easily. Kentucky will be ready and set at 88-67.
December 6, 2008 at Lexington, 5:30
- University of Miami of Florida
- Head Coach: Frank Haith
- 2007-2008 Record: 23-11
- Top Returning Player: Jack McClinton at 17.7 ppg
- Top Player Gone: Anthony King at 7.1 ppg
This should be a interesting game. Miami lost 5 players that didn't play much of last year. Kentucky is young and Miami is older and more experienced. Give the edge to Kentucky because they are playing at home. UK wins at 73-68.
December 7, 2008 at Lexington, 3 p.m.
- Mississippi Valley State
- Head Coach: Sean Woods
- 2007-2008 Record: 17-16
- Top Returning Player: Michael Clark at 7.8 ppg
- Top Player Gone: Carl Lucas at 12.5 ppg
Mississippi Valley State does not have the talent to keep up with Kentucky. Kentucky hangs close to a hundred, 95-54.
December 13, 2008 at Lexington, 4 p.m.
- Indiana University
- Head Coach: Tom Crean
- 2007-2008 Record: 25-8
- Top Returning Player: Kyle Taber at 1.3 ppg
- Top Player Gone: There is to many to list. Indiana lost a lot of players with the departure of Kelvin Sampson
Indiana is a few years from being where they was last year. Sampson left Tom Crean in a very hard spot. Kentucky will avenge last year's beat down, but will be worse. UK 82-48.
December 20, 2008 at Louisville, Noon
- Appalachian State
- Head Coach: Houston Fancher
- 2007-2008 Record: 18-13
- Top Returning Player: Donald Sims at 11.5 ppg
- Top Player Gone: Jeremy Clayton at 8.7 ppg
There will be no upset like the football team pulled off last season at Michigan. UK handles business at 82-46.
December 22, 2008 at Lexington, 7 p.m.
- Tennessee State
- Head Coach: Cy Alexander
- 2007-2008 Record: 15-17
- Top Returning Player: Gerald Robinson at 29.5 ppg
- Top Player Gone: Bruce Price at 34.0 ppg
Kentucky will get an early Christmas present and send Tennessee State home packing. Kentucky wins 72-57.
December 28, 2008 at Lexington, 3 p.m.
- Florida Atlantic University
- Head Coach: Mike Jarvis
- 2007-2008 Record: NA
- Top Returning Player: NA
- Top Player Gone: NA
Not much information was found on the Owls. From what I could gather they do have some experience but not enough. UK wins 75-64.
December 29, 2008 at Lexington, 7 p.m.
- Central Michigan University
- Head Coach: Ernie Zeigler
- 2007-2008 Record: 14-17
- Top Returning Player: Allen Jeremy at 7.2 ppg
- Top Player Gone: Giordan Watson at 16.4 ppg
Lexington will be rocking for the New Year and so will the Cats. Kentucky wins 68-46.
January 4, 2009 at Louisville, TBA
- University of Louisville
- Head Coach: Rick Pitino
- 2007-2008 Record: 27-9
- Top Returning Player: Earl Clark at 11.1 ppg and Terrence Williams at 11.1 ppg
- Top Player Gone: David Padgett at 11.1 ppg and Derrick Caracter at 8.3 ppg
This is always what the Kentucky and Louisville fans look for every year. Since Pitnio is there, all deals are off. Kentucky was embarrassed last year and looking for revenge. This should be a close game and very physical. Throw out everything. UK wins a close game 83-80.
Looking back on the non-conference games, Kentucky could be at 14-1 going into conference play. Giving the North Carolina game, Kentucky could go undefeated. They would be no worse then 13-2. The schedule is very easy this year before conference play.
This will make a lot of Kentucky fans very happy. It could also make a lot of non-Kentucky fans very angry. That is what Kentucky brings to college basketball every year.
The future is very bright and only going to get better with time and progress. Billy Gillispie is going to push and push his players to the brink. That is the greatest personal trait Gillispie can have.
On-On U OF K!