This team is young but has plenty of returning players which could make an exciting year for Wildcat fans. Here are the most important games of the ’08-’09 season.
10. November 14 v. VMI
The Keydets make the list solely because they are the first game of the year. Many fans may be anxious to see if the Keydets will be another Gardner Webb. My prediction: they won’t be. This game is the Wildcats only warm-up game before North Carolina.
9. November 18 @ North Carolina
No disrespect to North Carolina but this is only the second game of the year for both teams. If Hansbrough plays, he and Patrick Patterson may be the best one-on-one match-up all season. For the Wildcats to win they’ll have to rely on their hard nosed man-to-man defense and Jodie Meeks to knock down some treys.
8. November 29 @ Kansas State (In the Las Vegas Shootout)
I swear these games aren’t ranked on where they fall on the schedule, though it may seem that way. Kansas State lost Michael Beasley and Bill Walker to the NBA and neither are easy to replace. If the Wildcats of blue and white win they’ll be lead by Patterson and Perry Stevenson.
7. December 13 v. Indiana
IU should have an extremely down year and Coach Tom Crean has a re-building project ahead of him. Only on the list because it’s IU and they beat UK pretty handedly last year. If somehow IU manages to stop Patterson I think sophomore transfer Josh Harrellson will step-up and help the ‘Cats.
6. December 6 v. Miami (FL)
This will be a great early season test for the young Wildcats. Miami won 23 games last season, got into the second round of the tournament and they are returning four starters. To win UK will need a total team effort. Everyone from Patterson and Meeks to freshman DeAndre Liggins and Darius Miller will have to be on-top of their game.
5. January 4 @ Louisville
Not a whole lot to say here. It’s Louisville. They’ll be very good. This should be a great game and a lot better than last year’s annual rivalry. If the Wildcats get the W it will be because of someone off the bench, maybe Harrellson or Kevin Galloway.
4. February 17 @ Vanderbilt
The 93-52 loss last season was the ‘Cats worst loss since 1989. Vanderbilt shouldn’t be as good as they were last year but they still have A.J. Ogilvy. The Wildcats will want revenge and should get it.
3. January 13 @ Tennessee
Sure the Wildcats open conference play with Vanderbilt but this will be the real first test to see if the ‘Cats are ready for SEC play. Tyler Smith, J.P. Prince and Wayne Chism are back. Add three stellar freshman and this team looks very good on paper. UK will need Patterson and Meeks to lead the way to get the W.
2. March 7 @ Florida
This is the last game of the season for both teams and could be a game to see who will end up with the higher seed in the SEC tournament. Playing at Florida is always tough but if the ‘Cats shut down Nick Calathes they will win.
1. February 21 v. Tennessee
This game could very well determine if the ‘Cats could grab a hold of first place in the east. Both teams should be in top-form. If UK gets the win they will need to rely on…their fans. Rupp Arena needs to be loud and rattle Kentucky product Scotty Hopson.