Seven months removed from missing the NCAA Tournament, Kentucky has returned atop college basketball as the preseason No. 1 team in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, which was released Thursday. It marks the first time in the 22-year history of the Coaches’ Poll that a team enters the season ranked No. 1 after finishing the previous season unranked.
This year’s slate is loaded. With games against Louisville, Michigan State and North Carolina, it’s hard to take fault with any of UK’s schedule. ESPN hardly does in its nonconference schedule analysis of Southeastern Conference teams. Myron Medcalf ranked the Cats’ nonconference schedule a 10 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most difficult.
Even a disappointing season that resulted in a National Invitation Tournament appearance wouldn’t stop the Big Blue Nation from watching their Wildcats. For the eighth straight season and the 17th time in 18 years, Kentucky led the nation in home attendance with an average of 23,099 fans per game.
Kentucky will play nine opponents who made the postseason in 2013, five NCAA Tournament teams, the defending national champions, and three programs who the pundits believe will make a serious run at the Final Four during its 2013-14 nonconference schedule, which UK released Wednesday.
The two schools have agreed to a two-year, home-and-home series beginning with the 2013-14 season. The Wildcats will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., in 2013-14 to take on the Tar Heels, and the series will return to Rupp Arena during the 2014-15 season.
John Calipari sat down with a a group of reporters last month in a roundtable discussion to discuss his new team, following a national championship, his legacy and more. Over the next four days, CoachCal.com will post the entirety of that one-hour session. In the final part of the four-part Q and A, Coach Cal admits he took a little time to enjoy the national title and reflects on his marriage with the UK fan base.
John Calipari sat down with a a group of reporters last month in a roundtable discussion to discuss his new team, following a national championship, his legacy and more. Over the next four days, CoachCal.com will post the entirety of that one-hour session. Today we continue the four-part Q and A with bringing back former players, Kyle Wiltjer’s time with the Canadian national team, recharging the batteries and how Calipari filters criticism.
After watching his team get outrebounded, “outhustled” and “outworked” in the second half of doubleheader nightcap, a hot and irritated John Calipari said this letdown loss simply came down to toughness. One team (Baylor) had it. The other (Kentucky) didn’t.