Transy excited for opportunity to play Kentucky


Kentucky Wildcats guard Jon Hood (4) blocks the ball during the second half of men’s basketball vs. Transylvania at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., on Friday, November 1, 2013. Photo by Emily Wuetcher

It’s been five years since the Transylvania men’s basketball team traveled less than a mile to Rupp Arena, but all of that will change on Friday night during an exhibition game between the Bats and the Wildcats.

The pair of Lexington teams have played in three preseason games, all of which were coached by current Transylvania head coach Brian Lane. After playing against Kentucky for three consecutive years in 2011-2013, Lane is excited to face off against the Wildcats once again.

“We did it for three years and it’s just a really really positive experience for our university and our campus community and I anticipate that being the same this year,” Lane said. 

The thing Lane loves about playing Kentucky is the experience for his team and the extra effort his team gives in preparation for the big game.

“Because of the game, because of wanting to do well, they get in the gym more, they lift more, and I think all those things translate into a better year for us,” Lane said. “The first year that we played, Kentucky won the national championship with Anthony Davis; we went to the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team. I would love nothing more to happen than the same thing.”

Since that first preseason matchup in the 2011-2012 season, the Bats have gone on to appear in one NCAA Tournament, which took place the season after. Transylvania has not made the Division III NCAA Tournament in the last five seasons, and they’re hoping the game against Kentucky will help prepare them for a successful season.

As Lane and his team prepare for the preseason game, they know it’s not about looking for the upset; it’s about getting in experience before the season starts, and the same applies to Kentucky. 

“It’s a little tougher when you play a smaller team like we are, and they will face some of those teams during the course of the year,” Lane said. “Our job is not to go in and try to win the game because I think everybody in their right mind knows that’s not going to happen.”

For a lot of the players, it will be their first and possibly only chance they get to play in one of college basketball’s most sacred arenas. He expects a lot of them to soak in the moment of playing in front of the largest crowd they’ll play in front of all season. 

“The first time we went down there as a team, I kind of watched their eyes and you could see some of them that had never been in there really taking it in for the first time once they walked out onto the court,” Lane said. 

Lane has done his homework against the opponent, even though he knows they don’t have much of a shot at winning. From what he’s seen on tape, which is very little since it’s preseason, Lane knows they’ll be facing a tough team.

“It’s going to be a physical game, and just watching the highlights and the games from the Bahamas, you see a very determined team that’s coming into the season ranked one or two in most polls and that where they want to finish,” Lane said.

Aside from the game itself, Lane knows that the entire experience will be a positive one for the Transylvania community.

“It’s just a great opportunity for not only our basketball program, but the alums and current students,” Lane said. “It’s great for our admissions department, just the overall– all the excitement around the game leading up to the game, leading up to the tip, everything is great.”