Nonconference schedule breakdown

By Tyler Davoren

A Kernel writer breaks down every nonconference game, with an “anticipation score” for each one, from one to 10 (with 10 being the more anticipated games).

Nov. 11 – Marist

See final score of UK-Transylvania game. Expect a game full of dunks and threes capped by a 30- or 40-point margin of victory. This game earns a “3” in excitement purely because it marks the opening of a new season. 3/10

Nov. 15 – Kansas  

The 2011 State Farm Champions Classic in New York sees No. 13 Kansas take on No. 2 UK. An off year for a solid Kansas program doesn’t mean a walk in the park for an inexperienced UK team. The State Farm Champions Classic should be an exciting match. 9/10

Nov. 19 – Penn St.

Starting up the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament in November, UK faces a Penn State team led by first-year head coach Patrick Chambers. Expect the game to be out of reach in favor of the Cats midway through the second quarter. 6/10

Nov. 20 – ODU/USF

UK plays the winner of ODU/USF, but it doesn’t really matter. The Cats should win by 20+ anyway. 6/10

Nov. 23 – Radford

Radford nearly produced an NBA player — a few years ago. Simply put, games like this are great for developing chemistry among players. 3/10

Nov. 25 – Portland

UK plays host to their first west coast opponent, a Portland team that boasts only one player taller than 6-foot-8. Look for Teague to rack up assists via alley-oops to Davis, Jones and Kidd-Gilchrist. 6/10

Dec. 1 – St. John’s

A young St. John’s team travels to Lexington to face what is a relatively young UK team as well. This St. John’s team was put together as a “run and gun” team, so the game should be fast-paced and exciting. 7/10

Dec. 3 – UNC

The Cats, boasting six McDonald’s All-Americans on their roster, play host to the Tar Heels, with 11 McDonald’s All-Americans on their team. Students who won tickets via lottery No. 1 will be treated to what should undoubtedly be one of the top games of the college season. 10/10

Dec. 10 – Indiana

Kentucky travels to Indiana to play one of their biggest out-of-state rivals. However, the game shouldn’t prove to be too difficult for the Cats; Indiana only managed 12 wins all of last season. 8/10

Dec. 17 – Chattanooga

An experienced UT-Chattanooga team is hosted by UK in Rupp Arena; Chattanooga is led by 6-foot-7 senior forward Chris Early, who could prove to be a handful for defensive stud Kidd-Gilchrist. 6/10

Dec. 20 – Samford

When you play in the Southern Conference and still manage to lose 14 conference games, then travel to one of the most notorious arenas in college basketball to play a No. 2-ranked team the very next year, you don’t come to town expecting to emerge from the game victorious. Expect to see the backups reel in serious minutes. 1/10

Dec. 22 – Loyola (Md.)

An intriguing matchup to keep an eye on: 6-foot-10 Loyola forward Shane Walker vs. 6-foot-10 UK forward Kyle Wiltjer. Both are tall, lanky forwards with a sweet outside stroke. UK head coach John Calipari would surely love to see Wiltjer develop into a player like Walker within a year or two. 5/10

Dec. 28 – Lamar

Lamar, a small school from Texas, has five NCAA tournament appearances in the 77 years of their basketball program. Don’t expect their sixth berth, or a win against UK, to come this year. 2/10

Dec. 31 – Louisville

Keeping in mind that Louisville lost their lone low-post presence last year in Terrence Jennings to a professional team in Belgium, look for forwards Jones,  Kidd-Gilchrist and  Davis to have a field day against UK’s biggest adversary. 10/10

Jan. 3 – Arkansas-Little Rock                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There’s a solid possibility that you’ll see guys like Eloy Vargas and Jarrod Polson starting this game for the sake of resting the team’s better players, which should be understandably interesting. Little will likely be at stake during this game.  7/10