UK Athletics spring into action this upcoming semester


Kentucky Wildcats forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) high fives Kentucky Wildcats guard Kellan Grady (31) during the UK vs. Southern basketball game on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. UK won 76-64. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Cole Parke

While students are moving back in, hoping to get readjusted to college life for the new semester, UK Athletics is looking to do the same. Matter of fact, some never left.

Since students departed in mid-December, both the mens and womens basketball teams have continued their seasons almost as planned, with just a few bumps in the road.

The mens team currently checks in ranked at No. 18 in the latest AP Top 25 poll with a 13-3 record. While most students left with a sour taste in their mouth after the Cats were stunned on the road against Notre Dame, Kentucky has gone 6-1 since then, including three wins in conference play. 

Notable wins by the Wildcats include their dismantling of North Carolina 98-69 in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 18, and their 83-56 win over the Missouri Tigers to start 1-0 in the SEC on Dec. 29. 

While Kentucky did drop another game on the road against No. 21 LSU, they bounced back with two SEC wins over Georgia and Vanderbilt to maintain a positive conference record. 

The mens team returns to action at home against No. 18 Tennessee on Saturday, Jan. 15.

On the womens’ side, the Cats left students with a 64-58 loss to No. 7 Louisville in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 12. Since then, Kentucky has been unable to play three games, all postponed due to issues surrounding Covid, and have gone 2-1 in games played.

Their most notable win came at home against No. 15 Georgia, where the Cats won 84-76 to start 1-0 in the SEC. Kentucky would then go on to fall short 74-54 against No. 1 South Carolina on the road.

The Cats currently find themselves 8-4 overall, 1-1 in the SEC, ranked No. 19. 

Kentucky was set to return to action on Thursday, Jan. 13, to battle the Mississippi State Bulldogs at home, but COVID-19 issues within the Mississippi State program forced another postponement.

The Wildcat football team also concluded its season, winning the VRBO Citrus Bowl 20-17 over No. 15 Iowa on New Year’s Day. The win allowed the Wildcats to finish the season 10-3 and secure their second Citrus Bowl trophy in four years. 

Kentucky gymnastics looks to start its season this Friday, Jan. 14, against No. 15 Georgia after the Cats’ opener against No. 12 Arizona State was canceled. The event will be the home and season opener for Kentucky and has earned the title “excite night.”

Track and field also returns to action this Friday for the Jim Green Invitational inside Nutter Field House. Both the mens and womens teams will compete in the spring opener.

The rifling team returns to the range on Saturday, Jan. 15, to duel Army at West Point. The following day, Sunday, Jan. 16, it will battle the NC State Wolfpack.

Both mens and womens tennis will start their spring schedules this week as well, both at home, with the women opening with a double-header against East Tennessee State at home on Friday, while men’s tennis opens against Dayton in a double-header on Saturday.

Swimming and Diving will return on Jan. 22 on the road against rival Louisville. The Cats will then return to Lexington on Jan. 28 to challenge Cincinnati in the spring home opener.

Come February, both the Kentucky baseball and softball teams will take their respective diamonds for their season openers as well.

The softball team opens first on Feb. 10, facing the Wisconsin Badgers first in the Northern Lights / Southern Lights multi-team event in Florida. In the following days, it will also play Michigan State, Liberty, Hofstra, Iowa and Virginia Tech as part of the event. 

The softball team won’t play a home game until Mar. 3 when it takes on Michigan as part of the John Cropp Classic.

The baseball team will open its season on Feb. 18, with a three game series against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks on the road. Its home opener will be on Feb. 22 against Southeast Missouri State.

Finally, both mens and womens golf return for their spring seasons. The womens golf team opens in Naples, Florida, on Jan. 18 against Louisville for the Battle of the Bluegrass. They do not have a home event for the remainder of the regular season.

Mens golf opens much later on Feb. 28 against Coastal Carolina in Nevada for the Lake Las Vegas Intercollegiate Event. Similarly to the women, mens golf does not have a home event for the remainder of the season.

An exciting and full spring slate for Kentucky athletics is beginning to take form. Teams are wasting no time getting right back into the flow of things, with 12 events scheduled for the first official week of the spring semester.