Texas, Arizona, and Kentucky announce preseason schedules

With this being the sleepy time period in college basketball (even with some rumors going around involving Iowa State’s Fred Hoiberg), three schools with instant pedigree have announced their preseason non-conference schedules for the first part of the 2015-2016 season.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, new Texas head coach Shaka Smart will take his Longhorns to China to play Washington.

That game will tip off at 10 p.m. Eastern time on November 14 (11 a.m. local time in China the next day).  Only time will tell if that only true road game will be enough to merit an at-large bid next March.  The Atlantis tournament might be worth checking out with your turkey leftovers on NBCSN during the Thanksgiving holiday break.

The rest of the games include North Carolina, Pac 12 ready Stanford, along with Vanderbilt and UConn looking to improve after some mediocre play plagued parts of their 2015 run which ended up being short of ending up in the Big Dance:

TEXAS NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE, all tip times TBD

Nov. 14: vs. Washington (Shanghai, China)
Nov. 21: vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Nov. 25-27: Battle 4 Atlantis tournament (Charlotte, Connecticut, Gonzaga, Michigan, Syracuse, Texas A&M, Washington)
Dec. 1: vs. UT Arlington
Dec. 4: vs. Samford
Dec. 8: vs. UTSA (Texas San Antonio)
Dec. 12: vs. North Carolina
Dec. 15: vs. Appalachian State
Dec. 19: at Stanford
Dec. 29: vs. UConn
Jan. 30: vs. Vanderbilt

Arizona may be taking a small step back after reaching the Elite Eight each of the last two seasons.  I expect them to be still a major player in the Pac 12, even with five games will pit the Wildcats against teams that did play in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

Expect Sean Miller’s bunch to pile a bunch of home wins inside the McKale Center leading up to the week before Christmas.  However, their trip to Gonzaga at The Kennel is going to be a bear:

ARIZONA WILDCATS NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE:

Nov. 13: vs. Pacific
Nov. 16: vs. Bradley
Nov. 19: vs. Boise State
Nov. 22: vs. Northwestern State
Nov. 26-29: DirecTV Wooden Legacy tournament (Michigan State, Providence, Boston College, UC Irvine will be some of the teams involved)
Dec. 05: at Gonzaga
Dec. 09: vs. Fresno State
Dec. 13: vs. Missouri
Dec. 16: vs. Northern Arizona
Dec. 19: vs. UNLV
Dec. 22: vs. Long Beach State

For Kentucky coach John Calipari ever the realist, he does not dwell on the past.  Rather than win national titles, he cherishes the fact that 26 of his Kentucky players were drafted in the NBA since he became coach as his recent speech to business executives from Alltell who recently held their annual shareholder meeting inside Rupp Arena.  If you get some time, please listen to Coach Calipari speak the honest truth on what gives him the most joy being a major college coach (the entire clip runs about 35 minutes):

http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/25191768/audio-calipari-says-uks-goal-was-to-get-players-drafted-not-win-title

Next season’s schedule should prove in most media and blog circles that UK will have the most difficult slate of games before the Christmas holiday and SEC play begins in earnest around the New Year’s holiday.

Some of the teams that Kentucky will play have never met before (thanks to CBSSports.com and the Kentucky Athletics website for the key information).

Just fyi–the game with Duke will be the last game of ESPN’s annual Tip-Off Marathon and their participation in the CBS Sports Classic will take place in Brooklyn.  Other key games include road stops at UCLA and Kansas, plus they will host their intrastate battle with Louisville the day after Christmas.

KENTUCKY WILDCATS NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE:

Opponent 2014-15 record Date Final RPI KenPom.com final ranking Series history Last meeting
vs. Albany 24-9 Nov. 13 104 128 First meeting Never met
vs. NJIT 21-12 Nov. 14 134 166 Never met First meeting
vs. Duke 35-4 Nov. 17 1 4 UK leads 11-9 UK lost 75-68 on Nov. 13, 2012
vs. Wright State 11-20 Nov. 20 266 250 UK leads 3-0 UK won 97-75 on Nov. 23, 1998
vs. Boston Univ. 13-17 Nov. 24 200 242 UK leads 4-0 UK won 89-65 on Nov. 21, 2014
@ South Florida 9-23 Nov. 27 277 295 First meeting Never met
vs. Illinois State 22-13 Nov. 30 53 52 First meeting Never met
@ UCLA 22-14 Dec. 3 39 33 UK leads 7-4 UK won 83-44 on Dec. 20, 2014
vs. Eastern Kentucky 21-12 Dec. 9 142 116 UK leads 11-0 UK won 82-49 on Dec. 7, 2014
vs. Arizona State 18-16 Dec. 12 90 63 UK leads 3-0 UK won 82-65 on Nov. 25, 2002
vs. Ohio State 24-11 Dec. 19 38 21 UK leads11-8 UK won 62-60 on March 25, 2011
vs. Louisville 27-9 Dec. 26 19 16 UK leads 33-15 UK won 58-50 on Dec. 27, 2014
@ Kansas 27-9 Jan. 30 5 14 UK leads 22-6 UK won 72-40 on Nov. 18, 2014
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