Although the disaster loss to Saint Peter’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament tainted the overall past season for Kentucky Basketball. They finished with a record of 26-8 and 14-4 in SEC play. The Wildcats also were 11-2 in the non-conference, which included a win over then-No. 5 Kansas on the road, as well as a win over unranked North Carolina that ended up looking much better as the year went on.
As good as last season was, the 2022-23 campaign has the chance to be even better. Oscar Tshiebwe, the reigning National Player of the Year, is back for another year. And with a mix of veterans and another group of five-star freshmen, the Wildcats are a likely preseason top-5 team.
Clearly, head coach John Calipari is confident with this roster because the non-conference schedule, which is officially out today, is as brutal as ever before for the program. Several Final Four contenders are on this list and ever a team or two that may be even better than Kentucky.
Here’s a ranking of all 13 non-conference opponents for the Wildcats.
13. South Carolina State Bulldogs
The Bulldogs were solid and a middle-of-the-pack team in the MEAC last year, led by head coach Tony Madlock and his son and leading scorer, freshman TJ Madlock. Both are now at Alabama A&M, leaving this roster with a bunch of role players without a leading guy.
Returning players such as Rahsaan Edwards and RaQuan Brown are back but South Carolina State is definitely in rebuilding mode. They’re likely to finish towards the bottom of the league this season and not be very competitive in this matchup.