Mar 22, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari directs his team during practice the day before the semi-finals of the south region of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE
On Tuesday, the University of Kentucky officially released their non-conference basketball schedule for the 2012-2013 season.
It's not very impressive, especially for those looking to attend an enticing early season game in Rupp Arena. Because of this, Wildcat fans are moping and ticked off at, oh you know, a 9pm game against Samford or a January 2nd match-up with Eastern Michigan, in which half of the Bluegrass State will likely still be hungover.
With their annual match-up against North Carolina reportedly on a one-year hiatus, and the future of playing Indiana unknown, the focus and objectives of formulating the defending national champions non-conference schedule is a bit different.
While UK will play Maryland in the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and Duke in the Georgia Dome, the best non-conference game in Rupp at the end of this calendar year will be against Baylor.
But with that being said, this schedule should come as no surprise, and as much as I'd rather not publicly admit this, but Rob Dauster is sort of right.
As you may recall from back in May, John Calipari was candid in how he and the UK atheltic department were going to approach scheduling non-league games in the years to come.
"I want to create experiences, not just games," he blogged on his own website. "We also want to create experiences for our players that prepare us for our 18-game Southeastern Conference schedule."
Calipari added that he wanted to ensure his teams played in a football stadium at least once a year to prep for NCAA Tournament venues.
Basically, inviting Murray State to Lexington and continuing a home-and-home with an on-the-rise Indiana program can be both risky in the standings and not as profitable. Why host a top tiered team at your own arena when you can play them on a neutral court then market and collect a healthy check like it's a heavily promoted Vegas fight?
If I were a Kentucky season ticket, I'd probably be a little peeved. There's less gifts under the proverbial Christmas tree, less intriguing games to look forward to as the season gets going. But the bottom line is there's more money to be made traveling out of state, and it's an approach Calipari appears to be keen on replicating for years to come.