Kentucky Basketball 2021-22 SEC Schedule: Takeaways

Aritcle written by:Tyler ThompsonTyler Thompson

MrsTylerKSR

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(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

The SEC released the 2021-22 men’s basketball schedule today, completing Kentucky’s 31-game slate. We’ve talked about the non-conference schedule ad nauseam, so let’s turn our sights to the Cats’ 18 conference games. Get your calendar out and let’s start planning.

Dec. 29 (Wed.)MissouriRupp ArenaLexington, Ky.
Dec. 31 (Fri.)High Point*Rupp ArenaLexington, Ky.
Jan. 4 (Tues.)at LSUPete Maravich Assembly CenterBaton Rouge, La.
Jan. 8 (Sat.)GeorgiaRupp ArenaLexington, Ky.
Jan. 11 (Tues.)at VanderbiltMemorial GymnasiumNashville, Tenn
Jan. 15 (Sat.)TennesseeRupp ArenaLexington, Ky.
Jan. 19 (Wed.)at Texas A&MReed ArenaCollege Station-Bryan, Texas
Jan. 22 (Sat.)at AuburnAuburn ArenaAuburn, Ala.
Jan. 25 (Tue.)Mississippi StateRupp ArenaLexington, Ky.
Jan. 29 (Sat.)at Kansas*Allen FieldhouseLawrence, Kan.
Feb. 2 (Wed.)VanderbiltRupp ArenaLexington, Ky.
Feb. 5 (Sat.)at AlabamaColeman ColiseumTuscaloosa, Ala.
Feb. 8 (Tues.)at South CarolinaColonial Life ArenaColumbia, S.C.
Feb. 12 (Sat.)FloridaRupp ArenaLexington, Ky.
Feb. 15 (Tues.)at TennesseeThompson-Boling ArenaKnoxville, Tenn.
Feb. 19 (Sat.)AlabamaRupp ArenaLexington, Ky.
Feb. 23 (Wed.)LSURupp ArenaLexington, Ky.
Feb. 26 (Sat.)at ArkansasBud Walton ArenaFayetteville, Ark.
March 1 (Tues.)Ole MissRupp ArenaLexington, Ky.
March 5 (Sat.)at FloridaExactech ArenaGainesville, Fla.
* Non-conference games

February is the Cruelest Month

January presents some big challenges. Playing LSU in Baton Rouge is never easy, nor is playing Auburn at Auburn Arena. Tennessee in Rupp on Saturday, January 15 will have a big-time atmosphere. That Vanderbilt game in Nashville can be weird.

February sees January and raises it some very tough road trips. In February, Kentucky plays reigning SEC Champ Alabama twice and Arkansas and Tennessee on the road. The back-to-back of Tennessee in Knoxville on Feb. 15 and Alabama in Lexington on Feb. 19 is huge. And, oh yeah, LSU and at Arkansas the next week. Let’s see what you’ve got, Wildcats.

Kentucky v Arkansas
FAYETTEVILLE, AR – JANUARY 18: Student section of the Arkansas Razorbacks cheer the Hogs during a game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Bud Walton Arena on January 18, 2020 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Wildcats defeated the Razorbacks 73-66. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Road Trip Potential

Last season sucked. There’s no other way to put it. If this team is as good as we think, it could be a very special season. There’s no sweeter sound than “Go Big Blue” in an opponent’s arena, so if you’re ready to get back out there, consider one of three road trips. (Or just do them all!)

Sat., Feb. 26: at Arkansas

Like a lot of teams, the Razorbacks beat the Cats in Rupp Arena last season; however, Kentucky has won the last three in Fayetteville. Eric Musselman’s team is No. 14 in ESPN’s preseason rankings. There’s nothing he would like more than his first win over Kentucky in Bud Walton Arena. Fayetteville is not close to Lexington, but the atmosphere will be worth the trek. Get lunch at Hugo’s downtown and if you have time, make a detour to Bentonville and the Crystal Bridges Art Museum.

Sat., Feb. 5: at Alabama

Nate Oats and the Crimson Tide swept Kentucky last year, winning by 20 at Rupp and 11 in Tuscaloosa. Alabama lost its two best frontcourt players, Herb Jones and Jordan Bruner, but reloaded with transfers and a top 15 freshman class that includes five-star point guard JD Davison. Football will always be king in Tuscaloosa; however, Oats has built a fun atmosphere at Coleman Coliseum. This series will likely have a huge impact on the conference standings. Plus, I’ll never get tired of marveling at the grandeur of Alabama’s campus. Nothing like it in the SEC.

Sat., Jan. 22: at Auburn

Kentucky only plays Auburn once this season. Much to Bruce Pearl’s delight, the game takes place at Auburn Arena, where the Cats have lost two straight. The Tigers are No. 22 in ESPN’s preseason rankings thanks to an incredibly talented roster that includes Jabari Smith, Allen Flanigan, and UNC transfer Walker Kessler. Two things are guaranteed: “The Jungle” will be very loud, and Bruce Pearl will be very sweaty.

Best Rupp Games

Kentucky has nine SEC home games. Here are three that stand out to me.

Sat., Jan. 15: Tennessee

The Volunteers may not be as strong as recent years, but there’s no denying the rivalry has picked up steam in the Rick Barnes era. The Cats have lost two straight to Tennessee in Rupp, a trend that needs to stop. This game is big on any night; on a Saturday, downtown Lexington will be hopping for the Cats’ first major SEC game.

Sat., Feb. 19: Alabama

As mentioned, Alabama’s good again, No. 16 in ESPN’s preseason rankings. Beating them at Rupp on a Saturday would provide some major momentum heading into the final stretch of the regular schedule.

Tues., March 1: Ole Miss

Kermit Davis and the Ole Miss Rebel Black Bear Land Sharks don’t really get the toe-a-tappin’, but this will be Senior Night for Kellan Grady and Davion Mintz; in fact, it will be Mintz’s third Senior Night. He was injured his final season at Creighton and had to watch the festivities from the sidelines. Last March, he said farewell to the Rupp Arena crowd with a win over South Carolina. There are more exciting matchups out there but Kentucky doesn’t get many significant Senior Nights these days. This one will be big.

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2021-09-17