Kentucky dropped their first game of the new year last night on the road to LSU, 65-60. This drops the Cats to 1-1 in conference play, but more importantly, still leaves them without a ranked win this season. This loss can be attributed to the fact that we lost our two primary ball handlers during the game to injury. But nonetheless, the loss looks exactly the same in the record column.
The bad news for Kentucky? Our upcoming stretch of games to round out the month do not get any easier.
The GREAT news for Kentucky? We have several opportunities ahead to prove ourselves as one of the top teams in the country.
1/8: Kentucky vs Georgia
Kentucky will start by going back to Rupp Arena to take on Georgia, which is not anticipated to be too difficult of a matchup.
1/11: Kentucky at Vanderbilt Vanderbilt also isn't usually seen as a very strong opponent, but they just knocked off a very talented Arkansas team on the road. Kentucky also hasn't seen a true road win of their own yet, currently sitting at 0-2 on the season. Kentucky's back court will need to be at full strength because Scottie Pippen Jr is one of the best guards in the SEC.
1/15: Kentucky vs Tennessee
Kentucky heads back into Rupp arena to take on their border rivals in what should be a matchup of two top 25 teams. Tennessee has won in each of their last 2 trips to Rupp and 4 of their last 6 matchups against the Cats overall.
1/19: Kentucky at Texas A&M
This is a trap game for Kentucky; a midweek game on the road, sandwiched in between two ranked rival opponents (Tennessee, Auburn). UK has won 6 of their last 7 against the Aggies, but could very easily drop this one if they do not come into College Station focused.
1/22: Kentucky at Auburn
This could very well be our most difficult regular season matchup of the year. It will feature a red-hot top 10 Auburn team, currently the top ranked team in the SEC, in arguably the most hostile environment in all of college basketball. It will also be a great indication of just how good Oscar Tshiebwe is, as Walker Kessler and Jabari Smith form one of, if not the, best front court in the nation.
1/25: Kentucky vs Mississippi State
Kentucky finds itself in another potential trap game sandwiched in between Auburn and Kansas. Mississippi State is currently a bubble tournament team, meaning they will be hunting for a resume defining win over a top team.
1/29: Kentucky at Kansas
Kentucky will end the month by once again heading into one of the most hostile environments to take on a top 10 team. To add even more significance to this game, Kentucky currently is only 3 wins ahead of Kansas for having the most wins in college basketball history.
Seasons are not defined in January. However, the confidence Kentucky could gain by winning these games, along with earning a high tournament seed, can lay the foundation for a very successful March for the Cats.