LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky basketball has played exactly two top-100 teams in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings: No. 7 Kansas (a close loss) and No. 70 Vermont (a close win). The Wildcats have faced six straight opponents ranked 126th or worse.
That’s about to change. Starting Saturday against No. 29 Virginia Tech, UK closes the season with 22 consecutive games against the current top 100 — and 13 against top-50 teams. John Calipari on Friday previewed his team’s game against the Hokies and the start of the real season for the Cats.
We bring you that audio and host Curtis Burch and beat writer Kyle Tucker break it all down on the latest episode of Wildcat Country, your daily Kentucky podcast presented by SEC Country. The topics include:
- Injury updates on Jarred Vanderbilt (foot), Quade Green (eye) and Sacha Killeya-Jones (ankle), as Calipari remains non-committal on Vanderbilt’s return and says Green and SKJ were back at practice and probably available Saturday. Maybe.
- Why the Hokies are such a threat to upset Kentucky. HINT: Really good 3-point shooting and a fast-paced offense against a Cats defense that has at times been too casual about defending the perimeter.
- Kyle calls Karl-Anthony Towns a Mr. Corny McCornball (and a very fine basketball player and human).
- Previewing the matchup of Canadian cousins Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (UK) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker. SGA said they waged some one-on-one wars as kids — nearly resulting in blows — and are best friends. They trash talk each other and both plan to have bragging rights for the holiday.
- Might Kentucky have an advantage over guard-heavy Virginia Tech with its size. Seemingly everyone on the Cats’ roster is 6-9 or taller, while the Hokies have only one contributor taller than 6-foot-6.
Don’t miss any of our Cats coverage. Follow podcast host @CurtisBurch as well as @KyleTucker_SEC for hoops and football columns, @Joe_Mussatto for football team coverage, recruiting notes and UK-in-the-NBA rundowns.