Kentucky Wildcats roll out tradition-rich non-conference schedule for 2016-17

Kentucky Basketball rolled out its 2016-17 non-conference schedule on Monday. Fans of high-profile matchups against tradition-rich teams will be counting down the days until the season begins.

The Wildcats typically play one of the most challenging non-conference schedules in the country, but this one is impressive even by UK's own standards.

Kentucky will face eight teams that made it to postseason play during the 2015-16 season, including five who finished the year with a top 50 RPI ranking. Among them are some of the giants of college basketball: North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA, Michigan State and Louisville.

The Tar Heels, Jayhawks and Spartans all finished last season ranked among KenPom's top five teams. The 15 non-conference opponents combined for a .649 winning percentage last year.

“What we try to do with our schedule every year is challenge our players with the best teams in the country while also preparing them for that March run, which is what this program has been built on,” head coach John Calipari said. “This is not an easy task, and sometimes we go too far. Hopefully this isn’t one of those years. When you combine the teams we’re playing with the travel we have, this might be the toughest schedule we’ve ever attempted. I can’t wait to get this started.”

UK will play in a variety of locations, including a Nov. 28 matchup with Arizona State in the Bahamas, a Las Vegas matchup with North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 17 and two trips to New York City -- a Nov. 15 matchup with Michigan State in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden and against Hofstra on Dec. 11 at the Barclays Center.

Two of the high-profile opponents will be home games at Rupp Arena -- Dec. 3 against UCLA and Jan. 28 against Kansas.

The Cats' annual rivalry game against Louisville will be played Dec. 21 at the Cardinals' KFC Yum! Center.

UK's 2016-17 Southeastern Conference schedule will feature nine home games and nine away games, and will be announced at a later date. It's the fifth straight year the SEC will feature an 18-game schedule.

Complete game times and TV information will be released at a later date.

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