UK releases men's basketball schedule

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky announced its 2009-10 men's basketball schedule, which includes as many as 18 games televised on CBS, or the ESPN network. The schedule features a trip to Cancun, 18 regular-season games at Rupp Arena and matchups with traditional foes North Carolina, Indiana and Louisville, as well as a game against 2009 Final Four participant Connecticut in Madison Square Garden.

This season, at least 15 of Kentucky's 31 regular-season games will be on CBS, ESPN or ESPN2 including 10 of the Cats' 16 SEC contests.

"I'm ready to start playing games tomorrow. I can't wait," said Calipari. "I know it is a tough schedule, but love coaching especially the Commonwealth's team."

Kentucky officially opens the John Calipari Era Nov. 13 by hosting Morehead State in an ESPNU televised contest.

The Wildcats open SEC play Saturday, Jan. 9, by hosting Georgia. Senior Day in Lexington features Florida on Mar. 7. UK also welcomes Arkansas (Jan. 23), Vanderbilt (Jan. 30), Ole Miss (Feb. 2), Alabama (Feb. 9), Tennessee (Feb. 13) and South Carolina (Feb. 25) to Rupp Arena.

"There's are no easy games in this league," Calipari said. "No gimmes. None. Everyone has great coaches, facilities and players."

We're talking about a team like ours where we will still be trying to figure out who's who and that makes the conference games even more challenging.

The Cats will make their first appearance in Madison Square Garden since November of 2000, taking part in the SEC/Big East Challenge where they will take on the UConn Huskies on Dec. 9.

The non-conference schedule is also highlighted by traditional rival and defending national champion North Carolina (Dec. 5 in Lexington), as well as Indiana (Dec. 12 in Bloomington) and Louisville (Jan. 2 in Lexington). The Cats once again host a team at Louisville's Freedom Hall, matching up with UNC Asheville on Nov. 30.

The non-conference schedule features home dates with Sam Houston State (Nov. 19) and Rider (Nov. 21) as part of the Cancun Challenge, a prelude to the Wildcats' trip to Cancun for the remainder of the Cancun tournament where they will take on Cleveland State (Nov. 24) and either Stanford or Virginia (Nov. 25).

"You like to get away and get your team together in a setting away from campus where they're doing everything together," Calipari said. "You find out a lot about your team. Usually teams will come together during trips like this."

The rest of the non-conference schedule features games against Miami (Ohio) (Nov. 16), Austin Peay (Dec. 19), Drexel (Dec. 21), Long Beach State (Dec. 23) and Hartford (Dec. 29).

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