Now that Rupp Arena has cleared out from the last Garth Brooks concert, it's time to get basketball started in the Bluegrass.
Tonight, Kentucky will take on the Pikeville Bears in it's first exhibition of the season, something Kentucky fans have been waiting on for what seems like an eternity. Finally, basketball season is here, so, let's get started with the first game pre-view of the season..
Here's some history on the University of Pikeville.....
LOCATION: Pikeville, Kentucky
MASCOT: Bears/ Lady Bears (Women's Athletics)
Pikeville is a divison I NAIA School and compete in the Mid-South Conference. In 2011, Pikeville Men's Basketball won the schools first-ever NAIA Division I National Championship. The Bears begin this season ranked number 2 in the NAIA.
Grady Wallace: Attended Pikeville from 1953 to 1955. Afterwards, he went on to play basketball at the University of South Carolina where he earned second-team All-American status while leading the NCAA in scoring his senior season.
Donnie Jones: Former assistant coach to Billy Donovan at Marshall University and the University of Florida before becoming a head coach at the University of Central Florida where he still coaches today.
E.J. Underwood: Former NFL, CFL, AFL and CIFL player.
With all that out of the way, let's take a look at the history between these two programs.
Kentucky has faced Pikeville only two times in history winning both contests. The first came in 2007 with Kentucky winning 99-64 and the second came in 2010 with the Cats winning again by a score of 97-66.
Tonight's game against the Bears should be one that Kentucky handles with ease, but we have seen in the past how teams come in and give the Cats fits that have no business even being in the game. So we will have to wait and see how this one turns out. But, I would venture to say that this will be a fairly easy contest for the Cats and one that Calipari will use to do a lot of teaching during the course of the game.
Tonight will also see Calipari's first attempt at what he is calling "platooning" which is basically where he will play two five man teams and sub them in and out five at a time. It will be interesting to see how Pikeville will respond to the abundance of talent that Kentucky can throw at them. On the flip side, it will also be interesting to see how Cal's guys handle the "platooning" system as well. In the past, Calipari has been a mastermind when it came to controlling egos, but with so many talented players on one team, it will take a miracle to keep everyone happy. There's just so much talent on this team, that it will be hard to keep everyone happy when it comes to playing time. But, if anyone can make it happen, it's John Calipari.
So, tune in tonight to watch the Cats and the Bears do battle on the SEC Network at 7pm. It should be a good one...