Tonight is the official tip-off of the 2011-2012 season, and what is not to be excited about? This edition of the Wildcats should be strong contenders to not only win the SEC, but make a push toward the Final Four in New Orleans. Kentucky is in a small group of truly elite teams this season that includes North Carolina (who will visit Rupp Arena on December 3), Ohio State, and UCONN.
First up, however, is the Marist Red Foxes, who will invade Rupp for tonight's opener. I confess to not knowing much about the Red Foxes, but this I do know-no college team should have the Red Fox as your mascot! I mean seriously-how can you take any team called the Red Foxes seriously?
Beyond that, Marist college is in Poughkeepsie, NY. I can't even spell Poughkeepsie without looking it up. A little research shows that Poughkeepsie (how do you even say that?) is located in southern New York wedged between Pennsylvania and Connecticut-why that is significant, I'm not sure, but I was curious, and now we all know!
Tonight's game is part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-off Tournament which will continue next Saturday and Sunday when the Cats play Penn State and then the winner of Old Dominion/South Florida in some place called Uncasville, Connecticut, and no, I don't know where that is either. That's what Google is for! It seems like a strange format for a tournament, because in between the three games of the event, the Wildcats will play Kansas as part of the State Farm Champions Classic in New York City-a far more important barometer for Kentucky than Marist, Penn State, and ODU. Besides, what happened to the days of just scheduling games? It seems like until we get to conference play, every game is part of some "classic" or "tournament" etc. Seems a bit silly to me, but hey, who am I, right?
Marist competes in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) and went 1-29 last season. Yes, that's correct, 1-29. I almost feel sorry for any team that goes 1-29 because you have to know that was one long, miserable season to live through. On a bright note, however, the Red Foxes have four returning starters from that team that went 1-29, so their prospects for this season have to be considered to be on the up side. Marist is coached by Chuck Martin who is 11-52 in his first two seasons with the Red Foxes.
It's pretty evident that this game will probably look similar to the two scrimmages we have seen thus far rather than a real basketball game-the biggest difference is that this one will actually count for something. Look for the Cats to roll early and roll big in what essentially amounts to a tune up for the Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday. I expect Terrence Jones and Anthony Davis to have a big night with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist able to penetrate and dish the ball off at will. This should be a fun one for the Rupp Arena crowd! Go Cats!go back