Non-conference scheduling isn't what it used to be at Kentucky -- or other places.
If you were making the schedule for the University of
Kentucky, you'd schedule North Carolina, UCLA, UConn, Syracuse, Indiana and
Kansas, in addition to many of the 2012-13 opponents that UK announced Tuesday.
Load it up and let it rip, right?
And make certain you put one game, and a good one, in
Freedom Hall, too.
It doesn't work that way any more. No game in Freedom Hall
next season. I've heard the grumbling about the schools the Wildcats will play.
I've got three things to say about that:
It doesn't work that way anywhere
UK's 2013 non-league schedule might be more difficult than
its 2012 schedule.
The market will determine the scheduling trend.
Non-conference scheduling has become more user friendly everywhere. Look around. Call Jim Boeheim.
Or Jim Calhoun. Or Bo Ryan. Or Rick Pitino.
John Calipari isn't the only one. It's the trend.
Not an encouraging trend, considering the direction of
ticket pricing. But the trend. Sorry. Expanded conference play and the emphasis
on March have accelerated the situation.
As for comparing 2012 and 2013, some numbers:
The combined 2012 winning percentage of UK's 15
non-conference regular-season opponents last season was .548 (279-230). Six of
the 15 teams made the NCAA Tournament.
The combined 2012 winning percentage for UK's 13 non-league
opponents for next season was .570 (248-187). Five of the 13 teams made the
No North Carolina and no Indiana wipes a chunk of glamour
off the schedule. But overall, it's similar.
And in the end, you'll decide.
For all the grumbling about UK not playing a game in Freedom
Hall, the crowds in Louisville the last five years have been disappointing. It
hasn't been a tough ticket since the Indiana series moved to campus sites.
As long as Kentucky can sell 24,000 tickets to play Baylor,
Samford, Portland and Marshall, UK is going to schedule Baylor, Samford,
Portland and Marshall.