CRAWFORD | From now through Thanksgiving weekend, it's a local h - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | From now through Thanksgiving weekend, it's a local hoops feast

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In a week, the fortunate among us will be sitting around gorging ourselves as a way of demonstrating our gratitude for living in the United States. But over the next week, those of us who live in the Louisville area will have the opportunity to gorge ourselves on mostly bland but mildly entertaining college basketball -- with a couple of exceptions.

Thankfully, there will be a couple of highly anticipated football games thrown in, and some NCAA Tournament level soccer.

I'm not complaining. You can't beat a night in the KFC Yum! Center or Rupp Arena or Assembly Hall -- even Knights Hall at Bellarmine. But for the Division I powers in our area, the proliferation of early season "exempt" events mean long progressions of games that most of us won't remember in two weeks, much less two years. You have to wonder how much these teams will benefit from many of the upcoming games.

As well, high school football is racing to its conclusion.

But they will play, so we will watch.  Let me lay out the spread before us . . .

THURSDAY, NOV. 20 (TONIGHT)

Indiana welcomes No. 22 Southern Methodist and coach Larry Brown into Assembly Hall at 8 p.m. University of Louisville fans can attest to Brown's work at SMU, having faced the team as an American Athletic Conference rival last season. Meanwhile, the U of L women's team welcomes Belmont to the KFC Yum! Center and UK plays a first-round NCAA soccer tournament match at home against Oakland University.

FRIDAY, NOV. 21

A double-dose of cupcakes. Kentucky faces Boston U at 7 p.m., then U of L welcomes Marshall to the KFC Yum! Center at 9. Rick Pitino said Marshall poses problems for his team in trying to "choreograph" his defense. That's a new one. As for UK's game against Boston U, John Calipari is expected to have his team dancing the "Kentucky Two-Step" with his platoons. (UK women's soccer, meanwhile, will look to make some history for itself in the NCAA Tournament, facing Arizona State in Charlottesville, Va., for a berth in the Sweet 16). In the high school football playoffs, Class 6A features a rematch of Trinity-St. X, while Butler and Ballard square off, while Meade County takes on Central Hardin. Iroquois plays John Hardin in 5A, Fairdale gets North Oldham in 4A, with DeSales and Christian Academy in a big-time 2A matchup.

SATURDAY, NOV. 22

Thankfully, the main event this day is U of L's first-ever football trip to Notre Dame. There's some appropriate symbolism. State workers have begun to dismantle old Cardinal Stadium, just as the Cardinals begin a new four-game home-and-home series with Notre Dame. It's an important game for the program, even if Notre Dame isn't the national glamor program it once was. Of course, the day couldn't pass without some basketball. IU is playing some guy named Lamar at 8 p.m., the same time the UK women will tip off AT Central Michigan.

SUNDAY, NOV. 23

This is one of the busiest sports days in the city in some time. U of L will play either Saint Louis or Tulsa in the second round of the NCAA soccer tournament in Lynn Stadium. It'll be the first NCAA Tournament event in U of L's brand-new facility. Kickoff is 6 p.m. But U of L isn't the only team in the event. Indiana earned the No. 5 overall seed and will play the winner of Monmouth and Xavier at 1 p.m. in Bloomington.  In hoops, the U of L women welcome Ball State to the KFC Yum! Center at 2, and Bellarmine plays host to Findlay, a traditional Division II power, in one of its best non-conference games of the year, at 3 in Knights Hall. UK plays Montana State at 6, while Western Kentucky faces Samford at 7.

MONDAY, NOV. 24

By this date, we'll finally have a game time for Saturday's Kentucky-Louisville football matchup, and the coaches will meet the media to talk about each other. But basketball keeps rolling on. U of L will play host to Savannah State at 7, while IU gets Eastern Washington at home at 7:30.

TUESDAY, NOV. 25

What's that? You want me to make it stop? No way. UK has one of those games you circle on the schedule. The Wildcats will play Texas-Arlington at Rupp Arena at 7.  At the same time, we have a women's matchup of some value -- WKU visiting the KFC Yum! Center to take on Louisville, also at 7.

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 26

Of course, you'll start this day by clicking in to watch Rick Bozich and me on our weekly Sports Page Live webcast at WDRB.com, where we'll look for some light at the end of the cupcake tunnel. And perhaps we'll see some that night, when U of L takes on a Cleveland State team that Ken Pomeroy ranks No. 87 in the nation (Pitino will have them sounding like No. 8 by the time he's finished with them) and WKU will travel to Huntington, W.Va. to face Marshall.

THURSDAY, NOV. 27

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Surely nobody will be playing basketball on this day, right? Wrong! The University of Kentucky women do Thanksgiving in style, traveling to the Virgin Islands to play three straight nights, starting with Illinois.

FRIDAY, NOV. 28

While the rest of us gear up for a big football Saturday, IU basketball plays host to UNC-Greensboro at 9, and the U of L women play at home against Lafayette at 7.

SATURDAY, NOV. 29

For the first time, the UK-U of L football rivalry will be played at the end of the season, and there will be plenty of interesting storylines no matter how U of L does at Notre Dame this week. UK will be playing for a bowl berth, and coming off two weeks to prepare. U of L has a freshman, Reggie Bonnafon at quarterback. This will be fun.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30

Real basketball is on the way. Kentucky welcomes Providence to Rupp Arena at 2, a prelude to U of L taking on Ohio State on Tuesday at 9:30 and IU facing Pitt on Tuesday at 7. The U of L women travel to Valparaiso on this date, too.

Thank goodness for the holidays. And like one of those restaurant all-you-can eat buffet spreads, the basketball may not be the best, but in the next week-and-a-half, it's all-you-can-eat.

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