LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The Southeastern Conference expects either Kentucky or Arkansas to win the regular-season men’s basketball championship during the 2022-2023 season.

You won’t find those words in the league’s official release of the conference schedule Wednesday. But you can read between the lines.

The league booked John Calipari’s team to finish its 18-game regular-season schedule in Fayetteville, Arkansas on March 4, the final Saturday of league play.

The Wildcats are also booked for home-and-away games with five SEC teams. Four — Tennessee, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Florida — are East Division rivals in football.

The fifth is Eric Musselman’s Razorbacks’ program, which finished 28-9 last season and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season. UK finished 26-8 overall, 14-4 in the SEC, tying Tennessee for second, behind league champion Auburn.

Makes sense. Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook posted its preseason Top 25 last week. Kentucky (No. 3) and Arkansas (No. 6) were the highest ranked SEC programs.

The other SEC programs ranked in Blue Ribbon’s Top 25 are Tennessee (No. 10); Alabama (No. 13); Auburn (No. 15) and Texas A&M (No. 21).

The Wildcats get Bama (away), Auburn (home) and A&M (home) only once.

Kentucky opens SEC play at Missouri on Dec. 28, three days before the Wildcats return home to host Louisville. UK also played Missouri in its SEC opener last season, defeating the Tigers, 83-56, in Rupp Arena.

This will be a season of transition for SEC hoops. Six of the league’s 16 programs changed head coaches.

Florida — Todd Golden of San Francisco replaces Mike White.

Georgia — White replaces Tom Crean.

LSU — Matt McMahon of Murray State replaces Will Wade.

Mississippi State — Chris Jans of New Mexico State replaces Ben Howland.

Missouri — Dennis Gates of Cleveland State replaces Cuonzo Martin.

South Carolina — Lamont Paris of Chattanooga replaces Frank Martin.

Here is Kentucky’s complete SEC regular-season schedule.

  • Dec. 28 at Missouri
  • Jan. 3 Louisiana State
  • Jan. 7 at Alabama
  • Jan. 10 South Carolina
  • Jan. 14 at Tennessee
  • Jan 17 Georgia
  • Jan. 21 Texas A&M
  • Jan. 24 at Vanderbilt
  • Jan. 31 at Ole Miss
  • Feb. 4 Florida
  • Feb. 7 Arkansas
  • Feb. 11 at Georgia
  • Feb. 15 at Mississippi State
  • Feb. 18 Tennessee
  • Feb. 22 at Florida
  • Feb. 25 Auburn
  • March 1 Vanderbilt
  • March 4 at Arkansas

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