Kentucky fans have waited for this day since the final notes of 'One Shining Moment' ended on Bourbon Street last April. Finally, it's basketball season in the Bluegrass. Kentucky opens up exhibition play against the NAIA pre-season #1 ranked Northwood University Seahawks tomorrow night. Coaching Northwood is Rollie Massimino. Now, some might wander why that matters. Well, it could be because the last time Massimino was in Rupp Rena, he was hoisting the 1985 NCAA Championship trophy as the headman of Villanova by defeating Georgetown 66-64. So it's safe to say, Massimino won't be intimidated by the atmosphere in Rupp. All joking aside, it will be good to see him back in Rupp for a stroll down memory lane.
Standing in Rollie's way of reliving his NCAA championship victory is the #3 ranked team in the country. Calipari will display his almost entirely new team to the nation against a team that lost in the NAIA Championship game last year, and is the favorite to win this year. Sure, it's an exhibition game, but this is not a horrible team. They are well coached, experienced, and you know how teams like this always seem to come into Rupp and play like the Lakers. This should be a very good test for a very young Kentucky team. If the game is close don't panic, this same team was down only 6 to Michigan State at halftime last night. So they have the ability to keep it close.
The fun part is going to be watching Cal play his version of the "twin towers" with Noel and Cauley-Stein. With Northwood not having a player over 6'9, that could be a major advantage to say the least. All in all, I look for Kentucky to get the win, but don't know if it will be as easy as we would like to see in an exhibition game. But you must remember, the most experienced player returning on this team is Kyle Wiltjer. So, there is bound to be some bumps along the way. With Maryland and Duke being the first two regular season games, these guys had better figure things out in a hurry. So relax Cat fans. You no longer have to pretend you are enjoying the football season, basketball is here.
We' ll be back after the game to talk about it...