If Kentucky coach John Calipari wants to know about Portland, he could give former UK coach Tubby Smith a call in order to find out more information on the Cats’ first opponent.
Smith, now the coach at Minnesota, was one of 21 teams the Pilots defeated last season. Also included in a stack of school-record 21 wins was a win over UCLA. Portland has won its first three games of the season this year, including an 89-75 victory over Florida Atlantic last weekend.
Kentucky , ranked No. 12 in this week’s Associated Press poll, won its opener last Friday night – an 88-65 victory over East Tennessee State and will embark on its first road trip of the season, which features an appearance in the Maui Invitational set for Nov. 22-24.
Following the opening contest, Kentucky’s Terrence Jones was named SEC Player of the Week. Jones graduated from Jefferson High School in Portland last season and led the team to three consecutive Class 5A championships.
"(Kentucky) wanted to have a game back here in Terrence's hometown," Portland coach Eric Reveno told the Portland Tribune. “For our program, building our reputation in Portland and competing against the best in the country and preparing ourselves for the tough West Coast Conference, we thought it was the perfect fit."
Portland will be led by Luke Sikma, son of former NBA standout Jack Sikma, who played for the Seattle Supersonics and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Wildcats, one of eight teams competing in next week’s EA Sports Maui Invitational, will take on Oklahoma in the opening round at 5:30 p.m. Monday. Depending on the outcome of the first-round outing against the Sooners, the Wildcats will take on either Virginia or Washington in the second round.
The contest will mark the third meeting in history between the two foes and the first game between the two teams since 1987. Kentucky defeated Oklahoma 43-33 in 1947 and dealt the Sooners a 75-74 setback 40 years later in the most recent contest at Rupp Arena. The previous two games between the two foes were played in Lexington.
Connecticut, Michigan State, Virginia, Washington, Wichita State will join the Wildcats, Sooners and host Chaminade. Three of the eight teams – Kentucky, UConn and Michigan State have won a combined 11 national championships, while three of the eight teams competed the NCAA Tournament last season.
Wichita State, UConn, Michigan State and Chaminade are listed in the top bracket. Kentucky, Oklahoma, Washington and Virginia are in the bottom bracket. Kentucky will take on the Virginia-Washington State winner if the Cats get past Oklahoma in the first round.
The game time has been set for Kentucky’s final football game of the regular season at Tennessee on Nov. 27 Knoxville. The contest will kickoff at 12:21 p.m. and will be televised by WKYT-Channel 27 in Lexington.
The Wildcats, which defeated Vanderbilt 38-20 to become bowl eligible for the fifth season in a row, will be looking to end a 25-game losing streak to the Vols.
Story by Keith Taylor. Photo by Victoria Graff.
Big Blue Blog: Mitch Barnhart speaks out on link to AD post at Kansas