John Clay: Kentucky fans deserve better than Rupp games of the weak

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistJuly 10, 2012 

Kentucky forward Anthony Davis (23) blocked the last second shot attempt of North Carolina s forward John Henson (31) as #1 Kentucky defeated #5 North Carolina 73-72 on Saturday December 3, 2011 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff

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You knew it would be weak, but really this is beyond weak, actually.

Lafayette, Morehead State, Long Island, Samford, Portland, Lipscomb, Marshall, Eastern Michigan.

More cupcakes than any local bakery.

Yes, Kentucky's non-conference basketball schedule, announced Tuesday, includes Duke and Maryland on neutral floors and road games at Notre Dame and Louisville, but the Rupp Arena portion is deserving of a flagrant foul.

I know, I know, Baylor is coming to Rupp Arena. That's the school UK beat in the South Region finals last season. Yet no one is going to get worked into a lather over Baylor, not when the Bears just lost Perry Jones III, Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy. Coach Scott Drew has an excellent class returning, but the appeal of a UK-Baylor matchup in Rupp does not match the appeal of a UK-North Carolina or a UK-Indiana.

That's especially true this season, when Indiana is likely to be No. 1 or No. 2 in the pre-season rankings. You may be tired of hearing that, but it's true.

Kentucky fans will flock to Rupp regardless, of course. They always do. The Cats are coming off a national championship year. John Calipari has a tremendous recruiting class. Again. There will be a few good Southeastern Conference games on the home schedule, we hope.

But the school did just announce another ticket increase, both in the required K-fund donations and individual tickets. And given this year's guest list, you can't help feeling that the fans who pack Rupp Arena deserve a little more respect.

John Clay: (859) 231-3226. Email: jclay@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @johnclayiv. Blog: johnclay.bloginky.com

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