Kentucky will not have an easy road in its quest to repeat as regular-season Southeastern Conference champion.
In the SEC women's basketball schedule released Friday morning, it was revealed the Cats will have to face two likely top-25 opponents, Louisiana State and Texas A&M, twice each.
With league expansion, the SEC relied on a random computerized system to pair the teams with their home-and-away opponents. Kentucky had the (un)luck of the draw to get LSU and the newcomer Aggies.
In ESPN's early pre-season rankings, Kentucky is ranked No. 5, behind Baylor, Connecticut, Duke and Maryland. Texas A&M is ranked No. 17.
Also, LSU seemed to have UK's number last season, beating the Cats twice, including knocking them out of the SEC Tournament. Kentucky's permanent home-and-away opponent, South Carolina, remains the same.
One of the games with Texas A&M, on Feb. 18 in College Station, will be part of the Play 4Kay campaign and will be included in ESPN's Big Monday slate (7 p.m. on ESPN2).
According to the pre-season rankings, the next-best SEC team is Georgia, which will visit the Cats on Feb. 3.
The beginning and the end of the SEC schedule are complicated for Kentucky as well. The Cats go eight straight games before their first bye, the Thursday before that meeting with the Bulldogs. And at one stretch in February, UK will play five of six games on the road (with one bye in there as well).
Kentucky foes ranked in the pre-season poll are No. 1 Baylor (Nov. 13); No. 9 Georgia (Feb. 3); No. 11 Louisville (Dec. 2); No. 17 Texas A&M (Jan. 10, Feb. 18), No. 20 Vanderbilt (Feb. 10) and No. 21 Tennessee (March 3).
Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader. Blog: ukwomen.bloginky.com