The three winningest programs in the history of college basketball, and four of the top seven.
A combined 30 national championships.
Kentucky's non-conference schedule in the 2014-15 basketball season is packed with plenty of blue bloods. Of course, none bluer than Kentucky, but it's a schedule befitting a UK program given to grandiloquence.
UK announced the non-conference portion of the schedule on Wednesday. Kentucky, the winningest college program (2,140 victories), will play the second- and third-winningest programs in Kansas (2,126) and North Carolina (2,114).
The schedule also includes UCLA, the seventh-winningest program at 1,781, Louisville (No. 11 at 1,728) and Texas (No. 17 at 1,699).
Counting Kentucky's eight national championships, the schedule will feature programs that have won the NCAA Tournament 30 times. UCLA leads with 11 followed by UK's eight, North Carolina's five and three each by Louisville and Kansas. When adding three national championships won by Southeastern Conference schools (two by Florida and one by Arkansas), Kentucky's schedule boasts teams with a combined 33 NCAA titles.
Two people who evaluate strength of schedules suggested that Kentucky's could have been better with more "true" road games. UK's only non-conference game on an opponent's court will be at Louisville on Dec. 27.
Fans may recall that the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee gives the most weight to victories on an opponent's court, the second-most weight to victories on neutral sites and the least amount of weight to home-court victories.
"It's an appropriate schedule for Kentucky, and certainly a cut above last year," ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi wrote in an email message. "Of course, that same schedule we criticized didn't stand in the way of a Final Four appearance (although it could have if the 'Cats had been closer to the bubble).
"My only real criticism this time would be a shortage of true road games, but UK is no different than a bunch of other power schools in that regard."
Jerry Palm, the bracketologist for CBSSports, wrote much the same thing in an email. "There are some good opponents for sure, but a lot of home cooking," he wrote. "Louisville is the only true roadie, and (Kentucky) will have clear home crowd advantages in the two neutral games. That game with the Cards is last and easily the toughest test."
UK season-ticket holders, who have watched the Cats defeat plenty of nondescript opponents in Rupp Arena in recent seasons, figure to have little to complain about in 2014-15.
Besides home games against Providence (Nov. 30), Texas (Dec. 5 as part of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge) and North Carolina (Dec. 13), Kentucky fans will also get the chance to see the Cats play Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 7) and — surprise — a Buffalo team coached by former Duke star Bobby Hurley.
Jerry Tipton: (859) 231-3227. Twitter: @JerryTipton. Blog: ukbasketball.bloginky.com