Forget winter, spring, summer and fall. For some Kentuckians, there are only two seasons of every year: college basketball and the off-season.
On the weekend when major college hoops tipped off for real, here are 50 reasons why the current basketball season promises to be compelling for fans in the commonwealth.
50. Brandon Knight. Can the UK freshman point guard make folks forget — or at least move past — John Wall?
49. Darrin Horn. The South Carolina head coach, a former standout player and head coach at Western Kentucky, returns to Bowling Green to face the Hilltoppers on Nov. 27.
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48. Kenneth Faried. Will the bouncy Morehead State double-double machine leave as the best player in school history?
47. The KFC Yum Center. Everyone says the new Louisville downtown arena is ultra-posh.
46. Tubby Smith. We get to look in on an old friend when Western Kentucky (Nov. 18) and Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 11) face Minnesota.
45. Mr. Basketballs. For the first time since 1985-88, four straight Kentucky Mr. Basketball winners have signed out of high school with in-state colleges — 2007 Steffphon Pettigrew (WKU), 2008 Darius Miller (UK), 2009 Jon Hood (UK), 2010 Elisha Justice (U of L).
44. Runnin' Ricky? Will Rick Pitino's seemingly annual promise that his Louisville team will return to the coach's up-tempo roots actually prove true this time?
43. Playing under great expectations. Coming off the surprise run to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight, we'll see how the UK women's program handles hype.
42. Date to circle: Nov. 16. Butler and Shelvin Mack visit U of L for the first official men's college hoops game in the KFC Yum Center.
41. A'dia Mathies. Kentucky's emerging women's star is one of the most entertaining players in all the commonwealth to watch.
40. Juan Patillo. Former Oklahoma Sooner turned WKU Hilltopper is the most intriguing "mystery player" in the state.
39. Date to circle: Nov. 17. Murray State visits Mississippi of the SEC with a chance to deliver a national message.
38. Peyton Siva. Will Louisville's sophomore point guard become a genuine star?
37. Morehead State puts on its big-boy britches. Donnie Tyndall's Eagles have this two-game road set: at Florida (Nov. 21), at Ohio State (Nov. 23).
36. Darius Miller. Can the low-key, ex-Mason County star take it to the proverbial next level as a UK junior?
35. Preston Knowles. Or will the ex-Clark County star show in his senior year at Louisville that he is the best former 10th Region standout in Kentucky college basketball?
34. Arnika Brown. It only seems like the WKU women's standout (and former UK signee) has been playing college basketball at Western since Clemette Haskins was a Lady Topper.
33. Date to circle: Nov. 21. In an early-season credibility test, the No. 12 Notre Dame women visit No. 9 Kentucky.
32. Terrence Jennings. Can U of L's junior big man finally live up to his recruiting hype?
31. Terrence Jones. Or will the ballyhooed UK freshman forward be the best "Terrence" in Kentucky college basketball?
30. Like father, like daughter. Charles Jones was the big man in the middle for Louisville Final Four teams in 1982 and '83; his daughter, Alex, was OVC Newcomer of the Year last season (12 points, 8.7 rebounds) at Eastern Kentucky.
29. Date to circle: Dec. 4. Bluebloods Kentucky and North Carolina hook up in Chapel Hill; Murray State visits Morehead State in an early-season OVC showdown.
28. Date to circle: Dec. 5. The Kentucky women face the Louisville women for the first time ever in the KFC Yum Center.
27. Sean Woods. We get to look in on an old friend when the ex-UK point guard, now the Mississippi Valley State head coach, brings his team to Rupp to face the Cats (Dec. 18).
26. Kyle Kuric. Is there any chance the Louisville swingman can replicate the magic he produced in U of L's Freedom Hall finale?
25. Kentucky fans. Get to enjoy a season in which Bruce Pearl and Rick Pitino are both fighting to stave off self-destruction.
24. Louisville fans. Get to enjoy a season in which UK backers figure to be green with arena envy.
23. Sergio Kerusch. The WKU senior might be the nation's most effective 6-foot-5 power forward.
22. Date to circle: Dec. 22. How jacked will Diddle Arena be when Louisville pays a rare visit to Bowling Green to face WKU?
21. Jennifer O'Neill. The first McDonald's All-American ever to sign with UK women's basketball will be one of this season's most scrutinized players.
20. Chynna Bozeman. The Morehead State women's star made an OVC record 121 three-pointers last year; can she top that?
19. Justin Stommes. More than 400 points and 100 assists last season for the skilled EKU swingman.
18. Tom Hodges' wardrobe. Is the new Morehead State women's hoops coach really going to wear a wild suit from John Daly's clothier to every game this year?
17. Date to circle: Jan. 4. What basketball fans have always wanted to see, UK in Cameron Indoor Arena — though it is the Kentucky women visiting Durham for a nationally televised showcase.
16. Isaiah Canaan. Last year's OVC Freshman of the Year is being touted as potentially one of the best guards ever to play at Murray State.
15. Cats/Cards turnabout. It's long been surreal for UK fans to see ex-Cats like Walter McCarty and Steve Masiello on the U of L bench as assistant coaches; this year, Cardinals fans find out what that feels like with ex-Louisville standout Kenny Payne now a Kentucky assistant.
14. Josh Harrellson. If Enes Kanter doesn't win his appeal, can UK's senior big man earn his coach's trust and become a key player?
13. The dribble-drive motion offense. If Enes Kanter doesn't win his appeal, you figure to get a full look at the guard-oriented system that John Calipari made famous at Memphis.
12. Date to circle: Jan. 15. The Louisville women travel north to face dynastic UConn.
11. Isiah Thomas. The all-time great NBA player and all-time bust of an NBA executive brings his Florida International team to the commonwealth Feb. 24 to face WKU.
10. Amber Smith. Can the fiery Kentucky women's point guard make it back from a torn ACL this season? If she can't, can UK live up to its lofty pre-season rep without her?
9. Is there life after UK? After a year away from hoops, former Kentucky Wildcat Landon Slone resumes his college career at Pikeville.
8. Boo Bob Huggins — or not? A U of L archvillain dating back to his Cincinnati days, will Huggy Bear hear cheers in the KFC Yum Center on Jan. 26 because his West Virginia team denied UK a Final Four trip in 2009?
7. Tia Gibbs. After transferring home to Louisville from Vanderbilt, Kentucky's 2008 Miss Basketball will try to help Jeff Walz and Co. bounce back from an off year.
6. Date to circle: Feb. 7. Believe it or not, the biggest college basketball game UK will play in Lexington this season may not be in Rupp Arena. When Pat Summitt brings the Lady Vols to Memorial Coliseum, will the outcome determine the SEC champion?
5. Sweet 16 or bust for Murray State? After slaying Vanderbilt and just missing against Butler in last season's NCAA Tournament, Billy Kennedy has three starters back from a 31-5 team. Can MSU make it back to the Big Dance and win two games in the same NCAA tourney for the first time in school history?
4. John Pelphrey. We get to look in on an old friend when Kentucky visits Arkansas Feb. 23. With heat building beneath the seat of the Hogs head coach, the former UK forward could really use a breakthrough year.
3. UK's Final Four drought. It's now been 12 seasons since a Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team played on the season's final weekend. Unless Enes Kanter wins his appeal, it doesn't figure that the drought breaks in 2010-11.
2. Victoria Dunlap. The reigning SEC women's Player of the Year has a chance in her senior year at UK to leave a legacy as one of the best female players ever to play in the commonwealth.
1. Armageddon. It's New Year's Eve at high noon when the UK men visit U of L. Can the two coaches set aside their personal antipathy and let their teams play basketball as opposed to the street fight mentality that gave last year's edition of our state's marquee game such an ugly tone?