In a slow rollout that took most of Monday, UK announced through Twitter its men’s basketball non-conference schedule for 2016.
It might be too early for scouting reports on each team, but here’s a look at the coaches of the 13 teams Kentucky will play outside the Southeastern Conference.
Kyle Keller, Stephen F. Austin: The giant-killing Lumberjacks came within a basket of reaching the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 last season, upsetting West Virginia in the first round before falling 76-75 to Notre Dame. Not surprisingly, head coach Brad Underwood soon found himself with a new job, replacing Travis Ford at Oklahoma State. Keller, a former Texas A&M assistant, has big shoes to fill. Stephen F. Austin went 89-13 over the last three years and lost five seniors off the team that went 28-6 last year, including a perfect 18-0 record in the Southland Conference. A Dallas native, Keller spent the last five seasons under Billy Kennedy in College Station.
Reggie Witherspoon, Canisus: The ex-Buffalo coach replaces Jim Baron, who retired at the end of last season. Baron went 73-59 in four seasons as the Canisus coach, including 14-18 last season. Witherspoon went 197-22t at Buffalo and was fired after going 14-20 in 2012-13. The four years before that, however, Witherspoon’s teams were 78-46. He was replaced at Buffalo by another coach who faces Kentucky this year - Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley.
Tom Izzo, Michigan State: The newest member of the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, Izzo is 524-205 in 21 years as the Michigan State coach. His teams have reached the Final Four seven times (1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2015) with a national title in 2000. The Spartans went 29-6 last season, but fell to Middle Tennessee 90-81 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Izzo is 5-2 vs Kentucky, including a 78-74 win over the Cats in the 2013 Champions Classic.
Jim Ferry, Duquense: The 49-year-old Ferry is in his fifth year as the Duquense coach. His teams have gone 50-75, but improved to 17-17 last season, including a loss to Morehead State in the quarterfinals of the CBI Classic. Ferry was 82-11 in three years at Adelphi before continuing on to Long Island, where he was 150-149 in eight seasons.
Gary Waters, Cleveland State: The 64-year-old Waters broke on the scene in the 2001 NCAA Tournament when his Kent State team upset Indiana 77-73 to reach the second round. After going 92-60 in four years at Kent, Waters moved on to Rutgers, where he was 79-75 over five seasons. He moved to Cleveland State in 2006-07 and has gone 185-150 there with an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009. The Vikings slipped to 9-23 overall and 4-14 in the conference last season. His Cleveland State team lost 73-49 to UK in 2009-10.
Anthony Stewart, UT-Martin: Stewart was named head coach when Heath Schroyer resigned to join Mark Gottfried’s staff at North Carolina State. Schroyer went 41-28 in two seasons at Martin. A former assistant at Ohio U., Stewart was the associate head coach at UT-Martin.
Bobby Hurley, Arizona State: The former Duke guard had a rough go in his first year in Tempe. The Sun Devils went just 15-17 overall and were 5-13 in the Pac-12. Before that, Hurley was 42-20 in two years at Buffalo, including an NCAA Tournament bid in 2015. Hurley expects ASU to be better in 2016-17 with the help of junior guard Torian Graham, a transfer who sat out last season, was suspended in January but has been re-instated to the team. Hurley is 0-2 versus UK, losing 71-52 at Buffalo in 2014-15 and 72-58 at Arizona State last year.
Steve Alford, UCLA: The Bruins’ win over Kentucky last December was pretty much the highlight of the season in Westwood. Alford’s club was just 15-17 overall and 6-12 in the Pac-12. The coach even took back a contract extension. That brought Alford’s record to 64-37 in his three years in Los Angeles. Before that, he was 78-48 in four years at Southwest Missouri State; 152-106 in eight years at Iowa and 155-52 in six years at New Mexico. In all, Alford’s teams have reached the NCAA Tournament nine times. He is 2-2 versus Kentucky as a coach -- 1-1 at Iowa and 1-1 at UCLA.
Joe Mihalich, Hofstra: The veteran coach has gone 54-47 in three years as the Hofstra coach. Before that, he was 264-203 in 15 years at Niagara. His teams there reached the NCAA Tournament twice. The ex-LaSalle guard began his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater for 17 years under Dave Ervin and Speedy Morris.
Matt Lottich, Valparaiso: An assistant at Valpo the last three years, Lottich succeeded Bryce Drew, who is the new head coach at Vanderbilt. Drew went 124-49 in five seasons as the Crusaders coach. Valpo went 30-7 overall and 16-2 in the Horizon League, but lost 99-95 in overtime to Green Bay in the conference tournament. Valpo reached the NIT final before losing 76-60 to George Washington.
Roy Williams, North Carolina: The Hall of Fame (2007) coach will start his 14th season in Chapel Hill this October. Williams has gone 365-108 in his 13 years as the North Carolina coach, including national tiles in 2005 and 2009. Before returning to his alma mater, Williams was 418-101 in 15 seasons at Kansas. He’s 8-8 versus Kentucky, including three wins in the last four meetings.
Rick Pitino, Louisville: Kentucky fans know all about their former coach. To review, Pitino was 91-51 in four years at Boston University; 42-23 plus a Final Four in two seasons at Providence; 219-50, plus a national title in 2006, at Kentucky. The NCAA is still investigating U of L’s so-called “Stripper Scandal,” but Pitino will enter his 16th season as the Cardinals coach. His U of L teams have gone 391-132, including a national title in 2013. Pitino is 5-12 against Kentucky, but has lost his last four games against John Calipari.
Bill Self, Kansas: The 55-year-old Self is surely headed to the Hall of Fame. His teams have gone 385-83 in 13 years at Kansas, including a title in 2008 when the Jayhawks beat John Calipari and Memphis. Self started out at Oral Roberts, where his team went 55-54 in four years. He was 74-27 in three years at Tulsa before going 78-24 in three years at Illinois. Self is 4-4 against Kentucky, including the 90-84 overtime win over UK in last season’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Before that, Self had lost three straight to the Cats, including the 67-59 loss in the 2012 national title game.
2016-17 UK NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
(Home games in capital letters)
Oct. 14: BIG BLUE MADNESS (SEC Network)
Oct. 21: BLUE-WHITE SCRIMMAGE (SEC Network)
Oct. 30: a-CLARION, 7 p.m. (SEC Network)
Nov. 6: a-ASBURY, 7 p.m. (SEC Network)
Nov. 11: STEPHEN F. AUSTIN
Nov. 13: b-CANISIUS
Nov. 15: c-Michigan State
Nov. 20: b-DUQUESNE
Nov. 23: b-CLEVELAND STATE
Nov. 25: b-TENNESSEE-MARTIN
Nov. 28: d-Arizona State
Dec. 3: UCLA
Dec. 7: VALPARAISO
Dec. 11: e-Hofstra
Dec. 17: f-North Carolina
Dec. 21: at Louisville
Jan. 28: g-KANSAS
a-Exhibition; b-Bluegrass Showcase; c-Champions Classic (Madison Square Garden in New York); d-Atlantis Showcase (Atlantis Resort in Nassau, Bahamas); e-Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival (Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.); f-CBS Sports Classic (T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas); g-SEC/Big 12 Challenge.