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After some stellar 2018 draft picks, the Kentucky Wildcats are looking to make a comeback this college basketball season. Let’s look at their five most promising games leading up to March Madness.

Kentucky Wildcats vs. North Carolina Tar Heels

December 22 | 4:15 pm

Kentucky’s early season schedule shouldn’t be too tricky for them to navigate, but the Wildcats will surely have December 22 circled on their calendar. They face the Tar Heels, who are currently ranked as the eighth-best team in the nation and have experienced tremendous success over the past three seasons (winning NCAA Championship in 2017 and finishing as runner-up the year prior).

Carolina will be relying heavily on senior forward Luke Maye, who averaged 16.9 points and 10.1 rebounds last season. Maye will be joined in the Carolina frontcourt by Freshman forward Nassir Little, the third-ranked recruit in the nation. SHOP TICKETS HERE

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Kansas Jayhawks

January 26 | 6 pm

After facing off against North Carolina, Kentucky will face another tremendous test in late January when they play against Kansas in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Kansas comes into the season as the top-ranked team in the nation, thanks in part to the duo of senior guard LaGerald Vick and junior center Udoka Azibuike.

Bill Self’s squad has been regular season conference champions of the Big 12 for 14 consecutive seasons, which shows just how consistent and talented Kansas is year in and year out. Kentucky will have to play their best basketball to knock off the Jayhawks in January. SHOP TICKETS HERE

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Florida Gators

February 2 | 4 pm

Just seven days after taking on the top team in the nation, Kentucky will be on the road to face the Florida Gators in one of the most hotly-contested rivalries in SEC basketball.

The two longtime SEC foes square off twice per year, with the Gators sweeping last year’s series by beating the Wildcats by 2 points on the road and by 13 points at home in March. Even though the Gators come into the season unranked, this will definitely be a matchup worth watching given how close this rivalry has been over the last two years. SHOP TICKETS HERE

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Auburn Tigers

February 23 | 1:30 pm

While traditionally thought of as a football school, Auburn University’s basketball program has been making fantastic strides under fourth-year coach Bruce Pearl. Last season, the Tigers made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003, where they were ranked as a No. 4 seed.

This year’s Tigers will have loftier expectations given last year’s success, and this is underscored by the fact that they come into the year as the 10th ranked team in the country. Auburn was able to beat Kentucky by 10 points in their game last year, and if the Tigers can beat Kentucky again this season, it would look fantastic on their resume going into the postseason. SHOP TICKETS HERE

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Tennessee Volunteers

March 2 | 2 pm

Due to their proximity, The University of Kentucky and the University of Tennessee are rivals in just about every sport – with basketball providing some of the most intense matchups. The Volunteers experienced moderate success last season, making the NCAA tournament for the first time in four years, where they ended up losing to Loyola-Chicago by one point in the Round of 32.

Although Tennessee hasn’t been an elite program as of late, they always seem to play well against Kentucky, whom they beat twice last season. Kentucky was able to beat the Vols in the SEC tournament last season, and they’ll be hoping to keep that momentum rolling when the two sides face off in Knoxville in March. SHOP TICKETS HERE

(Cropped image courtesy of Eric Wong via Flickr. | CC BY-ND 2.0)