Wildcats will play home-and-home against 5 in SEC

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Kentucky’s non-conference opponents were announced Wednesday and the Wildcats will play home-and-home series against five Southeastern Conference foes.

In addition to permanent home-and-home league encounters against Florida, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, Kentucky will also play a pair of conference games against Auburn and Mississippi State. Auburn and Tennessee shared the league’s regular-season title last year.

In addition to Florida, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Auburn and Mississippi State, the Wildcats also will take on Arkansas, LSU, South Carolina and Texas A&M at Rupp Arena next season. Kentucky’s conference road games will be at Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss, Missouri, Tennessee, Florida and Vanderbilt.

Last season, a record eight SEC schools participated in the NCAA Tournament and defeated the BIG 12 in the annual challenge between the two leagues, 6-4.

Kentucky captured three of the past for regular-season titles and has won four SEC consecutive regular-season titles, including six in John Calipari’s nine seasons in Lexington.

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Calipari speaks

During a stop at his satellite camp in Elizabethtown earlier this week, Kentucky coach John Calipari spoke on the graduate-transfer rule. Former Stanford star Reid Travis is considering transferring to Kentucky.

“My history, everybody knows,” Calipari said. “I’ve seen the coach at Drexel get fired. I’ve seen the coach at Cleveland State get fired. And I’ve said that this isn’t right. It’s not right for the game, and it’s not right for those coaches.

“In the same sense, I have a responsibility to this university. It’s not a rule I developed. If we take advantage of it, it will be a rule I developed. But it’s not a rule that I’m even in favor of. My job is to make sure that this program is in the best position it can be in.”

Defending national champion Villanova is reportedly in the mix to land Travis as well.

Calipari also likes the way his team is shaping up for next season, a squad that will be mixed with “young kids and veterans.”

Returnees PJ Washington, Nick Richards and Quade Green will be joined by an incoming freshman class that includes Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, E.J. Montgomery, Tyler Herro and redshirt freshman Jemarl Baker. Ashton Hagans is expected to re-classify and join the Wildcats in July or August. Hagans has already verbally committed to play for the Kentucky after deciding against signing with Georgia.

“That’s the (teams) that has done some good stuff,” he said. “I’m excited. We’ve got length. We’ve got skill. We can play like I have in the past when it’s more guards. Four-out kind of deal where we didn’t have the ability (last season).”

Calipari added that using a platoon system is “not something I would want to do.”

“But, if there are 10 guys all within the same (level of talent), we know we can do it because I’ve done it before.”