The SEC released its full men's basketball schedule on Friday and Kentucky -- ranked No. 13 in the latest CBS Sports Top 25 (and one) -- easily has one of the toughest slates to face in 2020-21. The Wildcats open their season against Morehead State on Nov. 25 but it quickly toughens, with tests against Kansas, UCLA and Louisville sprinkled throughout the month of December.
Then there is the SEC slate, where in January, the Wildcats will travel to Florida, Auburn, Georgia and Alabama prior to the Big 12/SEC Challenge to end the month against Shaka Smart and Texas.
We'll learn plenty about this young team and how quickly the core -- which consists of 10 newcomers -- can come along. But in terms of measuring progress, we'll learn the most by how the team fares in its most challenging battles. So below, we've ranked the five toughest tests of the season.
1. Kansas in Champions Classic, Dec. 1
This game will be held at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, as CBS Sports' Matt Norlander confirmed on Friday. And it's one of the early ones on the schedule (game number four, to be exact). Kansas lost Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike but still has a strong core returning led by Ochai Agbaji and Marcus Garrett, and its backcourt should present a real challenge to UK's.
2. At Tennessee, Feb. 20
Circle this one on your calendar because it has a chance to be a great one that could potentially determine the SEC regular-season race. The Vols return Yves Pons, John Fulkerson and Santiago Vescovi, among others, and have also signed two five-star guards to join the mix this season. Their blend of top-end talent and experience could put them over the top in the league, and they enter the season as the highest-ranked SEC team in our rankings. And UK has lost at Tennessee in four of the last five seasons.