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Ospreys to face Kentucky WIldcats in non-conference play

Riley Platt, Sports Reporter

Featured Image: Justin Nedrow

When one thinks of college basketball, names like Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina come to mind. These programs have ruled at the top of the sport for decades, and UNF will get a shot at one of them this season.

In terms of finalized schedules for the 2021-22 NCAA men’s basketball season, it’s still very early. However, announcements here and there are helping to shed some light on what teams’ non-conference slates will look like. 

CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein broke the news that the famed Kentucky Wildcats will be hosting the UNF Ospreys this season. Date and time is yet to be confirmed, but we do know that this meeting will take place at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.

Rupp Arena is one of the most famed venues in all of college basketball. Having opened in 1976, the arena has seen many of the University of Kentucky’s most legendary teams play. Holding over 20,000 spectators, it is also one of the toughest places to play in the country.

An interesting UNF connection can be found through one of the team’s forwards, Carter Hendricksen. The junior is from Lexington, Ky., having attended Lexington Christian Academy. While the arena is sure to be clad with the typical Wildcats blue and white, it’s safe to say there should be a few Ospreys in the seats.

Kentucky is coming off of a disappointing season, to say the least. Their 9-16 record was the worst the program had seen since the 1926-27 season. That stat alone should help put into perspective how accustomed this team is to winning. 

However, it’s hard to believe that the Wildcats won’t return to their winning ways soon. The 2020-21 season saw many of college basketball’s legendary programs struggle, with youth and inexperience of rosters being exacerbated by a lack of preparation time thanks to COVID-19. 

To combat this lack of experience, head coach John Calipari hit the transfer portal hard, picking up droves of veteran assistance. These additions include CJ Fredrick from Iowa and Oscar Tshiebwe of West Virginia. While players were lost to the NBA Draft, returning from last season are names like Dontaie Allen and Kevin Brooks. 

UNF will have a tough task ahead of them in the Bluegrass State. The Wildcats will likely be heavily favored, but upsets happen, and Kentucky is no stranger to them. Just two seasons ago, the Evansville Aces shocked the college basketball world when they went into Rupp Arena and took down Kentucky. Will the Ospreys be next?

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Ospreys to face Kentucky WIldcats in non-conference play