All eyes will be on Kentucky as the 2012-13 season begins, and Thursday night the defending national champions saw their first live-game action in a 93-61 exhibition win over Northwood at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
The No. 1 overall prospect from the Class of 2012, big man Nerlens Noel, posted a double-double of 17 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks for a team that shot 64 percent from the field on the night.
Noel’s teammate in the frontcourt, fellow freshman Willie Cauley-Stein, added eight points and nine rebounds.
“I like the big team, I like the two big guys together,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari. “I’m fine with that. Nerlens [Noel] was really good today. Willie [Cauley-Stein] was good, Nerlens was really good.
“What’s happened is [Noel] and Willie have made each other better. They’re both better because they go against each other every day. I like the fact that I put them in together a couple days ago and they really talked to one another, like up and down the court they were telling each other I’m here, you go up, you do this, and it was good to see.”
The Wildcats, despite having a roster almost entirely different from the one that won a national title last season, were picked to finish first in the coaches’ poll at SEC media day to begin the season.
Noel is the prized recruit of Calipari’s new class, along with eligible transfers Ryan Harrow and Julius Mays, and freshmen Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin, and Cauley-Stein.
For game highlights, click here.
Kentucky opens its season on Nov. 9 against Maryland at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.