Kentucky basketball suffered a rough loss to Duke early in the year. This weekend, the Wildcats face North Carolina, another ACC power.
UK also has its annual in-state battle with Louisville, a third team from the ACC, later this month.
John Calipari's club was supposed to play a third in the non-conference slate. Earlier this month, Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams revealed that his team had an agreement in place to face UK earlier in the month.
The game was supposed to be played at Madison Square Garden on December 8. When UK backed out, VT had to find a new game, and wound up scheduling Washington in Atlantic City, which the Hokies won 73-61.
Deputy AD DeWayne Peevy revealed that Kentucky basketball chose to swap in Seton Hall for Virginia Tech because of proximity to MSG, and the three existing ACC opponents on the schedule.
Peevy also said that no contract had been agreed to, but didn't deny that it was his school that backed out.
From The Roanoke Times:
“We elected to get out of the game and book Seton Hall,” Peevy said. “Because it hadn’t gotten finalized [with Tech], there was an opportunity to play a different opponent.
“It was a thing that the Garden was looking for as far as [attendance] numbers. But also from a [UK coaching] staff standpoint, we were playing so many ACC schools this year, with us playing Duke and North Carolina, that once the opportunity came to play another team other than Virginia Tech, … they were in agreement with that as well.”
That might not have worked out the way that Kentucky wanted. Seton Hall beat Kentucky at The Garden 84-83 in overtime, in one of the season's best games thus far.
Of course, Virginia Tech is ranked No. 13 in the country, so the Hokies wouldn't have necessarily been an easier out.
Kentucky and UNC are set to play at Chicago's United Center on Saturday. Virginia Tech hosts two mid-majors before opening ACC play.