Kentucky basketball never skimps on its non-conference schedule. The Wildcats always plays a pretty strong array of high-caliber opponents before SEC play rolls around. Now, we have details on the next two years of non-conference games on the Kentucky basketball schedule.
We already knew about a game against Ohio State in late 2019. The Buckeyes are coming off of a quick bounce back season in year one under Chris Holtmann. He took over for longtime coach Thad Matta this season, and took Ohio State to a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a trip to the second round.
Now, we know where that game will be played. Kentucky and Ohio State will face off at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, December 21, 2019.
It will be the second game of an extended Vegas trip for the Wildcats on the 2019-2020 Kentucky basketball schedule. The Wednesday before that, Kentucky faces Utah out of the Pac-12.
That game is part of a two-game agreement with the Utes. The first will be played at Rupp Arena this fall. More from Kentucky:
UK has added Utah to its schedule for the next two seasons. The Wildcats will host Utah on Dec. 15 in Rupp Arena this upcoming year and then play Utah again the following season, on Dec. 18, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The game in Las Vegas will make for an extended trip out west. UK was already slated to play Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic. That game is now set on Saturday after Wednesday’s Utah game, on Dec. 21, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“We are always trying to put together a schedule that our fans will enjoy while preparing us to be at our best at the end of the season,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “One of the things I hear most about from our fans is they enjoy traveling with us and staying at a destination location for multiple games. That was our goal in scheduling this game with Utah. It gives us a great opponent for our fans at home next season, and then in 2019, our fans can spend a week with us at one of our favorite stops over the last few years. I still get people who come up to me and tell me about how much fun they had in 2016 when we played North Carolina.”
Here is the full list of non-conference games that have been revealed on the 2018-19 Kentucky basketball schedule so far.
Nov. 16 vs. Duke (Indianapolis)
Nov. 28 vs. Monmouth
Dec. 1 vs. UNC-Greensboro
Dec. 8 vs. Seton Hall (Manhattan, NY)
Dec. 15 vs. Utah
Dec. 22 vs. North Carolina (Chicago)
Like Ohio State, Kentucky was a five-seed last season. The Wildcats made it to the Sweet 16, where they were upset by nine-seed Kansas State.
Utah missed the NCAA Tournament last season, going 23-12 and 11-7 in Pac-12 play. The Utes made it to the NIT Championship Game, where they fell to Penn State. It was the second straight NIT bid for the Utes under head coach Larry Krystkowiak, after back-to-back trips to the Big Dance in 2015 and 2016. The Utes made the Sweet 16 in 2015 as a five-seed.