The first major test of the John Calipari era was revealed Tuesday: Kentucky will play Final Four participant Connecticut in the third annual SEC-Big East Invitational.
The two college basketball heavyweights have played only once: in the 2006 NCAA Tournament second round. UConn won 87-83.
Kentucky will play UConn on Dec. 9 in New York's Madison Square Garden. The other game in the doubleheader will have St. John's playing Georgia.
The other site for the SEC-Big East Invitational this season is Tampa, Fla., where Florida will play Syracuse and DePaul will meet Mississippi State.
Connecticut, which went 31-5 in its Final Four run this past season, figures to have three of the Big East Conference's best players next season: guard Jerome Dyson, who missed the last 12 games of this past season because of a knee injury; point guard Kemba Walker (All-Big East Rookie Team); and forward Stanley Robinson, who had 15 points and 13 rebounds against Michigan State in the Final Four.
The Huskies add McDonald's All-American Alex Oriakhi (6-foot-9, 245) to cushion the loss of center Hasheem Thabeet to early entry into the NBA.
A name familiar to followers of recruiting will not be eligible to play for UConn: Ater Majok, a native of Sudan and a high school student from Australia, once was recruited by Kentucky. He sat out this past season because he only partially qualified academically.
Majok, a skilled 6-10 forward, will not be eligible to play until Dec. 20.
The Big East is 5-3 against the Southeastern Conference in the previous two invitationals.