The University of Kentucky continued to construct its 2017-18 non-conference men’s basketball schedule on Thursday, announcing that the Wildcats will visit West Virginia as part of the annual Big 12/Southeastern Conference Challenge.
The game is scheduled for Jan. 27 in Morgantown, W.Va., and will be Kentucky’s first trip to play the Mountaineers at West Virginia since 1970. The Mountaineers play in 14,000-seat WVU Coliseum.
West Virginia, an annual powerhouse in the Big 12 and in the national polls coached by Bob Huggins, was among the top teams in college basketball in 2016-17. The Mountaineers finished second in the Big 12, spent the entire season in the top 25, and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 before losing to Gonzaga, the national runner-up, in a heartbreaker.
The core of that WVU team is expected to return for 2017-18, including the top two scorers in Jevon Carter and Esa Ahmad. West Virginia is widely considered a top-25 team based on early national rankings.
Kentucky holds 15-5 edge over West Virginia in the schools’ all-time series and has won nine of the past 10 meetings. The lone loss came in Coach John Calipari’s first season at Kentucky, when the Mountaineers upset a Wildcats squad led by John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins in the 2010 NCAA Elite Eight.
Kentucky has won the two most recent meetings, in the 2015 NCAA Sweet 16 and in the 2011 round of 32.
This will mark Kentucky’s third trip to Morgantown to play the Mountaineers and the first since UK’s 106-100 victory there on Dec. 7, 1970.
The 2018 Big 12/SEC Challenge represent the fifth season in a row the two leagues are meeting and the third straight season where all 10 games of the challenge will be played on the same day.
Ten of the SEC’s 14 teams will participate in the 2018 challenge against all 10 of the Big 12’s schools, with each conference hosting five games. Each of the 10 SEC teams that will participate in the 2018 games will play in the 2019 event as well. The four SEC teams not participating will play each other in conference games the same day.
Game times and TV coverage will be announced at a later date.
2018 Big 12/SEC Challenge
All games on Jan. 27, 2018
Oklahoma at Alabama
Georgia at Kansas State
Texas A&M at Kansas
Baylor at Florida
Texas Tech at South Carolina
TCU at Vanderbilt
Oklahoma State at Arkansas
Kentucky at West Virginia
Ole Miss at Texas
Tennessee at Iowa State
UK’s non-conference schedule
Dates announced so far for the 2017-18 season:
Nov. 14: Kansas (Champions Classic), Chicago, United Center
Dec. 2: Harvard, Rupp Arena
Dec. 9: Monmouth (Citi Double Cash Classic), New York, Madison Square Garden
Dec. 16: Virginia Tech, Rupp Arena
Dec. 23: UCLA (CBS Sports Classic), New Orleans, Smoothie King Center
Jan. 27: West Virginia (Big 12/SEC Challenge), Morgantown, W.Va., WVU Coliseum