Calipari says 2019 will be a breakout year for returning players
University of Kentucky fans could be treated to a showdown between top-five teams when Louisville visits Rupp Arena on Dec. 28.
The Wildcats announced the date of their annual men’s basketball rivalry game with the Cardinals on Thursday.
Dec. 28 is a Saturday. The tip-off time will be announced at a later date.
The Cats-Cards bash was one of two games UK made official on its 2019-2020 schedule Thursday. UK also announced it will host Fairleigh Dickinson University on Dec. 7 in Rupp Arena.
That brings to seven the total of regular-season dates now known, in addition to Big Blue Madness, the Blue-White Scrimmage and a pair of exhibition games against in-state opponents.
Kentucky will open its campaign Nov. 5 against Michigan State at the Champions Classic in New York’s Madison Square Garden. The Spartans played in the Final Four last season and are expected to return a deep and experienced roster for head coach Tom Izzo.
Kentucky’s game against Louisville pits a pair of programs some college basketball analysts are already projecting in their preseason top-five rankings.
The Wildcats return several players for Coach John Calipari from last year’s NCAA Tournament Elite Eight squad, including guards Ashton Hagans and Immanuel Quickley and forwards EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards. They will be joined by a recruiting class ranked No. 2 in the country in the 247Sports composite ratings.
Louisville, which was eliminated in the NCAA Tournament round of 64 last season, also combines veteran talent with a strong recruiting class. Leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Nwora returns along with veteran big man Steven Enoch. The Cardinals’ recruiting class for second-year head coach Chris Mack is ranked No. 11 in the nation.
Kentucky has won eight of the last 10 meetings, including last season’s 71-58 victory at the KFC Yum Center.
Fairleigh Dickinson, a member of the Northeast Conference, finished 21-14 last season and won its league tournament. The Knights then defeated Prairie View A&M in an NCAA Tournament First Four game before being eliminated by West Regional No. 1 seed Gonzaga, 87-49.
This will mark the first meeting between Kentucky and Fairleigh Dickinson.
2019-20 UK schedule
Games and events officially scheduled at this point (home games in all capital letters):
Oct. 11: BIG BLUE MADNESS, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18: BLUE-WHITE SCRIMMAGE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 27: GEORGETOWN COLLEGE, 5 p.m.-x
Nov. 1: KENTUCKY STATE, 7 p.m.-x
Nov. 5: Michigan State-1
Nov. 8: EASTERN KENTUCKY
Nov. 12: EVANSVILLE
Dec. 7: FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON
Dec. 18: Utah-2
Dec. 21: Ohio State-3
Dec. 28: LOUISVILLE
1-Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York; 2-At T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas; 3-CBS Sports Classic at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas; x-Exhibition game.