Men's Basketball

Kentucky, Kansas to square off in January clash of conferences

Kentucky Wildcats forward Marcus Lee (00) blocked the shot of Kansas Jayhawks forward Landen Lucas (33)  as #1 Kentucky defeated #5 Kansas 72-40 on Tuesday November 18, 2014  in Indianapolis, IN. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff
Kentucky Wildcats forward Marcus Lee (00) blocked the shot of Kansas Jayhawks forward Landen Lucas (33) as #1 Kentucky defeated #5 Kansas 72-40 on Tuesday November 18, 2014 in Indianapolis, IN. Photo by Mark Cornelison | Staff Herald-Leader

Kentucky and Kansas, the two winningest programs in college basketball, will play in the Big 12-SEC Challenge next season.

The game will be in historic Allen Fieldhouse on Jan. 30. UK has not played at Kansas since 2006, and has been there just once since 1990.

With 2,153 all-time victories, Kansas is second behind Kentucky's 2,178 wins in NCAA Division I men's basketball.

As is customary, Kentucky and Kansas are expected to be among the nation's best teams when they meet during the 2015-16 season. UK returns Alex Poythress, Tyler Ulis and Marcus Lee next season. They will join another highly touted recruiting class. Kansas returns the core of its 2015 Big 12 championship team. Both teams are among the top 10 in various preseason national rankings.

The meeting with Kansas adds to what was already a super slate of non-conference games for the 2015-16 season. Kentucky is slated to play Duke in Chicago in the Champions Classic; South Florida in Miami in the inaugural Hoophall Miami Invitational; at UCLA in the first game of a home-and-home series; Ohio State in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the CBS Sports Classic; and Louisville in Rupp Arena.

UK's full 2015-16 non-conference schedule has not been released.

The third annual Big 12-SEC Challenge will feature 10 games on Jan. 30.

All 10 of the Big 12's teams and 10 of the SEC's 14 member institutions will participate. Each of the 10 SEC teams in the 2016 Challenge also will play in the 2017 event.

Fourteen of the participating teams earned postseason berths in 2015, and nine of the 10 games will feature at least one team that participated in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

The first two years of the challenge were played over several days in November and December, but the 2016 event will be consolidated to a single day in January. A bye in the league schedule for participating teams was created to accommodate the new format. The four SEC teams not participating will play conference games the same day. They are Alabama, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Missouri.

Eight of the 10 games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2, and two games will air on ESPNU. All 10 games also will be available via WatchESPN. ESPN's College GameDay Covered by State Farm — the Saturday morning and evening road show that discusses the top storylines of the college basketball season — will originate from one of the Challenge games. The site has not been announced.

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