By ERIC LINDSEY, UK Athletics
LEXINGTON, Ky. – After announcing six nonconference games last week, Kentucky men’s basketball has officially added three more dates and opponents to its 2020-21 slate.
The three newest opponents under contract include Detroit Mercy, Hartford and Richmond. All three are a part of the Bluegrass Showcase and all three will take place in Rupp Arena.
With the six previously announced games, nine opponents have been locked in with dates for the upcoming season.
- Kansas – Nov. 10 | United Center (Chicago) | Champions Classic
- Detroit Mercy – Nov. 13 | Rupp Arena | Bluegrass Showcase
- Hartford – Nov. 17 | Rupp Arena | Bluegrass Showcase
- Georgia State – Nov. 20 | Rupp Arena
- Richmond – Nov. 23 | Rupp Arena | Bluegrass Showcase
- Georgia Tech – Nov. 27 | State Farm Arena (Atlanta) | Holiday Hoopsgiving
- Cleveland State – Nov. 30 | Rupp Arena
- Michigan – Dec. 6 | The O2 Arena (London) | Basketball Hall of Fame London Showcase
- UCLA – Dec. 19 | TBA | CBS Sports Classic
The matchup with Detroit Mercy – UK’s home opener – will be an intriguing one. Brad Calipari, the son of head coach John Calipari and former three-year member of the team, will make his return to Rupp Arena in opposing colors.
Brad Calipari transferred to Detroit Mercy after the 2018-19 season as a graduate transfer with two years of eligibility remaining. He enjoyed a breakout season in Detroit, making 46 3-pointers on 38% shooting from long range. He averaged 6.1 points and 1.1 rebounds. At Kentucky, Brad Calipari appeared in 27 games over two seasons before redshirting in 2018-19.
As for the team Brad Calipari plays for, Detroit Mercy is led by Mike Davis, the former Indiana coach, and his son Antoine Davis. Antoine Davis has been one of the top scorers in college basketball over the last two seasons, averaging 26.1 points in his freshman season in 2018-19 and 24.3 points as a sophomore last season.
The Kentucky-Detroit Mercy series is tied 1-1, with the last matchup during the 1982-83 season.
Four days later, continuing a four-game homestand after opening the season in Chicago vs. Kansas in the Champions Classic, UK will host Hartford on Nov. 17.
The Wildcats have played Hartford just once in the past, a 104-61 victory in Rupp Arena in the first season of the Calipari era in 2009-10.
Richmond – after UK plays previously announced Georgia State on Nov. 20 – will close out four straight homes games on Nov. 23. It will mark the first meeting in school history between the two teams.
The Spiders were eyeing an NCAA Tournament berth last season before the COVID-19 pandemic. At 24-7, Richmond ranked 38th in the final NCAA Evaluation Tool rankings.
Richmond could return virtually its entire team if juniors Jacob Gilyard, Blake Francis and Grant Golden withdraw from the NBA Draft. All three announced in early April they were entering their names in the draft while maintaining their eligibility.
Six other Kentucky games have been previously confirmed with dates: Kansas (Nov. 10), Georgia State (Nov. 20), Georgia Tech (Nov. 27), Cleveland State (Nov. 30), Michigan (Dec. 6) and UCLA (Dec. 19). Four of those six are neutral-site events (Champions Classic, Holiday Hoopsgiving, Basketball Hall of Fame London Showcase and the CBS Sports Classic).
Other nonconference matchups for this upcoming season will include the annual rivalry game vs. Louisville and the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge. A date has not been finalized for the former and an opponent has not been determined for the latter.