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UK basketball adds UAB, Marshall to schedule

Keion Brooks Jr. (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – With the exception of the to-be-announced opponent for the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge and a date for the annual rivalry game vs. Louisville, Kentucky’s 2020-21 nonconference schedule is complete with the additions of UAB and Marshall.

The Wildcats will host UAB on Dec. 6 and Marshall on Dec. 29. With UK slated to travel to Louisville this season, that puts Kentucky at 12 games – eight at home, three at neutral sites and one on the road – before the Southeastern Conference season opens.

Kentucky has signed contracts with the following opponents:  

·         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 

·         UAB – Dec. 6 | Rupp Arena

·         Notre Dame – Dec. 12 | Rupp Arena

·         UCLA – Dec. 19 | TBA | CBS Sports Classic 

·         Marshall – Dec. 29 | Rupp Arena

 UK’s exhibition slate and SEC schedule will be announced later. In league play, the Wildcats will play their permanent home-and-away opponents of Florida, Tennessee and Vanderbilt twice, plus host and visit two additional league opponents. Kentucky will face the remaining eight SEC opponents once

 The Wildcats will host UAB for a second straight season after defeating the Blazers 69-58 on Nov. 29 in Rupp Arena. UAB has played UK tough over the years with a 3-3 series history.

 UK has never lost to Marshall in 12 tries. The last meeting was Dec. 22, 2012, an 82-54 victory in Rupp Arena.

Already announced for the 2020-21 nonconference slate is a matchup vs. Kansas on Nov. 10 in the Champions Class at the United Center in Chicago, a trip to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech on Nov. 27 in the Holiday Hoopsgiving in State Farm Arena, a home game vs. Notre Dame on Dec. 12 to begin a three-year series with Fighting Irish, and a neutral-site game vs. UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 19 at a to-be-announced site.

Six of the Wildcats’ 12 nonconference opponents finished the 2019-20 season inside the NCAA Evaluation Tool top 100 with two (Kansas and Louisville) ranked in one of the two major polls and two receiving votes (Richmond and UCLA). UK’s 12 nonconference foes combined for a 224-155 record last season, a .591 winning percentage.

The nonconference schedule will give way to the typically difficult SEC slate. The league has earned 15 berths in the last two NCAA Tournaments, the conference’s best two-year stretch. The SEC was slated for another impressive haul last season until the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the postseason.  

Offseason releases of “way too early preseason polls” feature nonconference foes Kansas, UCLA, Louisville and Richmond in consideration for a top-25 ranking with Tennessee, LSU, Auburn and Florida among the SEC opponents expected to be under consideration.

Kentucky will take on that difficult schedule with what will be one of the most inexperienced rosters of the Calipari era. UK will be tasked with replacing 94% of its scoring from last season – most of the Calipari era – 92.4% of its minutes, 84.4% of its rebounds, 98.6% of its assists and 91.5% of its blocks. 

The Wildcats are bidding farewell to eight of their top nine scorers from a season ago, including all five starters. The lone major returning contributor from last season will be sophomore forward Keion Brooks Jr., who averaged 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in 31 appearances, including six starts.  

Calipari and his staff have prepared for the losses – which includes five underclassmen declaring for the NBA Draft – with the nation’s consensus No. 1 recruiting class and three key transfers.  

UK’s current seven-man freshman class features six consensus five- and four-star prospects, including top-10 signees Brandon Boston and Terrence Clarke. The Wildcats also signed Wake Forest transfer Olivier SarrCreighton graduate transfer Davion Mintz and Rhode Island transfer Jacob Toppin 


  1. It would be nice if Western KY and Murray St. were added to the schedule. It would make the schedule stronger which would help prepare for the conference slate and also improve our NCAA seeding. I guess the idea of losing to an in-state team would hurt our standing as a blueblood? I would have much rather lost to Murray than to Evansville.

  2. UK beefing up the schedule are they? I just hope they can play it.

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