LEXINGTON, Ky. – John Calipari hinted two weeks ago that he and his staff had a destination spot for the Kentucky fan base in the works in the upcoming years. On Thursday, May 17, it was revealed that the location is Las Vegas and the opponents are Utah and Ohio State.
UK has added Utah to its schedule for the next two seasons. The Wildcats will host Utah on Dec. 15 in Rupp Arena this upcoming year and then play Utah again the following season, on Dec. 18, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The game in Las Vegas will make for an extended trip out west. UK was already slated to play Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic. That game is now set on Saturday after Wednesday’s Utah game, on Dec. 21, 2019, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“We are always trying to put together a schedule that our fans will enjoy while preparing us to be at our best at the end of the season,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “One of the things I hear most about from our fans is they enjoy traveling with us and staying at a destination location for multiple games. That was our goal in scheduling this game with Utah. It gives us a great opponent for our fans at home next season, and then in 2019, our fans can spend a week with us at one of our favorite stops over the last few years. I still get people who come up to me and tell me about how much fun they had in 2016 when we played North Carolina.”
The 2018-19 matchup with Utah in Rupp Arena will take place just over 20 years since Kentucky’s 1998 national championship win over Utah. UK is 9-2 all-time vs. Utah, including six straight wins. The two teams last met in the 2005 NCAA Tournament, a 62-52 win by the Wildcats. As a matter of fact, five of the last six meetings between the two schools have occurred in the NCAA Tournament, including three straight from 1996-98 that culminated in the 1998 title in San Antonio.
Utah was 23-12 last season and made it to the NIT title game. The meeting in December will mark the first regular-season matchup between the two schools since UK defeated Utah on Nov. 19, 1999, in the Preseason NIT.
Kentucky leads the all-time series with Ohio State 11-9 and has a 2-2 record in the CBS Sports Classic. The Buckeyes got the better of the Wildcats in the lone CBS Sports Classic matchup in 2015.
Kentucky’s 2018-19 nonconference schedule continues to take shape with the addition of Utah to next season’s slate. The Wildcats now have six regular-season games on the books, plus the annual rivalry game vs. Louisville (date to be determined), the SEC/Big 12 Challenge (opponent and date to be determined) and the preseason foreign exhibition tour in the Bahamas.
Aug. 8-12 – Big Blue Bahamas Tour | Atlantis Imperial Arena | Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Nov. 16 – vs. Duke | Bankers Life Fieldhouse | Indianapolis | State Farm Champions Classic
Nov. 28 – Monmouth | Rupp Arena | Lexington
Dec. 1 – UNCG | Rupp Arena | Lexington
Dec. 8 – vs. Seton Hall | Madison Square Garden | New York | Citi Hoops Classic
Dec. 15 – Utah | Rupp Arena | Lexington
Dec. 22 – vs. North Carolina | United Center | Chicago | CBS Sports Classic