After putting together an overtime classic last season in Lawrence, Kan., the Kentucky men’s basketball team will get the Kansas Jayhawks in Rupp Arena during the 2016-17 season in the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
The Jayhawks’ return trip on Jan. 28 will mark the first time the two schools have met inside Rupp Arena since Jan. 9, 2005.
This marks the fourth season of the annual challenge between the Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 and the second straight season where all 10 games of the challenge will be played on the same day. A bye in the league schedule for participating teams was created to accommodate for the format.
Ten of the SEC's 14 teams will participate in this year's event against all 10 of the Big 12's institutions with each conference hosting five games apiece. Each of the 10 SEC teams participating in the 2017 games played in the 2016 event. The four SEC teams not participating will play each other in conference games the same day.
Seven of the 12 SEC/Big 12 Challenge games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2, one game on ESPN2 or ESPNU, and two games will air on ESPNU. All 10 games will be available via WatchESPN. ESPN's College GameDay will originate from one of the Challenge games, to be announced at a later date. Start times and network designations will also be announced at a later time.
The meeting between Kentucky and Kansas will be the third straight season the two winningest schools in NCAA Division I history will play, the fifth time in the last six seasons, and the second straight year in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Kansas won last season’s meeting 90-84 in overtime, but the Wildcats’ won the previous three meetings, all under head coach John Calipari, including the 2012 national championship.
Overall, UK leads the series 22-7, including a 7-1 mark in Lexington and a 4-1 record in Rupp Arena. Kansas won the last matchup in Rupp Arena in 2005, 65-59.
As they are every season, UK and Kansas are predicted to be among the nation’s top teams during the 2016-17 season. With decisions on the future statuses of Isaiah Briscoe and Marcus Lee still looming, UK is expected to return the likes of Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins and Isaac Humphries to go along with the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class (according to Rivals and ESPN).
Kentucky’s nonconference schedule is quickly shaping up to be a super slate of marquee games. UK is already scheduled to play Michigan State in Madison Square Garden in the Champions Classic (Nov. 15), face Arizona State in the Bahamas (Nov. 28), host UCLA on Dec. 3, take on Hofstra at the Barclays Center (Dec. 11), and head to Las Vegas to play North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic (Dec. 17).
UK’s full 2016-17 nonconference schedule will be released at a later time.