LEX18 — The Kentucky men's basketball schedule is officially set for the 2020-21 season. At least, for now. The Wildcats will start their season against Morehead State University on Nov. 25 inside Rupp Arena.
The University of Kentucky has now confirmed dates, locations and opponents for the 2020-21 season. The Wildcats will play nine nonconference opponents to go along with 18 Southeastern Conference matchups. The schedule is subject to change amid the coronavirus pandemic. Tip times and television designations will be announced later.
Here's a look at the current schedule in its entirety:
League play begins in the SEC on Dec. 29, when the Cats will take on South Carolina in Lexington. The SEC Tournament is set to be held March 10-14 in Nashville, Tennessee. Adhering to the NCAA Division I Council’s framework for scheduling, UK will play in 24 regular-season games with one three-game multi-team event, resulting in 27 total games before postseason play.
The announcement comes on the heels of UK's official statement on arena capacity and protocols for this season. Rupp Arena and Memorial Coliseum will both operate at 15 percent of their normal capacity, which includes participants, essential personnel, media and a limited number of spectators. All plans are subject to change based on evolving information as well as local, state and national public health developments. Face masks will be required at all times.
Previously, only the UCLA and Texas matchups had been officially confirmed. Head coach John Calipari has repeatedly acknowledged and discussed the difficulties of finalizing a schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic, including during this exclusive interview with LEX18's nightly show BBN Tonight in late October.
"We have backups to the game. What if a team gets sick and they can't come? You better have some people in the wings that are willing to play. We would know probably a week or two ahead. Do you have a gap in your schedule like this? We have three or four teams as backups in case someone gets sick and can't play," Calipari said.
"It's a tough schedule, but we've got a good team," Calipari said at the time. "Let's go play and see where we are."
Following the official schedule announcement, Coach Calipari shared a few more of his thoughts regarding UK's upcoming opponents.
“With all that we’ve been through the last eight months, we are beyond grateful to return to competition and begin the 2020-21 season,” Coach Calipari said in a press release. “We don’t know exactly how this is all going to play out with the virus, but the health and safety of our players and our staff is going to be at the forefront of everything we do.
“I want to commend our staff for being on top of the schedule. When it became clear to us that we were going to have to make adjustments, our staff was all over it," Calipari's statement continued. "I am really pleased that we not only preserved most of our previous agreements but also kept the type of opponents on our schedule that are going to challenge our guys and help them grow.”
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This article may be updated if scheduling changes occur.