Cats to play WVU in Big 12 / SEC Challenge
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Always one of the main events of the college basketball season, the Kentucky men’s basketball team’s draw in the annual Big 12/SEC Challenge will once again be an enticing one as the Wildcats will travel to West Virginia on Jan. 27.
It will mark the Wildcats’ third all-time trip to Morgantown, West Virginia, to play the Mountaineers and the first since defeating WVU 106-100 on Dec. 7, 1970. UK is 1-1 in games at West Virginia, but the Wildcats own the all-time head-to-head edge 15-5, including a 9-1 record over the last 10 games.
The last three meetings between the two schools have all taken place in the NCAA Tournament. The last game was in 2015, when UK rolled past the Mountaineers 78-39 and into the Elite Eight in Cleveland.
The 2018 slate of Big 12/SEC Challenge games will mark the fifth season of the annual event between the Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 and the third 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 the 2018 challenge against all 10 of the Big 12’s institutions, with each conference hosting five games apiece. Each of the 10 SEC teams that will participate in the 2018 games will play in the 2019 event as well. The four SEC teams not participating will play each other in conference games the same day.
Four of the 10 games will be televised on ESPN, four on ESPN2 and two games will air on ESPNU. All 10 games will also be available on the ESPN app. ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm – the Saturday roadshow that discusses the top storylines of the college basketball season – will originate from one of the Challenge games.
Game times and network designations will be announced at a later date.
West Virginia, an annual powerhouse in the Big 12 and in the national polls, was among the top teams in college basketball during the 2016-17 season. The Mountaineers finished second in the Big 12, spent the entire season in the top 25, and advanced to the Sweet 16 before losing to Gonzaga, the national runner-up, in a heartbreaker.
The core of that WVU team is expected to return for the 2017-18 meeting, including the top two leading scorers in Jevon Carter and Esa Ahmad. West Virginia is widely considered a top-25 team heading into next season based on early national rankings.
Kentucky’s nonconference schedule for the 2017-18 season continues to take shape. Already the Wildcats have games slated against Kansas (Nov. 14), Harvard (Dec. 2), Monmouth (Dec. 9), Virginia Tech (Dec. 16), UCLA (Dec. 23) and West Virginia (Jan. 27). Additional game announcements will be made at a later time.
2017-18 Nonconference Schedule
Nov. 14 vs. Kansas (Champions Classic) | Chicago | United Center
Dec. 2 vs. Harvard | Lexington | Rupp Arena
Dec. 9 vs. Monmouth (Citi Double Cash Classic) | New York | Madison Square Garden
Dec. 16 vs. Virginia Tech | Lexington | Rupp Arena
Dec. 23 vs. UCLA (CBS Sports Classic) | New Orleans | Smoothie King Center
Jan. 27 at West Virginia | Morgantown, West Virginia | WVU Coliseum
2018 Big 12/SEC Challenge
Oklahoma at Alabama
Georgia at Kansas State
Baylor at Florida
Texas Tech at South Carolina
TCU at Vanderbilt
Oklahoma State at Arkansas
Kentucky at West Virginia
Ole Miss at Texas
Tennessee at Iowa State