After a day, the Utah athletic department officially announced the series with Kentucky today. I found it a bit odd that it took a day for the official announcement, but I guess maybe the ink wasn’t dry on the contract. What we didn’t know yesterday was the dates of the games.
Game one, in Lexington, will be Saturday, December 15th of this year, and the “return” game down in Vegas, at T-Mobile Arena, will be Wednesday, December 18th, 2019. This will be the 12th overall meeting between the programs, and the first in the regular season since 1999, when Utah travled to Rupp Arena. It will be interesting to see how Utah’s old nemesis looks again, especially with the constant turnover at Kentucky, with the one-and-done players. That has to run thin at some point, right?
Here is a bit more information from UtahUtes.com:
“We feel that this will be a great opportunity to challenge our team early in the season,” Krystkowiak said. “This is one of the elite programs in the nation, who year-in and year-out, are ranked No. 1 in attendance. This will be a good experience for us to compete at a high level and help us prepare for league play.”
Both teams are coming off 20-win seasons and postseason appearances in 2017-18. Utah went 23-12 overall and earned a NIT appearance where they would be victorious through the first three rounds of the tournament and earning the program’s fourth trip to the NIT Final Four. Utah defeated Western Kentucky in the semifinals, but fell to Penn State in the championship game. The Wildcats went 26-11 overall on the season and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament.