UK Men’s Basketball Game vs. Texas Slated for 8 p.m. Tip
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s basketball Texas-sized showdown vs. the nationally ranked Texas Longhorns on Jan. 30 has been set for an 8 p.m. tip in Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center. The SEC/Big 12 Showdown matchup will be televised by ESPN.
The matchup will mark just the third all-time meeting between the two schools.
It will also be a reunion of sorts for Kentucky assistant coach Jai Lucas, who came on board during the offseason after seven seasons in Austin, Texas.
Earlier Monday, UK’s game at Florida on Saturday was confirmed for a 5 p.m. tip on ESPN. UK’s updated 2020-21 slate can be found here.
The 2021 slate of SEC/Big 12 Challenge games will mark the eighth season of the annual event between the SEC and the Big 12 and the sixth straight in which all 10 games of the challenge will be played on the same day. The four SEC teams not participating will play each other in conference games the same day.
Ten of the SEC’s 14 teams will participate in the 2021 challenge against all 10 of the Big 12’s institutions, with each conference hosting five games apiece. All 10 games will air across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU and will be available on the ESPN app.
The challenge has been as good as advertised in recent years. In 2020, the two conferences went 5-5 in, and over the last four seasons, the leagues are 20-20 vs. one another.
UK is 4-3 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge and has won three straight games in the event. The Wildcats went into a hostile environment in Lubbock, Texas last season and defeated the nationally ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders 78-76 in overtime.
The SEC, of course, has been one of the best conferences in the country over the last four seasons. After a league-high eight programs made the NCAA Tournament in 2018, another seven earned a berth in 2019. Ten SEC schools ranked in the top 100 and six in the top 50 in the first NCAA Net Evaluation Tool rankings on Jan. 4
In 2020-21, the eight opponents UK has played have a record of 47-29 (61.8%) through games on Jan. 2. Seven of the opponents ranked in the top 100 of KenPom.com, three are in the top 50 and two are in the top 25. KenPom.com ranks UK’s current schedule as the 13th-toughest in the country.
Kentucky and Texas last met Dec. 5, 2014, in Rupp Arena in the second season of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. The top-ranked Wildcats won 63-51 over the No. 6/7 Longhorns behind 21 points and 12 rebounds from All-American Willie Cauley-Stein.
The only other matchup between the two schools was in December 1993 for the Maui Invitational. UK also won that game, 86-61, in Hawaii.
Texas has been one of the best teams in the country in 2020-21. The Longhorns are as experienced as any team in the nation after returning all 14 of their players who appeared in a game in 2019-20 while adding a top-10 recruit in forward Greg Brown III. Ranked No. 4 in the country in both major polls, Texas is 8-1 on the season.
UK is coming off a 78-73 double-overtime victory at Mississippi State on Saturday. With an unforgettable 23-point breakout performance from redshirt freshman guard Dontaie Allen – who was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday – the Wildcats rallied from a nine-point second-half hole.
The victory ended a six-game losing streak, tied for the second longest in school history, and got the Wildcats off to a 1-0 start in SEC play. UK improved to 10-2 in SEC openers under head coach John Calipari, who coached in his 1,000th career game as a college head coach on Saturday. Only two coaches, Adolph Rupp and Roy Williams, have more wins through their first 1,000 games.
Kentucky returns to action on Tuesday at 7 p.m. vs. Vanderbilt. It will be UK’s first home game in 24 days. The game will be televised by SEC Network.
The Wildcats have lost two straight games in Rupp Arena for the first time in the Calipari era. Kentucky has never lost three straight games in Rupp Arena’s 45-season existence.
For the latest on the Kentucky men’s basketball team, follow @KentuckyMBB on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, and on the web at UKathletics.com.