Men's Basketball

UK Men’s Basketball Hosts Kansas for SEC/Big 12 Challenge

by Deb Moore

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Kentucky and Kansas will meet for the eighth time in nine seasons when the Jayhawks visit Rupp Arena on Jan. 28 as a part of the annual SEC/Big 12 Challenge in 2022-23. The full slate of games was announced Thursday by the respective leagues.
 
It will mark the 34th all-time meeting between the two schools and the 10th during the John Calipari era. The Wildcats own a 24-10 all-time record against the Jayhawks, including an impressive 80-62 win last season in Lawrence, Kansas. Kansas last visited Rupp Arena in 2019. The Wildcats prevailed by a 71-63 score in that contest.
 
The 2023 slate of SEC/Big 12 Challenge games will mark the 10th season of the annual event between the Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 and the eighth straight in which all 10 games of the challenge will be played on the same day.
 
Ten of the SEC’s 14 teams will participate in the 2023 challenge against all 10 of the Big 12’s institutions, with each conference hosting five games apiece. The four SEC teams not participating will play each other in conference games the same day.
 
All 10 games will be air across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU and will be available on the ESPN app.
 
In addition to game times, network designations will be announced at a later date for the challenge.
 
The SEC won the ninth annual Big 12/SEC Challenge by winning six of the 10 games last season. It is the second year in a row the SEC won the Challenge. The SEC has lost the Challenge just one time in the last six years.
 
UK is 5-3 all-time and has won each of its last four games played in the event.
 
Kentucky men’s basketball season ticket renewals will begin in July, and all current season ticket holders will receive information by email when the renewal campaign begins. Fans interesting in purchasing new season tickets for the upcoming year are encouraged to sign up now for the men’s basketball season ticket lottery.
 
The Wildcats’ returning core is headlined by National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe, who led the country with 15.1 rebounds per game and also paced the Cats in scoring at 17.4 points per game. Kentucky will also welcome back Sahvir Wheeler, who led the conference and ranked third in the country with 6.9 assists per game. Forwards Daimion Collins, Jacob Toppin and Lance Ware all were instrumental in helping the Wildcats to a 26-8 season a year ago and a No. 2 national seed in the NCAA Tournament.
 
In all, UK is returning 44.3% of its scoring production, 58.4% of its rebounding, 50% of its steals, 51.2% of its assists and 72.3% of its blocks from a season ago.
 
Kentucky will also welcome in four dynamic newcomers including top-10 signees Chris Livingston and Cason Wallace. Both players were Gatorade State Players of the Year and McDonald’s All Americans. Fast-rising prospect Adou Thiero inked with the Cats during the late signing period. UK also added one of the top transfers in Antonio Reeves who ranked among the nation’s top 20 individual scorers a season ago at Illinois State averaging 20.1 points per game.
 
Kentucky will get an early start to its season with a foreign trip to The Bahamas in August for the third time under Calipari. Both previous times the Wildcats came away with positive results. UK first traveled to the island prior to the 2014-15 season which ignited a magical run that ended with an undefeated regular season, SEC regular-season and tournament titles, and a trip to the Final Four. Kentucky earned a 4-0 mark in The Bahamas in 2018, prior to going 30-7 and reaching the Elite Eight in 2019.
 
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.
 

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