The Kentucky Wildcats are coming to Allen Fieldhouse during the 2015-16 college basketball season.
The Big 12 and Southeastern Conferences on Thursday afternoon announced the match-ups for the 2015-16 Big 12/SEC Challenge and the UK at Kansas match-up on Jan. 30, 2016 headlines the slate.
With 2,153 all-time victories, Kansas ranks second behind Kentucky (2,178) in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history. That fact figures to be just one of the many aspects of the showdown that will make this one of the marquee games of next season.
"I'm sure our players and fans will be excited about the match-up between the two winningest programs of all-time," KU coach Bill Self told the Journal-World on Thursday. "It's very unique to play a game of this caliber midway through the conference season, but will give both programs great exposure."
The upcoming Big 12/SEC Challenge will mark the seventh meeting between the two schools in the Self era at KU. The series is tied at 3-3 and includes two meetings during the 2011-12 season at the ESPN Champions Classic in New York and the NCAA title game in New Orleans, both UK victories.
Kentucky leads the overall series with Kansas, 22-6, but the Jayhawks have won three consecutive KU-UK matchups in Allen Fieldhouse, with the last being a 73-46 victory on Jan. 7, 2006.
Kentucky has won the last three meetings in the series, most recently on Nov. 18, 2014 when then-No. 1 Kentucky defeated, then-No. 5-Kansas, 72-40, in the ESPN Champions Classic in Indianapolis.
“The addition of Kentucky to our home schedule makes it one of the more attractive home schedules that we’ve had," Self added. "Even though the game is during conference play, I know with Kentucky coming here the interest level will be very high. Anytime you get the opportunity to have the number one and two winningest programs in college basketball face each other, the attention for that game will be great.”
For the first time, all games in the challenge will be played on one day — Saturday, January 30.
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU will combine to televise every game of the third edition of the annual event. Each conference will be the host school for five games.
In addition, ESPN’s College GameDay Covered by State Farm will originate from a to-be-determined site of one of the day’s games.
The Big 12 is 13-7 (.650) in the challenge, having won the series in each of its first two seasons. The Big 12 has posted a 41-27 (.603) record in the last two conference challenge series it has played (vs. Pac-10, SEC) dating back to 2007.
“The Big 12 is proud to once again take part in the Challenge,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a release. “Our teams have had unprecedented success on the basketball court over the last two seasons and we are excited to provide the fans more quality opponents on the schedules.”
The challenge has eight teams ranked in the early ESPN.com top 25 rankings overall, including five Big 12 teams: No. 1 Kentucky, No. 3 Iowa State, No. 6 Kansas, No. 10 Oklahoma, No. 17 Baylor, No. 19 LSU, No. 23 Texas and No. 24 Texas A&M.;
Three games will pit ranked squads against each other: Kentucky at Kansas, Iowa State at Texas A&M; and Oklahoma at LSU.
- Saturday, January 30, 2016
Kentucky at Kansas - Jayhawks have won the last three meetings in Lawrence
Georgia at Baylor - First meeting between the schools
Mississippi at Kansas State - K-State won last game between the teams in 2013
Tennessee at TCU - Frogs won only series meeting, 73-59, in 1991
Vanderbilt at Texas - Longhorns topped VU, 70-64, in 2013-14
Iowa State at Texas A&M; - ISU has won the last two meetings
Oklahoma at LSU - Teams have split their previous four matchups
Oklahoma State at Auburn - OSU won last meeting, played in 2006
Texas Tech at Arkansas - 96th meeting between the schools, first since 2006
West Virginia at Florida - Bob Huggins will face Gators for first time