Kentucky announced its 2007-08 men’s basketball schedule Saturday, which includes as many as 17 games televised on CBS, ESPN or ESPN2. The schedule features a potential trip to New York’s famed Madison Square Garden, 18 regular-season games at Rupp Arena and matchups with traditional foes North Carolina, Indiana and Louisville.
The Wildcats open the Billy Gillispie Era Nov. 6-7 by hosting two rounds of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic, a 16-team tournament that also includes Connecticut, Memphis and Oklahoma. UK will host three other to-be-determined schools. The winners and losers of the first round games match up the following day, with the second round winner advancing to New York for the final two rounds Nov. 15-16. Kentucky’s 2K Sports College Hoops Classic games in Lexington will be televised on ESPNU, with the New York semifinals and finals on ESPN2.
Should UK advance to New York, 17 of its 31 regular-season games will be on CBS, ESPN or ESPN2, including 10 of the Cats’ 16 SEC contests. Last year, 12 of the Wildcats’ 30 regular-season games, including six SEC matchups, were on CBS, ESPN or ESPN2.
“Kentucky has always been known for playing one of the nation’s most high-profile schedules, and this year is no exception,” first-year Head Coach Billy Gillispie said. “With 16 SEC games, plus some very challenging non-conference contests, our team will be well-tested by the time March rolls around. It should be exciting.”
Kentucky opens SEC play Saturday, Jan. 12, by hosting Vanderbilt on CBS. Senior Day in Lexington features defending national champion Florida on Mar. 9. UK also welcomes Tennessee (Jan. 22), South Carolina (Jan. 26), Alabama (Feb. 9), Georgia (Feb. 9), Arkansas (Feb. 23) and Ole Miss (Feb. 27) to Rupp Arena.
The non-conference schedule is highlighted by traditional rivals North Carolina (Dec. 1 in Lexington), Indiana (Dec. 8 in Bloomington) and Louisville (Jan. 5 in Lexington). The Cats once again host a team at Louisville’s Freedom Hall, matching up with three-time NCAA Tournament foe UAB, led by former Indiana coach Mike Davis, on Dec. 15. UK also travels to Houston for a road non-conference game.
The rest of the non-conference schedule features home dates with Liberty (Nov. 21), Texas Southern (Nov. 24), Stony Brook (Nov. 27), Tennessee Tech (Dec. 22), San Diego (Dec. 29) and Florida International (Dec. 31).
Prior to regular-season action, Kentucky hosts a pair of exhibition games. The first will be Oct. 31 against in-state foe Pikeville College. The final exhibition is Nov. 3 against Seattle, whom UK defeated to win the 1958 national championship.
Kentucky begins formal preparations for the season with Big Blue Madness on Friday, Oct. 12, at Rupp Arena.