Tuesday, July 23, 2019
THE FLATS – Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team and Kentucky have agreed to play a two-game series over the upcoming two seasons, beginning with the Yellow Jackets traveling to Lexington this December, and the Wildcats playing in Atlanta during the 2020-21 season.
Kentucky, which has won the NCAA Championship eight times, most recently in 2012, will host the Yellow Jackets Dec. 14 at Rupp Arena this season, and Tech will host the Wildcats in a “Holiday Hoopsgiving” event Nov. 27, 2020, at State Farm Arena in downtown Atlanta. Kentucky becomes the third Southeastern Conference opponent on the Yellow Jackets’ pre-conference schedule this season, joining Georgia (Nov. 20 in Athens) and Arkansas (Nov. 25 at McCamish Pavilion). With its pre-conference schedule nearing completion, Tech also hosts Nebraska on Dec. 4 for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and Ball State on Dec. 18, and the Jackets travel to Hawai’i to play in the Diamond Head Classic Dec. 22-25, where they will face Boise State in the opening round.
The former Southeastern Conference rivals have met 71 times previously, the fifth-most meetings for the Yellow Jackets against any non-ACC opponent. The Wildcats have a 56-15 advantage since the teams first met in 1924, but the Jackets won the most recent contest, 86-84 on Dec. 9, 2000 at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
Nine of Tech’s 15 wins over Kentucky came between 1955 and 1964 under legendary coach John “Whack” Hyder, three of those against Wildcat teams ranked No. 1 in the nation. The teams have met 34 times in Lexington, including three games at Rupp Arena, and 29 times in Atlanta.
“We’re excited about playing this series,” said head coach Josh Pastner, who was an assistant to Kentucky coach John Calipari for one season at Memphis (2008-09) before succeeding Calipari as the Tigers’ head coach. “Kentucky is one of the preeminent programs in the history of college basketball and remains so today under Coach Calipari, who is one of the great coaches in the game. As we continue to build our program, we strive to schedule top competition to give us a better chance to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament from a strength of schedule standpoint, increase the exposure for our program and bring high-level teams to play in Atlanta for our fans.”
With the new 20-game ACC schedule beginning in 2019-20, Yellow Jacket fans will see 10 conference home games, with defending national champion Virginia, Duke, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Louisville, as well as Miami, NC State, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech, coming to McCamish Pavilion. The ACC will announce the full conference schedule for all teams in the near future.