A few days ago UCLA head coach Steve Alford hinted at the possibility of UCLA and Kentucky coming together on a scheduling agreement, with the two programs in the final stages of negotiating an agreement for a home-and-home series in each of the next two seasons.
On Friday Kentucky head coach John Calipari confirmed that the two storied programs will play, with UCLA hosting next season’s meeting and Kentucky hosting the game in 2016-17. How did the agreement come about? According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, North Carolina’s request for a two-year suspension of their series with Kentucky left an opening in the Wildcats’ schedule that UCLA ended up filling.
The home-and-home series will fill a gap created when North Carolina asked that its traditional series with UK be suspended for two seasons, Calipari said.
“You won’t believe this: This is all based on what we need,” Calipari said facetiously. “Don’t care about anybody else. You don’t want to play us? Listen, don’t play us.
“So it takes off two years. We plug in UCLA for two years.”
This new series is a good move for both programs. Both recruit nationally, and the opportunity to take on one of the great programs in the sport certainly doesn’t hurt. And unless there’s some sort of epic collapse in regards to on-court success, it’s a game that should help both programs with regards to NCAA tournament resumes.
Also of note in the report is that North Carolina has sent Kentucky a contract to resume the series in 2018.