Sunday, July 29, 2001

Pitino, Duke highlight Kentucky schedule

Wildcats to play 14 NCAA squads

Special to the Enquirer

        LEXINGTON, Ky. - The much-anticipated matchup with Rick Pitino and Louisville, a showdown with defending national champion Duke in the Jimmy V Classic, and a home game against North Carolina highlight the University of Kentucky 2001-02 men's basketball schedule released Saturday by athletics director Larry Ivy.

        The 28-game regular-season schedule includes 14 games against 2001 NCAA Tournament teams and seven games broadcast nationally by CBS Sports.

        “I think this is a very solid, competitive schedule from November to March, typical of what we've had in the past,” Ivy said.

        Following exhibition games against Nike Elite and Athletes in Action in early November, the Wildcats tip off their 99th season of college basketball playing host to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Classic at Rupp Arena, Nov.15-16. Kentucky will battle Western Kentucky, which returns honorable-mention All-American Chris Marcus, and Marshall faces George Washington. The consolation and championship games follow the second night.

        UK will face Kyle Macy's Morehead State squad Nov.24 before facing Kent State in Cincinnati Nov. 28. Kent State upset Indiana in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament. After a home game against Virginia Military Institute, North Carolina makes its first appearance in Rupp Arena and its first return to Lexington since 1968, on Dec.8. A week later, UK will battle Division II Kentucky State for the first time ever. Former Wildcat Winston Bennett coaches Kentucky State.

        “We were expecting to renew our contract with Georgia Tech, but when that didn't happen, we were left to find a replacement at a late date,” Ivy said.

        During its holiday break, UK will renew its rivalry with preseason favorite Duke in the Jimmy V Classic at the New Jersey Meadowlands on Dec.18. The doubleheader also features Temple and Alabama in the opener. The Cats and Blue Devils last met in December 1998 at the Jimmy V Classic with Duke winning 71-60.

        On Dec.22, the Cats will face Indiana in front of nearly 40,000 fans in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. On Dec.29, former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino, who guided the Cats to the 1996 NCAA Championship, returns to Rupp Arena as coach of archrival Louisville.

        The Wildcats battle their second straight Conference USA team when former UK assistant coach Shawn Finney brings Tulane to Louisville's Freedom Hall Jan. 2. It's the first game of a two-year, home-and-home contract with the Green Wave. Four games into the Southeastern Conference slate, Kentucky faces its final nonconference opponent, Notre Dame, in South Bend on Jan.19.

        “This will be another challenging schedule that will test us early,” coach Tubby Smith said. “For the last two seasons, we've been ranked at the top of the power polls for strength of schedule. I'm sure when it's all said and done, we might have the nation's toughest schedule again.”

        UK opens its SEC slate on the road for the first time in six years, visiting Mississippi State.

        Every regular-season game will be televised either live or delayed. Thirteen games will be broadcast by a national network, including seven on CBS and six on ESPN.

        (Home games bold)

        Tues. 6, vs.Nike Elite (exhibition), 7:30 p.m.
        Sun. 11, Ath. in Action (exh. UKTV-D), 2 p.m.
        NABC Classic
        Thurs. 15, Marshall vs. George Washington, 6 p.m.; UK vs. Western Kentucky, 8 p.m.
        Fri. 16, Consolation Game, 6 p.m.; Championship Game, 8 p.m.
        Sat. 24, MOREHEAD ST. (UKTV-L), 8 p.m.
Wed. 28, vs. Kent St.(UKTV-L), 8 p.m., at Firstar Center in Cincinnati,
        Wed. 5, VMI (UKTV-D), 8 p.m.
        Sat. 8, NORTH CAROLINA (CBS), 4 p.m.
        Sat. 15, KENTUCKY STATE, 1 p.m.
        Jimmy V Classic

        Tues. 18, UK vs. Duke (ESPN), 9 p.m., at Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ,
        Sat. 22, vs. Indiana (CBS), 5 p.m., at RCA Dome in Indianapolis,
        Sat. 29, LOUISVILLE (CBS), 4 p.m.
        Wed. 2, vs. Tulane (UKTV-L), 8 p.m., at Freedom Hall in Louisville,
        Sat. 5, at Mississippi St. (JP), TBA
        Wed. 9, GEORGIA (Fox Sports South), 7 p.m.
Sat. 12, at South Carolina, TBA
        Tues. 15, OLE MISS (ESPN), 7 p.m.
Sat. 19, at Notre Dame (CBS), Noon
        Tues. 22, at Auburn (ESPN), 9 p.m.
        Sat. 26, ALABAMA (ESPN), 8 p.m.
Tues. 29, at Florida (ESPN), 9 p.m.
        Sat. 2, SOUTH CAROLINA (JP), TBA
Wed. 6, at Tennessee (JP), 8 p.m.
        Sat. 9, at LSU (JP), TBA
        Wed. 13, VANDERBILT (JP), 8 p.m.
Sat. 16, at Georgia (CBS), 1 p.m.
        Tues. 19, TENNESSEE (ESPN), 9 p.m.
        Sat. 23, ARKANSAS (CBS), Noon
Wed. 27, at Vanderbilt (JP), 8 p.m.
        Sat 2., FLORIDA (CBS), Noon
Post season
        Sat. 16, SEC Tournament (CBS), 1 p.m.

        UKTV— UK TV Network; JP— Jefferson Pilot Spt.

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