The University of Kentucky’s 2021-22 men’s basketball schedule continues to take shape, and on Wednesday the Wildcats added another blue blood to the mix.
UK will travel to Kansas on Jan. 29 to face the Jayhawks as part of the 2022 SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
The Wildcats previously revealed they will take on Duke at the Champions Classic in New York on Nov. 9 and North Carolina at the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 18. UK has also announced non-conference games against Michigan on Dec. 4 and Notre Dame on Dec. 11.
A story line to watch when Kentucky visits Allen Fieldhouse will be the teams’ all-time victory totals. When the 2020-21 season ended, the Jayhawks had closed to within four wins of tying the Wildcats. Kentucky remains the winningest program in NCAA history with 2,327 victories. Kansas, which trimmed 12 wins off the Cats’ lead last season, stands at 2,323.
UK leads its all-time series against Kansas 23-10 but has lost four of the last five meetings. Kentucky is 7-5 against the Jayhawks in Lawrence, Kan.
Kentucky is ranked No. 9 in the nation and Kansas No. 4 in the most recent installment of ESPN’s “Way-Too-Early Top 25 for 2021-22 posted on June 1.
UK’s roster has undergone a transformation since last season’s 9-16 campaign. The Wildcats have added four transfers to mix with a highly rated recruiting class and several returnees for Coach John Calipari.
Kansas Coach Bill Self added three big-name transfers to a squad that finished 21-9 last season and reached the NCAA Tournament round of 32.
The SEC/Big 12 Challenge, entering its ninth year, matches all 10 of the Big 12 members against 10 of the 14 programs from the Southeastern Conference. Each conference has the opportunity to host five games every year.
ESPN, the SEC and the Big 12 reached a deal last year to extend the Challenge through 2025.
Kentucky is 4-3 all-time in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Last season’s game against then fifth-ranked Texas in Rupp Arena was canceled when UK had to pause team activities because of COVID-19.
Across the previous seven years, UK lost to Baylor, beat Texas, lost to Kansas, lost to Kansas, beat West Virginia, beat Kansas and beat Texas Tech.
Since there are 14 SEC teams and only 10 Big 12 schools, four from the SEC have to sit out each season. Missing out on this season’s Challenge will be Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt.
The Big 12 has won four of the eight Challenges, the SEC two, and there have been two ties.
The Big 12 won the first three Challenges 7-3, 6-4 and 7-3 before the leagues split 5-5 in 2016-17. In 2017-18, the SEC won the Challenge for the first time, with a 6-4 advantage. In 2018-19, the Big 12 won 6-4. The leagues tied 5-5 in 2019-20. Last season, the SEC won 5-4.
The overall record now stands at 44 wins for the Big 12 vs. 35 for the SEC.
Game times and TV channels for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge will be announced at a later date.
2022 SEC/Big 12 Challenge
Matchups for this season’s event, which is scheduled for Jan. 29, 2022:
▪ Baylor at Alabama
▪ West Virginia at Arkansas
▪ Oklahoma at Auburn
▪ Oklahoma State at Florida
▪ Kentucky at Kansas
▪ LSU at TCU
▪ Kansas State at Mississippi
▪ Mississippi State at Texas Tech
▪ Missouri at Iowa State
▪ Tennessee at Texas