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Battle of the Blue Bloods: Kentucky heads to Kansas for Big 12-SEC Challenge matchup

Marcus Lee will lead the Wildcats against Kansas it their first visit to Lawrence since December 1989 (UK Athletics Photo)

Marcus Lee will lead the Wildcats against Kansas it their first visit to Lawrence since December 1989 (UK Athletics Photo)


The two winningest schools in NCAA Division I history will meet during the 2015-16 season when Kentucky plays at Kansas as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

The Wildcats will visit Lawrence, Kan., on Jan. 30 to play the Jayhawks in the annual league challenge between the Southeastern Conference and Big 12. The 2016 meeting will mark UK’s first trip to Allen Fieldhouse since 2006 and just its second since 1990.

The team’s last meeting in Allen Fieldhouse came on Dec. 9, 1989.

This marks the third season of the annual Big 12/SEC Challenge, though this will be the first season where all 10 games of the challenge will be played on the same day. To accommodate for the new format in January, a bye in the league schedule for participating teams was created to accommodate for the format.

Ten of the SEC’s 14 teams will participate in this year’s event against all 10 of the Big 12’s institutions. Each of the 10 SEC teams participating in the 2016 games will also play in the 2017 event. The four SEC teams not participating will play each other in conference games the same day.

Eight of the 10 Big 12/SEC Challenge games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2 and two games will air on ESPNU. All 10 games will be available via WatchESPN. ESPN’s College GameDay will originate from one of the Challenge games, to be announced at a later date. Start times and network designations will also be announced at a later time.

Kentucky and Kansas have met three times over the last four seasons, with Kentucky winning all three matchups. The Wildcats beat the Jayhawks twice during the 2011-12 season, including a 67-59 victory in the 2012 national championship game.

UK rolled Kansas 72-40 in this past season’s Champions Classic matchup in Indianapolis.

Overall, UK leads the series 22-6. Kansas has won the last three meetings in Lawrence, but the Wildcats own a 7-4 series advantage at the Jayhawks’ home.

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Per usual, Kentucky and Kansas are expected to be among the nation’s best teams when they meet during the 2015-16 season. UK welcomes back Alex Poythress, Tyler Ulis and Marcus Lee to join another highly touted recruiting class. The Jayhawks will return the core of their 2015 Big 12 championship team. Both teams are among the top 10 in various early preseason national rankings.

The meeting with Kansas adds to what was already a super slate of nonconference games for the 2015-16 season. Kentucky is slated to play Duke in Chicago in the Champions Classic, South Florida in Miami in the inaugural Hoophall Miami Invitational, at UCLA in the first game of a home-and-home series, Ohio State in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the CBS Sports Classic, and Louisville in Rupp Arena.

UK’s full 2015-16 nonconference schedule will be released later.

2016 Big 12/SEC Challenge Matchups

Texas Tech at Arkansas
Oklahoma State at Auburn
West Virginia at Florida
Georgia at Baylor
Kentucky at Kansas
Oklahoma at LSU
Ole Miss at Kansas State
Tennessee at TCU
Iowa State at Texas A&M
Vanderbilt at Texas

From UK Athletics

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