January 28, 2013
The Kentucky-North Carolina series is back on for at least the next two years.
The series has been renewed for two years, with the Wildcats scheduled to play in Chapel Hill next season and UNC coming to Rupp Arena in 2014-15, the school announced Monday.
Coach John Calipari had talked for some time about wanting to get the Tar Heels back on the schedule. UK took a break from the series to get North Carolina and Louisville in opposite locations in any given year.
For the 2013-14 season, UK now has a home game against the Cardinals, a road game against the Tar Heels, and neutral games in Chicago (Michigan State), Dallas (Baylor) and Brooklyn (unknown).
After last season's game, Roy Williams had said UK-UNC was "one of the great rivalries of college basketball." He said talks would resume if the series was discontinued, with most of the concerns revolving around an expanded conference schedule.
“I’ve been asked this question a lot and I’m sure Cal has been asked it a thousand times more than I have," Williams said last season. "I love these kind of series but everyone has to understand the landscape of college basketball is changing. We’re sitting here at 16 conference games and maybe the next year we’ll be at 19, who knows. I love games like this but, you know what, North Carolina and Kentucky didn’t play for about eight or nine of ten years. I wasn’t at North Carolina at that time but both schools survived. Am I interested in continuing to play Kentucky? Yes. Am I interested in making a concrete statement up here? John and I should have an opportunity to talk about that and see what else we have on the schedule and I think that’s what John has been eluding to this week. I think he’s had more questions about it then I do. Regardless of what the Kentucky fans say about who they’d like to get rid of we have a say in this thing too, it’s a two-way street kind of thing.”
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, although he's not around to experience it any more, had said the same thing.
"Of course we should keep playing," he said after last year's game. "That’s a rivalry right here. Like, you’d say it’s a rivalry now, right? We’re the real blue, though."
The day before last year's game, Calipari also brought up scheduling concerns.
"It if [the SEC schedule] stays at 16 games, it’s an easy decision," Calipari said. "Roy and I have talked. Both of us still want to play the series, know it’s important for both programs. But there’s only so many games you can play."
Now that the series is resuming, take a look back at some highlights: