While it won’t be Kentucky vs. Rick Pitino, it appears the Wildcats will have about as good of a replacement opponent was we could hope for.
According to multiple media reports, Kentucky is likely going to face the North Carolina Tar Heels. North Carolina is likely to need a new opponent with UCLA set to miss the game due to COVID-19 issues.
“Current plan” is for Kentucky to play North Carolina in Las Vegas, sources tell KSR.— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) December 16, 2021
This is assuming UCLA is forced to pull out of the event. As of Wednesday night, the Bruins’ complete roster was available — Mick Cronin being the lone exception.https://t.co/pIkjSDtizv
Everything trending to Kentucky playing North Carolina Saturday in Las Vegas, sources told @Stadium.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) December 16, 2021
Kentucky is currently ranked 21st in KenPom compared to North Carolina being 30th.
As COVID-19 outbreaks continue surging across the country, many sports leagues are being heavily affected, including college basketball.
Now, it’s led to a Kentucky Wildcats basketball game being cancelled.
Saturday’s CBS Sports Classic clash between Kentucky and Ohio State has been called off due to COVID-19 issues within the Buckeyes’ program. Kentucky has confirmed the news while saying the school is searching for a new opponent to play Saturday, possibly in the CBS Sports Classic.
“The CBS Sports Classic is currently working with UK Athletics to find a possible replacement game to fill Saturday’s void,” the school announced. “At the timing of this release, UK was still scheduled to make the trip to Las Vegas in hopes of finding a game.”
However, Kentucky does have a potential opportunity for a neutral-site game with a storyline as big as you’ll see in the sport this week.
Saturday’s game between Seton Hall and Rick Pitino’s Iona Gaels at Madison Square Garden has been canceled due to COVID issues within the Pirates program.
That has Pitino searching for a new opponent to face, and Kentucky makes too much sense.
Short notice, but anyone out there interested in playing us at 3:00PM on Saturday in the worlds most famous arena??? ♂️— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) December 16, 2021
While there are probably a lot of logistics and other challenges to work through, both schools need to at least try to make this happen, whether it be in Vegas or at MSG.
However, the more logical thing may be a potential matchup with North Carolina, as Jon Hale of the Courier-Journal points out.
UCLA's game Wednesday was canceled, so I imagine CBS is waiting to see if Bruins can play this weekend.— Jon Hale (@JonHale_CJ) December 16, 2021
If not, having UK play UNC is the easy fix. https://t.co/PWDSSQGAJU