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Friday Headlines: Tubby Smith Edition

Kentucky will honor an exceptional man and coach before Friday’s game.

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NCAA Basketball: Memphis at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

For what has been a rollercoaster of a year, the Kentucky Wildcats will close out 2021 with a matchup against the High Point Panthers — a team coached by former Wildcats head coach and National Champion Tubby Smith. Smith will be honored at 11:40, approximately 20 minutes before tip-off, with a ceremony celebrating the retirement of his jersey.

Smith won his National Championship in 1998 — his first season with the Wildcats. It was his best season, coaching Kentucky to a 35-4 record. He went on to coach another nine seasons at Kentucky with a combined record of 263-83. Smith made five appearances in the Sweet Sixteen trips while making the NCAA Tournament in all 10 of his seasons at Kentucky. In addition to a championship, Smith established a culture that so many of Big Blue Nation could embrace and relate to. He was truly one of the greats and will always have a place in Lexington.

The No. 18 Wildcats come into the game with a 10-2 record while the Panthers have struggled to start the year with a 6-7 record. Kentucky is an overwhelming favorite, with ESPN’s Basketball Power Index giving the Wildcats a 98.5% chance of victory. The game will air on SEC Network with postgame updates via A Sea of Blue.

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