However, the matchups were switched up, as Kentucky ended up facing North Carolina, while UCLA faced Ohio State. The changes were made to more closely align COVID-19 testing protocols between the programs and their respective conferences.
When the changes were made, the initial belief was Kentucky - UCLA would then take place in the 2021 CBS Sports Classic.
However, Kentucky may have just revealed that it will be North Carolina for a second-straight year.
In today’s press release announcing the Big 12/SEC Challenge clash with Kansas, Kentucky included a note on facing the Tar Heels in this year’s CBS Sports Classic.
In addition to Kansas, UK has already announced nonconference matchups vs. Duke on Nov. 9 in the Champions Classic in New York, a road game at Michigan on Dec. 4, a neutral-site meeting against Notre Dame on Dec. 11 and a matchup with North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 18.
This would be good news for Kentucky in terms of difficulty of opponent, as UCLA is widely projected as a top-five team, and some even have the Bruins at No. 1 if Johnny Juzang ultimately withdraws from the NBA Draft.
Even without Juzang, UCLA should be a more difficult opponent, especially after North Carolina watched Roy Williams retire this offseason just to replace him with Hubert Davis, who’s never been a head coach at any level of basketball.
One of the more recent way-too-early 2021-22 college hoops ranking comes from Jon Rothstein, who has UCLA at No. 2, Kentucky at No. 20, and North Carolina at No. 23.