During Tuesday night’s open practice for the eastern Kentucky flood relief, John Calipari and Gonzaga head coach, Mark Few, announced a two-game home-and-home series that will start this year, November 20th in Spokane.
However, it doesn’t appear to be a true home-and-home.
On Thursday morning, John Calipari confirmed reports that instead of playing the first game at Gonzaga’s home arena, the McCarthey Athletic Center, aka “The Kennel”, the game will instead be played at Spokane Arena.
I imagine there will be some #BBN and some Gonzaga fans too who will sneak in the game this year because there’s more seats!— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 4, 2022
This is great for both schools and I can’t wait to get the series started. Maybe we make this four years?— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) August 4, 2022
In his tweets, Calipari claims that the primary reason for this is the increased capacity for the game, going from 6,000 at the McCarthey Center to 12,638 at Spokane Arena. That is more than double the capacity, which will bring in more revenue and more fans.
When you take a step back and look at the series in terms of venues, it is in Kentucky’s favor. The Wildcats will play Gonzaga in a ‘neutral-home’ game, and then get Gonzaga in Rupp Arena next season.
Understandably, some fans are upset at the decision as the atmosphere at “The Kennel” would have been much cooler. Even a Gonzaga player tweeted his disappointment.
#Gonzaga’s Julian Strawther reacts to the Nov. 20 #Kentucky game reportedly taking place at Spokane Arena, rather than the Kennel. pic.twitter.com/yPnvY94W5z— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) August 3, 2022
At the end of the day, the Big Blue Nation asked for a better Rupp Arena schedule, and despite this change that is still the case as the Kentucky Wildcats will play the Gonzaga Bulldogs at home and in front of 22,000 fans next season.