UK releases men's 2001-02 basketball schedule

Kentucky released its 2001-02 men's basketball schedule on Saturday. The slate includes home matchups with North Carolina and Louisville, as well as a neutral court showdown with Duke...

LEXINGTON, Ky. --- A home slate that includes arch-rivals North Carolina and Louisville and a neutral-court matchup with Duke highlights Kentucky's 2001-02 basketball schedule released Saturday by the university.

"This will be another challenging schedule that will test us early," UK coach Tubby Smith said. "For the last two seasons, we've been ranked at the top of the power polls for strength of schedule. I'm sure when it's all said and done, we might have the nation's toughest schedule again."

The 28-game schedule includes 14 games against teams which made the 2001 NCAA Tournament field. The Cats will tip off their 99th season of college basketball on Nov. 15-16 as they play host to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Classic at RuppArena. Kentucky will face Western Kentucky, which features All-American center Chris Marcus, while Marshall squares off with George Washington in the other matchup. The consolation and championship games will be played the following night.

Kentucky's annual visit to Cincinnati will come on Nov. 28 as they face Kent State in the Queen City's Firstar Center. The Golden Flashes are coming off a strong season which saw them upset Indiana in the NCAA tourney.

North Carolina's first visit (Dec. 8) to Rupp Arena and first trip to Lexington since 1968 will mark the first of an unprecedented seven nationally-televised games for the Cats on CBS. Ten days later, they face another Tobacco Road powerhouse, defending national champion Duke, in the Jimmy V. Classic at the Meadowlands.

"I think this a very solid, competitive schedule from November to March, typical of what we've had in the past," Kentucky Athletics Director Larry Ivy said. "However, as you look at our home schedule, it may be one of our better slates we've had in some time, thanks to the NABC Classic, North Carolina, Louisville and last year's top three teams from the SEC Western Division all scheduled to play in Rupp Arena."

Kentucky's annual rivalry games against Indiana and Louisville come on back-to-back Saturdays in December. The Cats travel to Indianapolis to face the Hoosiers, while former UK coach Rick Pitino brings the Cardinals into Rupp Arena for what will likely be the season's most highly anticipated showdown.

The school's first matchup against Division II squad Kentucky State will fall between the North Carolina and Duke games.

"We were expecting to renew our contract with Georgia Tech, but when that didn't happen, we were left to find a replacement at a late date," Ivy said. "When we found out Kentucky State would play us, coach Smith and I decided that it would be a great opportunity for us to help another in-state institution and two former Wildcats in the process, coach Winston Bennett and Athletics Director Derrick Ramsey."

The Cats battle another Conference USA team with a former UK coach when Shawn Finney brings Tulane to Louisville's Freedom Hall on Jan. 2. It's the first game of a two-year, home-and-home contract with the Green Wave. Four games into the Southeastern Conference slate, Kentucky faces its final non-conference opponent, Notre Dame, in South Bend on Jan. 19.

Kentucky opens its SEC slate on the road for the first time in six years, visiting Mississippi State. The top three Western Division teams from last season  Ole Miss, Arkansas and Alabama  all visit Rupp Arena this year. Kentucky completes its regular-season schedule at home on March 2 against Florida on Senior Day, the third straight year the Cats and Gators have closed out the season.

Again this season, every regular-season game will be televised either live or delayed. Thirteen games will be broadcast by a national network, including seven on CBS and six on ESPN.

 "I've produced college basketball games for CBS the past 17 years, and I don't recall ever broadcasting more than five games of any one particular school during a regular season," said Bob Dekas, the lead college basketball producer for the network. "It's a tribute to the Kentucky program, its schedule that it chooses to play and the fact that the Southeastern Conference is one of the strongest leagues in the nation."

The release of the schedule was delayed two weeks. Initially, ESPN had wanted to schedule two 9 p.m. Super Tuesday games at Rupp Arena while CBS had elected to tip the Wildcats' Senior Day game with Florida at noon on Sunday, March 3. But Ivy intervened and ESPN flipped the Ole Miss game to a 7 p.m. start while CBS moved the Florida game to Saturday, away from Sunday church services.

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2001-02 Men's Basketball Schedule

Day Date Opponent Location TV Outcome/Time
Tue 11/06/2001 Nike Elite (Exhibition) Lexington, Ky.   7:30 PM ET
Sun 11/11/2001 Athletes in Action (Exh.) Lexington, Ky. UKTV-D 2:00 PM ET
Thu 11/15/2001 Marshall vs. George Washington (NABC Classic) Lexington, Ky. Fox Sports Ohio 6:00 PM ET
Thu 11/15/2001 Western Kentucky (NABC Classic) Lexington, Ky. Fox Sports Ohio 8:00 PM ET
Fri 11/16/2001 Consolation (NABC Classic) Lexington, Ky. Fox Sports Ohio 6:00 PM ET
Fri 11/16/2001 Championship (NABC Classic) Lexington, Ky. Fox Sports Ohio 8:00 PM ET
Sat 11/24/2001 Morehead St Lexington, Ky. UKTV-L 8:00 PM ET
Wed 11/28/2001 Kent State Cincinnati, Oh. UKTV-L 8:00 PM ET
Wed 12/05/2001 VMI Lexington, Ky. UKTV-D 7:30 PM ET
Sat 12/08/2001 North Carolina Lexington, Ky. CBS 4:00 PM ET
Sat 12/15/2001 Kentucky State Lexington, Ky. UKTV-L 1:00 PM ET
Tue 12/18/2001 Duke E. Rutherford, N.J. ESPN 9:00 PM ET
Sat 12/22/2001 Indiana Indianapolis, Ind. CBS 5:00 PM ET
Sat 12/29/2001 Louisville Lexington, Ky. CBS 4:00 PM ET
Wed 01/02/2002 Tulane Louisville, Ky. UKTV-L 8:00 PM ET
Sat 01/05/2002 Mississippi St Starkville, Miss. JP TBA
Wed 01/09/2002 Georgia Lexington, Ky. Fox Sports South 7:00 PM ET
Sat 01/12/2002 South Carolina Columbia, S.C JP TBA
Tue 01/15/2002 Mississippi Lexington, Ky. ESPN 7:00 PM ET
Sat 01/19/2002 Notre Dame South Bend, Ind. CBS 12:00 PM ET
Tue 01/22/2002 Auburn Auburn, Ala. ESPN 9:00 PM ET
Sat 01/26/2002 Alabama Lexington, Ky. ESPN 8:00 PM ET
Tue 01/29/2002 Florida Gainesville, Fla. ESPN 9:00 PM ET
Sat 02/02/2002 South Carolina Lexington, Ky. JP TBA
Wed 02/06/2002 Tennessee Knoxville, Tenn. JP 8:00 PM ET
Sat 02/09/2002 LSU Baton Rouge, La. JP TBA
Wed 02/13/2002 Georgia Athens, Ga. CBS 1:00 PM ET
Wed 02/16/2002 Vanderbilt Lexington, Ky. JP 8:00 PM ET
Tue 02/19/2002 Tennessee Lexington, Ky. ESPN 9:00 PM ET
Sat 02/23/2002 Arkansas Lexington, Ky. CBS 12:00 PM ET
Wed 02/27/2002 Vanderbilt Nashville, Tenn. JP 8:00 PM ET
Sat 03/02/2002 Florida Lexington, Ky. CBS 12:00 PM ET
Thu 03/07/2002 TBA Atlanta, Ga.   TBA
Fri 03/08/2002 TBA Atlanta, Ga.   TBA
Sat 03/09/2002 TBA Atlanta, Ga.   TBA
Sun 03/10/2002 TBA Atlanta, Ga.   TBA

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