Kentucky, UCLA agree to home-and-home deal

Kentucky typically plays one of the best non-conference schedules annually in college basketball.

It’s getting even more entertaining beginning in 2015.

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UK on Monday announced it has reached a deal on a two-year home-and-home series with UCLA which will start next season in Los Angeles. The Bruins and Wildcats, who own a combined 19 NCAA championships, will play at Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 3, 2015, marking UK’s first trip to the storied venue. UCLA will make a return trip to Lexington on Dec. 3, 2016, marking the Bruins’ first appearance at Rupp Arena

“Steve and I have known each other for more than 20 years. When he and I started talking about a possible series, it seemed like a no-brainer to me,” UK coach John Calipari said via a statement released by the school.

“One, with the way our schedule is shaking out for next year, it gives us another great opportunity early in the season to learn about ourselves. Two, not only does Big Blue Nation get to see two of the historic programs in Rupp Arena when UCLA returns the trip in 2016, it gives our fans on the other side of the country a chance to see our team in person. I couldn’t be more excited about the way our nonconference schedule is shaping up for the next two years. It should be another challenge.”

In addition to UCLA, the Cats are slated to play Duke in the Champions Classic at Chicago and Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic at Brookyln, N.Y., next season. UK will also face in-state rival Louisville at Rupp Arena.

In 2016-17, the Cats also have dates with Michigan State in the Champions Classic in New York and North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic at Las Vegas.

UK and North Carolina have tentative plans to return to their annual home-and-home series at the completion of the two-year UCLA deal.

Kentucky and UCLA are set to meet this season in the CBS Sports Classic on Dec. 20 at the United Center in Chicago. The Cats are 6-4 all-time versus the Bruins with all but three of the previous matchups coming on a neutral floor.

The Cats last played host to UCLA in Lexington on Feb. 17, 1961, a 77-76 victory for UK. UCLA last played UK in Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 1959, a 68-66 win for the Cats.

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