UK releases 2008-09 basketball schedule

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky announced its 2008-09 men's basketball schedule, which includes as many as 13 games, with the possibility of a 14th, televised on CBS, or the ESPN Family of Networks. The schedule features a trip to Las Vegas, 18 regular-season games at Rupp Arena and matchups with traditional foes North Carolina, Indiana and Louisville.

The schedule also marks the fourth straight year that every Wildcat basketball game will be televised live.

The Cats will make their first appearance in Las Vegas in nearly 30 years, taking part in the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational. UK is scheduled to play Kansas State Nov. 28 on ESPNU, followed by a match-up against either Iowa or West Virginia on Nov. 29. The championship game will be televised on ESPN.

This season, 13 of Kentucky's 31 regular-season games will be on CBS, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU including eight of the Cats' 16 SEC contests. UK could pick up a 14th nationally televised contest should the team advance to the championship game in Vegas.

Kentucky opens the season Nov. 14 by hosting Virginia Military Institute.

"We're extremely excited about this year's very challenging schedule," said UK head coach Billy Gillispie. "It should prepare us for anything we could see over the entirety of the season. We're particularly excited about our home schedule, which will be very demanding and exciting for our fans. We can't wait to get started."

The Wildcats open SEC play Saturday, Jan. 10, by hosting Vanderbilt. Senior Day in Lexington features defending SEC Tournament champion Georgia on Mar. 4. UK also welcomes Auburn (Jan. 21), South Carolina (Jan. 31), Mississippi State (Feb. 3), Florida (Feb. 10), Tennessee (Feb. 21) and LSU (Feb. 28) to Rupp Arena.

The non-conference schedule is also highlighted by traditional rivals North Carolina (Nov. 18 in Chapel Hill), Indiana (Dec. 13 in Lexington) and Louisville (Jan. 4 in Louisville). The Cats once again host a team at Louisville's Freedom Hall, matching up with Appalachian State on Dec. 20. UK also hosts Miami (FL) in Rupp Arena on Dec. 6.

UK will also welcome former Wildcat and first-year Mississippi Valley State head coach Sean Woods back to Rupp Arena on Dec. 7.

The rest of the non-conference schedule features home dates with Delaware State (Nov. 22) and Longwood (Nov. 24) as part of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational, as well as dates with Lamar (Dec. 3), Tennessee State (Dec. 22), Florida Atlantic (Dec. 27) and Central Michigan (Dec. 29).

Prior to regular-season action, Kentucky hosts a pair of exhibition games. The first will be Nov. 3 against Missouri-St. Louis, while the second exhibition has yet to be determined.

Kentucky begins formal preparations for the season with Big Blue Madness on Friday, Oct. 17, at Rupp Arena.

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