UNC-Kentucky on tap for Saturday after schedule change

UNC

Kentucky head coach John Calipari, left, and North Carolina head coach Roy Williams leave the court after their players warmed up before the South Regional final game in the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 26, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

This year is full of surprises. The North Carolina Tar Heels will face the Kentucky Wildcats on Dec. 19, despite not originally being on each other’s schedule.

UNC was set to take on Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic along with Kentucky versus UCLA, but due to COVID-19 testing protocols between the competing programs and their respective conferences, organizers of the annual event shifted the matchups.

“This a little unusual to say the least, but these are unusual times and that goes for college basketball, as well,” said Williams. “Our team wants to play in the CBS Sports Classic. Instead of Ohio State, we’ll play Kentucky. Perhaps it would have been better to make a change like this earlier, but the bottom line is we want to play. Kentucky, Ohio State and UCLA all have fantastic programs and we are excited about having the opportunity to play.”

The CBS Sports Classic annually brings together four of the nation’s most successful college basketball programs.

The quartet owns a combined 26 national championships, with UCLA (11), Kentucky (8) and North Carolina (6) ranking first, second and third, respectively, in NCAA history.

Additionally, all four programs rank in the top six in all-time Final Four berths, compiling 65 total appearances between them (North Carolina, 20; Kentucky, 17; UCLA, 17; Ohio State, 11). They are among college basketball’s all-time winningest programs, combining for more than 8,200 victories.

North Carolina is 4-2 in the CBS Sports Classic, Kentucky and Ohio State share matching 3-3 records and UCLA is 2-4 in the event. This set of matchups was last featured in 2018 when Kentucky defeated North Carolina, 80-72, and Ohio State knocked off UCLA, 80-66.

North Carolina will face Kentucky at 2 p.m. ET, followed by UCLA and Ohio State at approximately 4:15 p.m. ET with both games airing on CBS 17.

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