ESPN to air Kentucky-West Virginia

Kentucky’s trip to Morgantown, West Virginia, to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers figures to be one of the most intriguing nonconference games in college basketball, and ESPN will be there to cover it.

The Wildcats’ game against the Mountaineers will be played at either 4:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. ET on Jan. 27, 2018, at WVU Coliseum as part of the fifth annual Big 12/Southeastern Conference Challenge. The time of the game will be finalized at a later date.

The UK-WVU game is one of four games in the challenge that will air on ESPN. Four games will air on ESPN2, and ESPNU will broadcast two of the games. ESPN’s College GameDay will originate from one of the Big 12/SEC Challenge games. It visited Rupp Arena for UK’s game last season against Kansas.

Kentucky will play West Virginia on Jan. 27, 2018, at either 4:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. (photo by Chet White, UK Athletics)

It will be the fourth time Kentucky and West Virginia have faced each other in Coach Cal’s UK tenure, but the first time in a regular-season setting. After losing to West Virginia in the regional final of the NCAA Tournament in 2010, the Wildcats defeated the Mountaineers by eight in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament and then doubled up WVU 78-39 in the 2015 Sweet 16 in Cleveland.

Kentucky is 15-5 all-time against West Virginia and has won nine of its past 10 games against WVU. UK is 1-1 against the Mountaineers in Morgantown. The Wildcats won their only previous game against the Mountaineers at WVU Coliseum, a 106-100 game that was played just six days after the opening of the raucous venue on Dec. 7, 1970.

This season marks the third consecutive season in which all 10 games will be played on the same day. The two conferences split last year’s challenge, 5-5.

Each of the 10 SEC teams participating in this year’s challenge will play in the 2019 event as well. The four SEC teams not participating will play each other in conference games the same day.

West Virginia, a perennial power in the Big 12, is ranked No. 8 in ESPN’s “way-too-early top 25” for the 2017-18 season. The Mountaineers return their leading scorer, Jevon Carter, who was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year last season and is a preseason All-America candidate this season, and figure to be one of the top defensive teams in the nation.

Head coach Bob Huggins will be entering his 11th season guiding his alma mater. Huggins, a longtime friend of Coach Cal’s, has posted a 229-119 (.658) record with the Mountaineers and has guided WVU to the NCAA Tournament in eight of his 10 seasons, including each of the past three. He has a career record of 819-329 (.713) and has taken 23 teams to the Big Dance.

2018 Big 12/SEC Challenge TV schedule

Matchup TV Time (ET)
Baylor at Florida ESPN 12 p.m.
Texas Tech at South Carolina ESPN2 12 p.m.
Ole Miss at Texas ESPN2 2 p.m.
Georgia at Kansas State ESPNU 2 p.m.
Oklahoma at Alabama ESPN 2:15 p.m.
TCU at Vanderbilt ESPN2 4 p.m.
Tennessee at Iowa State ESPNU 4 p.m.
Texas A&M at Kansas ESPN 4:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Kentucky at West Virginia ESPN 4:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Oklahoma State at Arkansas ESPN2 6 p.m.