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Kentucky planning to move Holiday Hoopsgiving appearance to December

The Kentucky basketball schedule continues to shift and take shape.

Sources tell KSR that Kentucky is in discussions with Holiday Hoopsgiving officials about pushing back its matchup against Georgia Tech to December. The game was originally scheduled to take place in Atlanta on Nov. 27.

As Matt Norlander of CBS Sports reported earlier today, Kentucky will host a multi-team event in a pod format in Lexington, with Detroit, Hartford and Richmond “in the final stages of agreeing to play” the first week of the season.

Originally, Kentucky vs. Georgia Tech was going to serve as a standalone event to open the Holiday Hoopsgiving on Nov. 27, while the rest of the event was set to take place on Dec. 12. With further reports indicating that the event will now take place in a bubble in Atlanta from Dec. 10-17, it creates added flexibility for UK to push things back and allow for the program to fulfill its prior agreements with non-conference foes.

More specifically, John Calipari has been outspoken about playing buy games in a bubble or pod environment to allow mid-major programs to receive money they desperately need to stay afloat during difficult times.

“Do we put in a bubble or a pod, let’s say Kentucky, Louisville, and Michigan State with three buy games?” Calipari told the UK media back in August. “Detroit, where my son plays, Murray State, and East Tennessee State, and we play a round-robin so we get buy games where those teams really need that money. Can we do it that way?”

While this pod won’t include Louisville, Michigan State, or some of the other local schools Calipari previously floated, it will allow for his son, Brad Calipari, to return to Rupp Arena with Detroit Mercy, along with Hartford of the America East Conference and Richmond, who was expected to make the 2020 NCAA Tournament and finds itself as a fringe preseason top 25 team in 2020-21.

When asked for an official confirmation from UK, the school was not able to provide any scheduling updates at this time, noting that the program is simply “thrilled to have a starting point for the upcoming season.”

“We cannot confirm or provide any schedule updates at this time,” a UK spokeswoman told KSR. “As we said a couple of days ago, we are thrilled to have a starting point for the upcoming season and look forward to preparing for the 2020-21 year, but right now we do not have any further details. We will continue to work with the SEC and with our opponents to establish a revised schedule that will both prepare and challenge our team while adhering to safety protocols.”

Should the Georgia Tech game be moved to December, it would confirm the first four events of the season for Kentucky:

  • Lexington pod (begins first week of the season on Nov. 25)
    • Kentucky will play Detroit Mercy, Hartford and Richmond
  • Champions Classic (tentatively scheduled for Dec. 1-5)
    • Kentucky will play Kansas
  • Kentucky vs. Notre Dame (scheduled for Dec. 12)
  • Holiday Hoopsgiving (scheduled for Dec. 10-17)
    • Kentucky will play Georgia Tech

From there, the Big 12/SEC Challenge also remains on schedule to be played in January 2021, giving the Wildcats yet another non-conference opportunity for the upcoming season. 

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR