Notre Dame’s men’s basketball schedule added a marquee opponent for the next three years with the announcement of a three-game agreement between Notre Dame and Kentucky. The two schools announced the deal that starts with a game at Rupp Arena in December of this year on Thursday.
Notre Dame is set to travel to Rupp Arena in Kentucky on December 12, 2020. A neutral site game follows on December 11, 2021. Kentucky then travels to Notre Dame for a showdown on December 10, 2022. No broadcast details or rights have been announced for any of the games as of yet.
Notre Dame released the following video announcing the series yesterday.
𝘼 𝙨𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙨 𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙬𝙚𝙙.
Our history with Kentucky is filled with drama and excitement and the Wildcats are officially back on our schedule for the next three seasons 🙌
— Notre Dame MBB (@NDmbb) May 28, 2020
Notre Dame and Kentucky have played each other 62 times in the history of the two programs with the Wildcats holding a distinct advantage 43-19 all-time. The most recent meeting between the two was one of the most epic. Notre Dame came up just short of reaching the Final Four five years ago against #1 ranked Kentucky. The Wildcats squeaked by the Irish by only two points on their way tot he Final Four.
That loss for Notre Dame has been the height of the Mike Brey era, and the Irish have not been able to recapture that magic since that heartbreaking loss. Notre Dame was fresh off of their first ACC Tournament Championship win and took the bigger, stronger Wildcats down to the wire.
Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari had great things to this to say about adding the Irish to Kentucky’s schedule.
“If our previous games are any indication, this is going to be a great series. I can remember playing Notre Dame in 2010 in Freedom Hall and Ben Hansbrough going crazy in the first half and Terrence Jones willing us to victory in the second half. We went to South Bend a couple years later and that place was nuts. The football team was there and they thumped us. And then the game in 2015 in the Elite Eight was one of the best all-around games I’ve been a part of. Elite play from both teams.
“I’ve got a feeling these three games are going to provide some similar battles. Mike Brey is a terrific coach who always builds teams that are going to fight and give you everything they’ve got. I really like how our nonconference schedule is coming together for the next few seasons.”
Kentucky fans have been upset over Kentucky’s lack of significant out of conference matchups over the last few years under Calipari, and the addition of Notre Dame appears to be in response to some of that criticism.
Before the 2019-20 basketball season was cut short during the conference tournament week due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Notre Dame was in the midst of a disappointing season, but there is hope that the Irish are poised for a better year in 2020-21. Whenever that season begins or is played.
Assuming the men’s basketball season is not postponed in any way because of the pandemic, this should be a great game for college basketball fans. Having the first game in Kentucky is also potentially a huge advantage for Notre Dame if sports venues are not able to be at full capacity this fall/winter (a near certainty at this point). Rupp Arena is an intimidating venue to visit, but it won’t be as daunting if it’s not at full capacity.