Home / World Localities / Michigan basketball inks series with Kentucky, includes London game
Michigan basketball inks series with Kentucky, includes London game

Michigan basketball inks series with Kentucky, includes London game

The Michigan men’s basketball team is heading to London. Michigan and perennial powerhouse Kentucky will play each other in London in December 2020.

The teams will play a home-and-home series in the two seasons after that. The schools announced the games on Thursday.

The London matchup will be played at the O2 arena. Kentucky will visit Ann Arbor in 2021 and the Wolverines will go to Lexington’s Rupp Arena in 2022.

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, who attended Kentucky and played two seasons for current Michigan coach Juwan Howard when Howard was a Heat assistant, told MLive this summer that he believed Howard was trying to schedule Kentucky.

“When the idea of playing Kentucky came up, we knew it would be an exciting opportunity, not only for ourselves, but for our fans as well,” Howard said in a statement.

“What a unique three-game series. First, we get to showcase collegiate basketball overseas in London before playing that traditional home-and-home series in front of two of the nation’s best basketball environments.

We cannot wait.”

Michigan, which is 7-1 and ranked fourth in the country this season, went to the Bahamas last month for a tournament.

It was the Wolverines’ fifth regular-season trip out of the United States, all of which took them to the Caribbean. The program has gone to Europe before for preseason exhibition games, most recently in the summer of 2018, but has never travelled to London.

In fact, this will be the first college basketball game to be played there. It will be hosted by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and serve as a fundraiser the Hall, according to the schools.

Additional details, such as the exact date of the game and ticket sales will be announced in January.

Kentucky is the sport’s all-time winningest program.

The Wildcats were ranked No. 1 earlier this season and are currently eighth.

“This series with Michigan checks off a lot of boxes when we’re looking at teams to schedule,” head coach John Calipari said in a statement. “The first thing is, to add an opponent like Michigan and to do so at a point in the schedule where we’re beginning to find out who we are as a team will be important in our development.

“And then to be able to do something different — to be first, which our fans know we love to do — and play this first game is London will be an unforgettable experience for our players and for our fans. I imagine the home-and-home games the following seasons will be as good as any nonconference games in the country.

Kentucky holds a 5-2 series edge of Michigan. They last met in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, when Kentucky won by three to reach the Final Four.

When Howard was a sophomore playing for the Wolverines, they beat Kentucky in the 1993 Final Four. The year before, Michigan won two games in Rupp Arena to reach the Final Four.

More Michigan basketball content:

Michigan ‘punched in the mouth,’ vows to respond for Big Ten opener

How Louisville stifled Michigan’s offense

Louisville player: Michigan said it wanted ‘smoke’ and instead got smoked

Michigan suffers first loss at No. 1 Louisville 58-43

Michigan basketball goes from unranked to No.

4 in AP poll; MSU falls

.