LEXINGTON — Kentucky will play Kentucky State in an exhibition game before officially opening the season against Michigan State in the State Farm Champions Classic.
KSU will be UK’s second exhibition against an in-state school. The Wildcats will take on Georgetown College at 5 p.m. on Oct. 27 and the Thorobreds in a 7 p.m. contest on Nov. 1. Both games will be played at Rupp Arena and televised on the SEC Network.
The Thorobreds return one starter from last year’s team, which went 13-14 overall and 11-7 in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Kentucky State will be playing at Rupp Arena for the third time in school history.
The Wildcats defeated KSU 111-58 in an exhibition on Nov. 6, 2015. In the only regular-season matchup between the two teams, Kentucky won 118-63 on Dec. 15, 2001.
"This is an exceptional opportunity to represent our program," said Kentucky State coach Jamaal Jackson. “To compete in one of the greatest atmospheres in college basketball will be a great and memorable experience for our student-athletes. This contest allows us to see where we are as a team early in the season, against one of the top teams in the nation. This provides our institution and our basketball program with significant exposure on the national stage."
The Thorobreds open the regular season at home Nov. 11 at 6 p.m. against Wilberforce University.
UK is 2-0 against Georgetown College, including a 121-52 win in an exhibition game at Rupp Arena in 2014.
The Tigers won their third NAIA Division I title last season and have made three national championship game appearances under Chris Briggs, who was a student manager at Kentucky from 2001-04 and a graduate assistant from 2004-06 under Tubby Smith.
"We are very grateful to have the opportunity to play Kentucky in Rupp Arena," Briggs said. "Our players will be very excited to have this unique experience that they will always cherish. We are certainly appreciative of coach (John) Calipari, DeWayne Peevy and Mitch Barnhart for their generosity to our basketball program."
Kentucky has won 15 straight exhibition games and 61 of its last 63 regular-season tune-up games.
Big Blue Madness is set for 7 p.m. on Oct. 11, followed by the Blue-White game one week later at 7 p.m. on Oct. 18. Both events will be shown on the SEC Network.