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May 1, 2013

Louisville, UNC highlight nonconference schedule

Kentucky's 2013-14 nonconference basketball schedule; times and TV information are TBA, as is the Southeastern Conference schedule:
Nov. 1Transylvania (ex)
Nov. 4Montevallo (ex)
Nov. 8UNC Asheville
Nov. 10Northern Kentucky
Nov. 12vs. Michigan State (Chicago)
Nov. 17Robert Morris
Nov. 19Texas-Arlington
Nov. 25Cleveland State
Nov. 27Eastern Michigan
Dec. 1vs. Providence (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Dec. 6vs. Baylor (Arlington, Texas)
Dec. 10Boise State
Dec. 14at North Carolina
Dec. 21Belmont
Dec. 28Louisville
Kentucky will salute a legend in its basketball history, return to one of its most storied rivalries after a one-year hiatus and have a chance for some revenge in a 2013-14 nonconference basketball schedule released on Tuesday.

But the highlight of the schedule might be its finale, when Louisville visits Rupp Arena on Dec. 28. That game will pit the two most recent NCAA champions against one another in an already-heated rivalry.

It won't be the only high-profile national rival on the Kentucky schedule.

Kentucky will face North Carolina on Dec. 14 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Tar Heels return to the schedule after the schools agreed last season to put the series on hold for a year, allowing UK to play at UNC in seasons when it hosts Louisville.

But playing elite national programs isn't Kentucky's only salute to its basketball past.

For the first time, the Wildcats will host the Keightley Classic, a multi-team event at Rupp Arena named in honor of the late Bill Keightley, the longtime Kentucky basketball equipment manager known as "Mr. Wildcat."

The first game in the Keightley Classic will give Kentucky a chance to avenge this year's season-ending loss. Robert Morris, which beat the Wildcats in the opening round of the NIT, will visit Rupp Arena on Nov. 17.

The Keightley Classic will feature UK games at Rupp Arena against Texas-Arlington (Nov. 19), Cleveland State (Nov. 25) and tournament co-host Eastern Michigan (Nov. 27).

UK has nonconference games against power-conference teams Michigan State (Nov. 12 in Chicago), Providence (Dec. 1 in Brooklyn) and Baylor (Dec. 6 in Arlington, Texas).

The Wildcats also will host UNC Asheville, Northern Kentucky, Boise State and Belmont at Rupp Arena. The season opens with exhibition games against Transylvania and Montevallo.

The Wildcats, who went 21-12 in 2012-13, return key players Alex Poythress, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kyle Wiltjer and add an eight-man recruiting class ranked the best in the nation.

It includes six players - Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Julius Randle, James Young, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee - who were named McDonald's All-Americans.

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