THE University of Kentucky men’s basketball team is slated to play Arizona State University in a regular season game in Nassau on November 28, 2016.
The game will be played in the 3,800-seat Imperial Ballroom at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, the site of the yearly Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
The game against the Sun Devils will mark Kentucky’s return to the Bahamas after a successful “Big Blue Bahamas” six-game foreign tour by the Wildcats in the capital last summer.
“We are thrilled to return to the Bahamas in 2016 to play Arizona State,” Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. “The Bahamas brings back a lot of good memories for our team. It was there we built the foundation for our unforgettable 2014-15 season. I have a ton of respect for coach Bobby Hurley and believe he’s going to take Arizona State to the next level. A great opponent coupled with a beautiful setting after the holiday weekend should make this an unbelievable trip for our fans.”
“We look forward to a great matchup with Kentucky in a place where Arizona State has never played next November,” said Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley. “It is important for our programme to play high-level competition early in the season while at the same time gaining exposure for our players. It will be another great learning experience for our team in a place that is becoming popular in the college basketball world with regards to early-season games. The list of teams playing in Atlantis increases every year, and we are glad to be part of it.”
Kentucky leads the all-time series between the schools 3-0. This season, UK will host ASU on December 12 in Lexington’s Rupp Arena.
Last season, the Wildcats became the first team in NCAA history to begin a season 38-0 before falling in the NCAA Final Four national semi-final game to Wisconsin.
Calipari became the third coach in history to take his school to four Final Fours in a five-season span, and the Wildcats head coach will be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September as a member of the Class of 2015.
Hurley was named the Sun Devils head coach in April after two seasons at Buffalo, where the Bulls were 42-20, despite playing 29 road games.
In 2014-15, Hurley led Buffalo to a school-record-tying 23 victories, the Bulls’ first Mid-American Conference title and first NCAA Tournament berth.
The Sun Devils were 18-16 last season and advanced to the second round of the NIT.
“Having Kentucky play a regular-season game at the Atlantis, especially against a quality non-conference opponent such as Arizona State, is another tremendous opportunity for the Bahamas to play host to more great college basketball,” said Lea Miller, president of Complete Sports Management.
“We were proud to bring Kentucky to Nassau for their foreign tour last summer. The quality of the Wildcats’ experience during the tour led them to consider a return to the Bahamas, and we are thrilled to have this game occur in November 2016.”