Notre Dame and Kentucky dropped a bombshell on college basketball fans when they announced that the two would be renewing a series between the two programs - a rivalry that dates back to 1929, a rivalry that hasn’t had a series with each other since 2001-2004.
It was announced today that Notre Dame and Kentucky would play a three game series starting on December 12th this upcoming season and continuing for the next two seasons. This year’s game will be held in Rupp Arena, on Kentucky’s home court. The 2022 matchup will be in South Bend at Purcell Pavilion, while the middle of the three games will be at a neutral site - still yet to be determined.
The last time these two teams played was in the 2015 Elite Eight. Kentucky was unbeaten and the number one team in the country, and Notre Dame was coming off one of the university’s greatest regular seasons ever and an Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament Championship.
In what was one of the more entertaining games of the past decade, Kentucky narrowly squeaked by as a Jerian Grant heave at the buzzer wouldn’t go down. Notre Dame would lose 68-66 and Kentucky would go on to lose their Final Four matchup to Wisconsin, a game that many Irish fans feel could have been won. A season that is still felt by Notre Dame fans today, for both its highs and the final low.
The two programs have squared off 62 times before and Kentucky owns a commanding lead in the series with 43 wins. Notre Dame dominated the series early on, winning seven of the first eight matchups, but Kentucky has been dominant ever since. Since 1990, Kentucky and Notre Dame have played each other 14 times, with the Wildcats winning 12 of those games - including a 10 game winning streak from 1990-2004.
The last four matchups have been split, with the Irish taking down Kentucky during the 2009 NIT and both teams winning one game during the old SEC/Big East Invitational. As mentioned earlier, Kentucky defeated Notre Dame at the 2015 NCAA Tournament during the Elite Eight.
With Kentucky added to the 2020 slate, Notre Dame now has a decent chunk of their non conference schedule finished. On top of Kentucky, head coach Mike Brey and his squad will take on Eastern Washington on Nov. 17, Liberty on Nov. 20, and Purdue as part of the Crossroads Classic. Notre Dame is also scheduled to play in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, New York on Nov. 23 and 24, alongside Vanderbilt, UConn and USC.
Kentucky adds a dynamic dimension to the schedule, and an opponent that Notre Dame basketball fans should be very familiar with.
Be sure to stay locked into Irish Breakdown all the time!