The Bruins have booked a trip to the Big Apple, where they are set to face off against a fellow blue blood.
UCLA men's basketball will play Kentucky on Dec. 17 as part of the 2022 CBS Sports Classic, Jeff Goodman of Stadium was first to report Saturday morning. The event, which has been held in Chicago, Brooklyn, Las Vegas, New Orleans and Cleveland over the past nine years, will be played at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the first time.
The last time the Bruins played at the Mecca was in December 2013, when they lost to Duke.
As two bona fide blue bloods, UCLA and Kentucky have plenty of history between each other over the past 70 years.
The Bruins beat the Wildcats in the 1975 national championship game, sending coach Wooden into retirement a high note with his 10th ring. Kentucky got its revenge with a blowout win in the 1998 Sweet 16 on its way to an NCAA title of its own, then beat UCLA in the same round in 2017.
The two programs have had plenty of regular season meetings in recent history, thanks in part to the CBS Sports Classic.
UCLA, Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio State have been taking part in the nonconference showcase since its inception in 2014, and the Bruins and Wildcats met in both 2014 and 2017. UCLA and Kentucky were scheduled to play in 2020, but the matchups were shuffled around three days before tip-off due to COVID-19 protocols and the blue and gold faced the Buckeyes instead.
As a result, the last time the Bruins played the Wildcats was at the 2017 CBS Sports Classic. UCLA won that contest 83-75 in what seemed to be a turning point for a Bruins team that lost to Michigan in overtime and Cincinnati at home before barely scraping by South Dakota.
That was coach Steve Alford's last full season in Westwood, and it helped him achieve a winning record against Kentucky during his time at UCLA. The Bruins swept a home-and-home with the Wildcats in 2015 and 2016, despite Kentucky being ranked No. 1 in the country heading into both matchups.
Coach Mick Cronin has only faced off against coach John Calipari's Kentucky squad once in his career, and it ended in a 13-point loss for Cincinnati in the 2015 Round of 32 at the hands of the Final Four-bound, then-undefeated Wildcats.
UCLA is 2-5 all-time in the CBS Sports Classic, but 7-5 against Kentucky since 1975.