As of Tuesday, the basketball game that will take UK to the UK in December remains on the schedule.
Planning for the University of Kentucky to play Michigan in the United Kingdom on Dec. 6 continues, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame said in a statement issued Tuesday. The statement came in the midst of many athletics events, including the NCAA Tournament, being canceled because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The Basketball Hall of Fame remains diligent in monitoring the situation and making decisions in the best interest of public health,” the statement read. “At this time, we are moving forward with plans to host the inaugural London Showcase.”
Tickets remain on sale at AXS.com, the statement read.
The doubleheader planned would have Kentucky play Michigan in one game and Marist play Maryland Baltimore County in the other.
The statement suggested that it’s not a certainty that the games will be played as planned.
“We will continue to work and communicate with the four schools involved,” the statement read, “and we will provide additional updates as needed.”
During a teleconference called last week to wrap up the 2019-20 season, UK Coach John Calipari acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding the doubleheader in London given the current pandemic.
“It is up in the air right now,” he said. “I say up in the air. Where is this thing going? And we probably have until about June to make that decision. Do we do something that is closer to us? So, it is being thought of.”
Michigan issued a similar statement. It read:
“COVID-19 has affected so much so far, that we are sure the London event will be evaluated throughout the spring and summer before any decision is made. The safety of the teams, staff, workers, and fans is what comes first.”
Calipari had dropped hints about Kentucky playing a game in London. The doubleheader was officially announced on Feb. 21.
“The Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to celebrate the game on a global scale and we couldn’t be more excited to host four Division I men’s teams in London this December …,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “We’re also looking forward to showcasing collegiate hoops to the local fans and growing the appreciation for basketball at all levels worldwide.”
Calipari said the game with Michigan checked off “a lot of boxes when we’re looking at teams to schedule.” A game in London would be “an unforgettable experience for our players and for our fans,” he added.
London would be the first in a three-game series with Kentucky, Michigan Coach Juwan Howard said. The second game would be at Michigan in the 2021-22 season with the third game at Kentucky in 2022-23.
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