Cats to play North Carolina, instead of UCLA, in CBS Sports Classic


Keith Taylor

Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels will take on Kentucky this weekend in the CBS Sports Classic.

By Keith Taylor, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Kentucky wasn’t scheduled to play North Carolina this year, but a schedule change in the CBS Sports Classic has the two powerhouse programs playing this season.

The Wildcats were scheduled to take on UCLA in the annual event at 2 p.m. Saturday in Cleveland, but will now take on the Tar Heels in the same time slot. The Bruins will play Ohio State at 4:15 p.m. in the final game of a doubleheader. Both games will be played at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland.

“This is a little unusual to say the least, but these are unusual times and that goes for college basketball, as well,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said. “Perhaps it would have been better to make a change like this earlier, but the bottom line is we want to play. Kentucky, Ohio State and UCLA all have fantastic programs and we are excited about having the opportunity to play.”

According to organizers, the revised schedule was created to align COVID-19 testing protocols between the competing programs and their respective conferences.

Kentucky (1-4) will carry a rare four-game losing streak into the contest, while North Carolina is off to a 4-2 start and ranked No. 22 in the latest Associated Press Top 25. The Tar Heels’ two losses this season were to Iowa and Texas.

North Carolina and Kentucky have played two games in the event, with Kentucky defeating the Tar Heels on both meetings, including an 80-72 win two years ago in Chicago. The Wildcats edged North Carolina in Las Vegas four years ago behind a 47-point performance by Malik Monk.

Overall North Carolina leads the series between the two teams 24-16.