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May 1, 2013Kentucky will salute a legend in its basketball history, return to one of its most storied rivalries after a one-year hiatus and have a chance for some revenge in a 2013-14 nonconference basketball schedule released on Tuesday.
But the highlight of the schedule might be its finale, when Louisville visits Rupp Arena on Dec. 28. That game will pit the two most recent NCAA champions against one another in an already-heated rivalry.
It won't be the only high-profile national rival on the Kentucky schedule.
Kentucky will face North Carolina on Dec. 14 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Tar Heels return to the schedule after the schools agreed last season to put the series on hold for a year, allowing UK to play at UNC in seasons when it hosts Louisville.
But playing elite national programs isn't Kentucky's only salute to its basketball past.
For the first time, the Wildcats will host the Keightley Classic, a multi-team event at Rupp Arena named in honor of the late Bill Keightley, the longtime Kentucky basketball equipment manager known as "Mr. Wildcat."
The first game in the Keightley Classic will give Kentucky a chance to avenge this year's season-ending loss. Robert Morris, which beat the Wildcats in the opening round of the NIT, will visit Rupp Arena on Nov. 17.
The Keightley Classic will feature UK games at Rupp Arena against Texas-Arlington (Nov. 19), Cleveland State (Nov. 25) and tournament co-host Eastern Michigan (Nov. 27).
UK has nonconference games against power-conference teams Michigan State (Nov. 12 in Chicago), Providence (Dec. 1 in Brooklyn) and Baylor (Dec. 6 in Arlington, Texas).
The Wildcats also will host UNC Asheville, Northern Kentucky, Boise State and Belmont at Rupp Arena. The season opens with exhibition games against Transylvania and Montevallo.