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UND men's basketball to play Kentucky this season in historic Rupp Arena

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In perhaps the biggest game UND men’s basketball has ever scheduled, the Fighting Hawks will play national power Kentucky -- with eight NCAA national titles to its credit -- this season at historic Rupp Arena.

The Hawks will play Kentucky on Nov. 14 in Lexington. Kentucky announced its nonconference schedule on Thursday.

For the past few seasons, UND has included a handful of games against national powers.

Last season, UND played at Gonzaga -- losing in overtime -- and at Creighton. In 2015, UND played at Wisconsin -- a season after the Badgers advanced to the Final Four.

Kentucky is one of the most successful men’s basketball programs in history.

The Wildcats lead Division I basketball in all-time wins (2,256) and all-time winning percentage (.764).

Kentucky’s eight national titles are the most in Division I history, second only to UCLA’s 11.

Kentucky already has played four exhibition games as part of a foreign tour. In early August, the team traveled to the Bahamas where the Wildcats won four games -- all in convincing fashion.

Kentucky is coming off a 26-11 season, which ended in a Sweet 16 loss against Kansas State. The Wildcats traditionally lose a handful of players to the NBA each season. Last season was no exception as four players left Kentucky early to sign NBA contracts.

But Kentucky reloads each season and has the Wildcats ranked No. 1 in its preseason poll.

Kentucky is a member of the SEC and the league is coming off a banner season as eight teams reached the NCAA Tournament.

For the second time in seven years, UND, which finished 12-20 last season, will open its season in a new league.

After UND plays its exhibition schedule, the Fighting Hawks will play in the Summit League, rejoining traditional rivals North Dakota State, South Dakota and South Dakota State.

UND is expected to release its full 2018-19 schedule in the near future.

Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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