UK sports to watch over winter break


Jack Weaver

Kentucky Wildcats guard Cason Wallace (22) shoots the ball during the No. 4 Kentucky vs. Michigan State Champions Classic mens basketball game on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2022, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Michigan State won 86-77 in the second overtime. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Samantha Money, Asst. Sports Editor

Finals week is just around the corner, and the student body is eagerly awaiting the end of the fall semester, but for UK Athletics, the winter season is not a stopping point.

With mens and womens basketball entering the heart of their respective seasons, volleyball progressing through the 2022 NCAA Tournament, gymnastics taking the floor for its first meet this season and much more, UK Athletics has plenty of noteworthy events taking place over the break while most students relax at home and away from campus.

With that said, whether students are traveling to the beaches of Florida, hitting the snowy slopes in Colorado or just surfing their living room couch over the holidays, here are the

Kentucky sports matchups they won’t want to miss this break:

1. Mens basketball vs. No. 8 Alabama (Jan. 7, 2023)

The mens basketball team has several games over the break, but the one against Alabama will no doubt be the toughest matchup of the period for Kentucky.

The game is set to take place early on into the conference schedule for the Cats and will play a huge role in setting the tone for future conference opponents.

The Wildcats took home their first power-five victory of the season against Michigan 73-69 at the Hall of Fame game in London this past weekend and, with the first domino knocked over, hope to continue to rack up wins that can truly build a postseason resume.

Currently Alabama would be quite the resume builder, boasting a 7-1 record that includes a win over former No. 1 North Carolina, and standing at No. 8 in the current AP Poll, so Kentucky is sure to be meeting a formidable team in Tuscaloosa.

The game is set to tipoff at 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, and will air live on ESPN.

2. Football vs. Iowa in the 2022 Music City Bowl (Dec. 31, 2022)

It was just announced this week that Kentucky will travel to Nashville, Tennessee, for the Music City Bowl on New Year’s Eve to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes.

If this matchup sounds familiar it’s because it also occurred in the 2022 Vrbo Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 of this year. Teams meeting for the second year in a row, even if it’s technically in the same year, in bowl games is something that is quite uncommon in college football, but clearly not impossible.

At that Citrus Bowl, Kentucky left with a 20-17 win over Iowa, so the Cats are surely hoping to repeat that magic this season.

Both the Wildcats and the Hawkeyes finished their respective seasons with a 7-5 record with subpar offenses, something that may come into play even more with UK quarterback Will Levis forgoing the matchup, and reliable defenses.

Kentucky football’s 2022 finale is set to kickoff at noon EST on Saturday, Dec. 31, and will be streamed live on ABC.

3. Womens basketball vs. No. 11 LSU (Jan. 8, 2023)

Kentucky womens basketball will have arguably its biggest game of the season thus far over break, facing off against the No. 11 LSU Tigers.

The game will be played at home for the Cats with the bonus of it being on the court at Rupp Arena, as opposed to their usual home arena in Memorial Coliseum.

Kentucky has only taken on one ranked opponent thus far, No. 14 Virginia Tech, in which it came up short 82-74.

With Louisville falling out of the top 25, LSU will provide an opportunity for the Cats to secure their first ranked win of the season, depending on the success of UK’s prior matchup against current No. 21 Arkansas, if they’re able to bring their best to the court and defeat the Tigers.

Even if a potential win does not go down as the first ranked victory, assuming both teams hold form, the win could very likely be the first top 15 win of the season and potentially even a ranked matchup.

The much-anticipated game is set to tipoff at 2 p.m. EST on Sunday, Jan. 8, inside Rupp Arena and will be streamed live on SEC Network+.

Complete schedule of winter break sports

No. 3 seeded Kentucky volleyball is set to take on No. 2 San Diego in the Regional Semi-Finals of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, Dec. 8.

If the Cats win, they will continue to play on Dec. 10 against the winner of No. 5 Houston and No. 1 Stanford.

Again, assuming the Cats are victorious, the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament is scheduled to begin on Dec. 15 with the NCAA Championship to be played on Dec 17.

The 2023 season for Kentucky gymnastics will begin over the break, all starting with the Blue-White meet this Sunday, Dec. 11.

The team’s first official meet of the season will take place on Jan. 8 against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio.

Mens basketball
Mens basketball is set to have several matchups over the break starting with Yale on Saturday, Dec. 10, inside Rupp Arena.

The Cats will then travel to New York City to take on No. 19 UCLA on Dec. 17 in Madison Square Garden for the CBS Sports Classic.

After that highly anticipated matchup, Kentucky will play Florida A&M on Dec. 21 in the second annual Unity Series, followed by Missouri on Dec. 28 to kick off SEC play.

Kentucky’s in-state rival Louisville will then meet the Cats inside Rupp Arena on Dec. 31 to kiss 2022 goodbye with a bang.

Kicking off 2023, Kentucky will play LSU on Jan. 3 before traveling to Tuscaloosa to face Alabama on Jan. 6, its final matchup before the spring semester begins.

Womens basketball
Womens basketball will tip off against Losuiville on Dec. 11 inside Rupp Arena to start the winter break schedule before returning to Memorial Coliseum to face Murray State on Dec. 16.

The Cats will have an extended stay at home in their next couple of games, hosting Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 18 and Ohio University on Dec. 21.

Then, on Dec. 29, the team will travel to Columbia, Missouri, to take on the Mizzou Tigers to kickoff conference play, followed by a return to Lexington on New Year’s Day to face No. 21 Arkansas.

Closing out the break, Kentucky will travel to Athens, Georgia, to take on the Bulldogs on Jan. 5, before the much anticipated matchup against No. 11 LSU on Jan. 8.

Swimming and diving
Finally, Kentucky swim and dive will have a single meet over the break at home, taking on the Georgia Bulldogs on Dec. 19.