It was a great relief for college basketball fans when the 2021-2022 college basketball season began on time. You'll recall it didn't start until after Thanksgiving in 2020--the season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic.


And seems like we cruised through November relatively unscathed with regards to COVID-19 having an effect on schedules. But then within the last couple of weeks, there have been more and more reports about games being canceled or postponed (mostly canceled) due to COVID protocols. There was even a CONFERENCE matchup in the PAC-12 between UCLA and Washington that had to be canceled because of a COVID issue within the Huskies program. That game will not be made up and UCLA will get credit for a win for the purposes of seeding in that league's tournament.


But now COVID-19 has affected the Bruins as well. UCLA canceled a game earlier this week against Alabama State, leaving fans to wonder what, if anything, would become of its big matchup against North Carolina in Las Vegas at the CBS Sports Classic. That's the same event in which Kentucky was to take on Ohio State.

Well, on Thursday, December 16th, it was announced that the UK game against the Buckeyes ALSO had to be canceled because of COVID issues within the Ohio State program. The Wildcats, however, were making the trip to Vegas to find an opponent to fill the hole, regardless. And they did. And they got a big one.


UCLA's ongoing COVID situation has resulted in its game against the Tar Heels being canceled. And so North Carolina and Kentucky will face off this Saturday afternoon at 4:30 PM CST in T-Mobile Arena, giving fans a game between two college hoops bluebloods and, let's face it, giving CBS cause to breathe a heavy sigh of relief.

Like the Champions Classic--in which Kentucky faces off against either Duke, Michigan State, or Kansas annually on a rotating basis--the CBS Sports Classic rotates its games between the 'Cats, UCLA, North Carolina, and Ohio State.

Kentucky is 3-4 all-time in the event and 2-1 against North Carolina. The Wildcats have never beaten Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic. And the opportunity to end that streak in 2021 is gone.

But, boy, what a replacement.

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