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Kentucky will host John Calipari and Arkansas in 2024-25

Jack PIlgrimby:Jack Pilgrim05/13/24

The hottest ticket in recent college basketball memory is coming to Lexington, Kentucky during the upcoming 2024-25 season.

John Calipari is making his official debut as the visiting head coach inside Rupp Arena in Mark Pope’s first year leading the Wildcats. And it’ll be the only head-to-head battle between Kentucky and Arkansas, no rematch coming to Bud Walton Arena for the Razorbacks.

It’ll be one-and-done for Coach Cal in Lexington next winter, according to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. The date is currently to be determined, but the event itself is in the works.

Start saving up, Big Blue Nation. It’s gonna cost a pretty penny — but worth every one. It’s an opportunity to see the former Kentucky coach of 15 years navigate the opposing sideline and visiting locker room for the very first time, his key card no longer working for the home amenities.

Will he receive boos or cheers? How warm will Calipari be in return, no matter the fan reaction? How long will he talk in the postgame press conference? Will he still come out for postgame radio as a creature of habit — or send Chin Coleman out to do it?

And most importantly, just how important is it for Mark Pope to win this one? Will Coach Cal pull out all of the stops to put it to Kentucky or kill the hype going in pretending it’s no bigger than any other game on Arkansas’ schedule? How do t-shirt nights work when it’s Calipari on the opposing bench, but with Kentucky as the home team? Is it still a Super Bowl — and for whom?

We won’t have to wait long to find out those answers. Coach Cal is coming home a matter of months following his departure.

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2024-05-25