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ISU men’s basketball to play Kentucky, November 30

Devaughn Akoon-Purcell

DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell drives past Wichita State's defense in the 2014-2015 MVC tournament semifinal.

ESPN2 will televise the Illinois State men’s basketball team’s November 30 nonconference game at 2015 Final Four qualifier Kentucky.

Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. Central time at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. This will be the first ever meeting between the two teams.

In 2014–2015, Kentucky (38-1) became the first team in college basketball history to go 38-0 and the third program to win an NCAA-record 38 games in a single season. The Wildcats did not suffer a loss until falling to Wisconsin in the Final Four.

In head coach John Calipari’s first six seasons at Kentucky, the Wildcats have advanced to the Final Four four times, played for the national championship twice, and won the national title once, in 2012. Kentucky also captured the 2014–2015 Southeastern Conference (SEC) title.

Meanwhile, Illinois State (22-13) advanced to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in 2014–2015 after falling short in the championship game of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Tournament. The Redbirds upset No. 8 Wichita State during their MVC Tournament run. Illinois State has beaten a Top-25 team in each of its last four seasons.

The Redbirds have a 6–1 record against SEC teams, with the most recent win occurring March 24, 2014, against Texas A&M.

Kentucky is among six 2015 NCAA Tournament teams the Redbirds will face during the 2015–2016 season.