The Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball program will be taking their show under Juwan Howard overseas next season. A game has been set to play in December 2020 against the Kentucky Wildcats set to take place in London, which was announced on Thursday.
The Wolverines and Wildcats will also play in a home-and-home series in 2021 and 2022 with the first game set to be played at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor and the rubber match in Lexington at Rupp Arena in 2022.
The news was first reported by Jon Rothstein in the New York Times.
“When the idea of playing Kentucky came up, we knew it would be an exciting opportunity, not only for ourselves, but for our fans as well,” Howard said in a statement. “What a unique three-game series. First, we get to showcase collegiate basketball overseas in London before playing that traditional home-and-home series in front of two of the nation’s best basketball environments. We cannot wait.”
Why London? Here’s why:
“The London game is scheduled for December 2020 at the O2 arena, a stadium that has been used by the N.B.A. over the past few seasons.”
“The London event, which was organized as a fund-raiser for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, also includes a game between the University of Maryland-Baltimore County and Marist. U.M.B.C. has two players, R.J. Eytle-Rock and Daniel Akin, who are originally from London, and the team built significant name recognition in 2018 by becoming the first No. 16 seed in the N.C.A.A. tournament to defeat a No. 1 when it upended Virginia (which rebounded with a national title the next season).”
We will await further details on the event, but this seems pretty cool! There is virtually no downside to playing tough non-conference games and this will be a chance for Howard and his program to play before an international audience.