Report: North Carolina could face new opponent on Saturday due to UCLA's COVID-19 issues
North Carolina was scheduled to face UCLA in Las Vegas on Saturday, but that’s expected to change according to multiple reports.
The Bruins are dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak and are expected to bow out of the marquee matchup. Instead, the Tar Heels are expected to face Kentucky.
That’s according to college basketball insider Jeff Goodman, who says everything is “trending” toward that being the matchup in Las Vegas on Saturday. The Wildcats were supposed to face Ohio State, who has already canceled its trip to Las Vegas due to COVID-19.
Everything trending to Kentucky playing North Carolina Saturday in Las Vegas, sources told @Stadium.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) December 16, 2021
If UCLA is indeed unable to play on Saturday, Kentucky would be a more-than-capable replacement opponent. The Wildcats currently rank No. 21 in KenPom’s live rankings, while the Tar Heels sit at No. 30 entering Thursday night’s games.
North Carolina is 25-16 all-time against Kentucky. That includes wins in five of its last eight matchups vs. the Wildcats, dating back to 2011. However, Kentucky did win the most recent meeting between these two blue bloods — 75-63 at the CBS Sports Classic last December.
North Carolina could use another marquee win to add its résumé. So far, the Tar Heels’ best nonconference win is against Michigan. They were unable to come away with victories early in the year vs. Tennessee or Villanova.
North Carolina enters this weekend with an 8-2 record and a five-game winning streak.