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UCLA basketball finalizes home-and-home series with Kentucky

UCLA and Kentucky have never played each other at Pauley Pavilion or Rupp Arena. They will starting next year

Together, they have 19 national championships — more than any other two teams in the nation — 68 Sweet 16 appearances and two of the most recognizable arenas in college basketball.

Yet UCLA and Kentucky have never played against each other in Pauley Pavilion or Rupp Arena. Starting next year, they will. On Monday, the schools announced a two-year home-and-home series, beginning in Westwood on Dec. 3, 2015. The Los Angeles Times reported on Nov. 26 that the schools were close to a deal.

“This is a big win for fans of college basketball in Southern California,” UCLA Coach Steve Alford said in a statement.

The two teams will also meet this year in Chicago.

The addition of Kentucky for the next two seasons bolsters an already strong nonconference schedule. Next season, UCLA will play a deep field in the Maui Invitational. They Bruins also meet North Carolina at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and play at Gonzaga for the second game in a home-and-home series.

UCLA and Kentucky last played an on-campus game in Lexington, Ky., in 1961, before the construction of Rupp Arena. Kentucky also traveled to UCLA in 1959 when UCLA played at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

Back then, UCLA had yet to win its first national championship.

Twitter: @zhelfand

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