John Calipari

When Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari and Gonzaga Bulldogs head coach Mark Few announced plans for a home-and-home series between the two schools in 2022 and 2023, most of the college basketball world assumed that meant both games would be played in the schools’ respective home arenas.

Apparently, that’s not actually going to be the case. While the Bulldogs will travel to Kentucky’s Rupp Arena in 2023, Kentucky will not be playing Gonzaga in McCarthey Athletic Center, nicknamed “The Kennel.” Instead, Calipari revealed that this year’s game will be played in nearby Spokane Arena.

“I’m excited about playing Gonzaga. I’m disappointed that we have to go there first, but to make it happen I was willing to do that,” Calipari tweeted. “Playing in front of 13K crazy fans in Spokane Arena will be exciting just like it will be in front of 22K fans in Rupp next year.”

The reason for the venue change appears to be that Calipari simply doesn’t want to play in an arena that only holds 6,000 fans, in case it gives Gonzaga a competitive advantage.

“Anybody that wants us to play in a 6,000-seat facility, wants us to lose!” Calipari added. “And I get that. I tried to look back and find the last time UK played in a true regular-season road game with 6,000 or fewer fans. I stopped looking after the 70s.”

It’s worth noting that the North Carolina Tar Heels, Arizona Wildcats, and Michigan State Spartans have all faced Gonzaga in The Kennel recently.

Less than two years ago, Calipari said that throughout his career, he has always been willing to play “any team, any place, any time.” It appears that is not actually true, and the college basketball world put Calipari on blast for it.

Kentucky and Gonzaga will face off in Spokane, Washington, on Nov. 20 this season, followed by a second matchup in Lexington, Kentucky, in Rupp Arena sometime next season.

[John Calipari]