After a huge home win against Louisville, Western Kentucky will travel across the state to play a last-minute contest against Kentucky in famed Rupp Arena Wednesday night at 6 p.m. ET. It comes after an up-and-down week that consisted a positive moments on the basketball court and a natural disaster in the community.
The entire state of Kentucky had to deal with a series of tornados that swept the state destroying thousands of acres of property and homes as well as killing dozens. The community of Bowling Green, the community Western Kentucky resides in, was among the hardest hit. WKU and Murray State teamed to raise funds for the victims.
That makes this Kentucky and Western Kentucky game transcend the basketball court. UK Athletics is working on a charitable component from the game that will provide support for those who were affected by the Dec. 11 tornadoes. There are already multiple go-fund-me’s set up by the Red Cross and Kentucky Sports Radio.
Kentucky was originally scheduled to play its traditional rival Louisville. However, the Cardinals announced the team would go on a COVID pause early Monday. WKU’s previously scheduled road trip to Austin Peay has been mutually agreed to move back to the 2022-23 season.
Sources: In light of losing its game vs. Louisville, Kentucky and Western Kentucky have agreed to come together to play a game on Wednesday that will also raise money for tornado relief funds throughout the region.— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) December 20, 2021
“We want to extend our appreciation to Coach Calipari and Kentucky for their willingness to play this game,” WKU head coach Rick Stansbury said. “This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about what our state is going through right now and continue to build support for those in western Kentucky affected by the recent tornadoes, including the people of Bowling Green. I know Cal and Kentucky didn’t have to do this, but it speaks volumes about their willingness to help the state of Kentucky.”
It will be the first time the Hilltoppers have played at Rupp arena since 2001. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.
“We have now dealt with COVID-related issues the last two scheduled games,” Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics, said. “I am very appreciative of the University of North Carolina and Western Kentucky University for working with us quickly to complete our schedule. I know our fans were looking forward to the game with our intrastate rival. In lieu of that game, Western Kentucky and the University of Kentucky will come together to provide some relief for our state as we work through the tragedy of the last couple of weeks in Western Kentucky.”
While the outside ramifications are the story, we will get a huge basketball game to our delight. The Hilltoppers are coming off two convincing wins against power conference opponents.
Kentucky just routed North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic. The country will get to see 7-foot-5-inch center Jamarion Sharp in action against the best offensive rebounding team in the country.
It will also be fascinating to watch Cameron Justice and Dayvion McKnight compete against Kentucky’s NBA caliber guards. It’s going to be a good one Wednesday Night at Rupp arena, and the entire state of Kentucky is going to benefit from it.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the Red Cross have raised $875,964 and KSR has tallied $767,961. You can add onto that tally on their Red Cross page, https://www.redcross.org/donate/cm/wlextv-pub.html/. For the KSR gofundme, you can visit the site at the following link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/ksr-and-kentucky-chamber-foundation-relief-fund.