UCLA basketball schedules December game against Kentucky

Even before UCLA’s season began, Steve Alford has insisted that he wants to schedule tough, marquee opponents going forward — something he had little control over his first season.

“I’ve never been somebody that’s hid from opponents,” Alford said more than three months ago.

After squeezing in a game against Duke last winter, he continues backing that up. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Bruins will face Kentucky in December at the United Center in Chicago. The game will be held the weekend before Christmas, and is part of a doubleheader event that also pits Ohio State against North Carolina.

Not a bad way to highlight the 2014-15 nonconference slate.

The Wildcats are two years removed from a national championship, and knocked off previously undefeated Wichita State as an eighth seed this past weekend.

UCLA assistant Ed Schilling worked on Kentucky coach John Calipari’s staff at Memphis, UMass and the New Jersey Nets. Alford and Calipari are also friends.