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Barnhart: One game in Louisville each season is important

Kentucky
Content provided by Jerry Tipton on UK basketball.

University of Kentucky Director of Athletics Mitch Barnhart said the men’s basketball program should continue the tradition of playing a game in Louisville each season.

“We want to continue to play over here,” Barnhart said before the Cats played Notre Dame. He noted the many alumni that live in the Louisville area and the potentially rich recruiting ground.

Earlier this week, the Kentucky State Fair Board said it paid between $10,000 and $12,000 to re-paint the Freedom Hall court blue. Spokesman Edward Brown said part of the reason was to try to entice UK to play more than one regular-season game in Freedom Hall each season.

“I haven’t had that conversation,” Barnhart said with a smile. ” . . . We do have an arena back in Lexington. We have to make sure we play enough games there.”

UK owed it to the students and city of Lexington play its home games in Rupp Arena, he said.

Last season, UK Coach John Calipari floated the idea of playing several games in Louisville as a recruiting tool. At the time, Barnhart said flatly that one game in Louisville each season was enough.

When asked if he still believed that, Barnhart said, “I think that’s probably accurate.”

But Barnhart seemed a bit more open to the idea of more than one game, if only because he did not want to rule out any possibility.

“I don’t want to pin ourselves in a corner,” he said.

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