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Iona's Rick Pitino Offers to Play Kentucky After Saturday Games Canceled Due to COVID

Erin WalshDecember 16, 2021

BROOKLYN, NY - DECEMBER 12: Iona Gaels head coach Rick Pitino lets out a rare smille during the second half of the Hall of Fame Invitational mens college basketball game between Iona and Yale on December 12, 2021 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Will the Iona Gaels have a meeting with the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday? Iona head coach Rick Pitino wants to make it happen. 

After both schools had their weekend games canceled because of COVID-19 outbreaks for the opposing teams, Pitino tagged the Kentucky men's basketball program in a tweet to see if they were interested in a Saturday matchup. 

Rick Pitino @RealPitino

.<a href="https://twitter.com/KentuckyMBB?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KentuckyMBB</a> if you need an opponent Saturday, we travel πŸ˜€

He also offered up a contingency plan if the Gaels fail to find an opponent for this weekend. 

Rick Pitino @RealPitino

Gael Nation, if we don’t have an opponent by noon tomorrow, we will try and get a makeup game down the road.

Iona was set to face No. 16 Seton Hall in the Gotham Classic doubleheader at Madison Square Garden on Saturday before the Pirates were put in a COVID-19 pause on Thursday. 

Kentucky, meanwhile, was set to face Ohio State in the CBS Sports Classic at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday before the game was called off because of positive COVID-19 tests within the Buckeyes' program. 

Iona and Kentucky have met just six times dating back to 1977. However, they haven't played each other since 2005. The Wildcats have won all six matchups.  

The Gaels are 9-2 this season, while the Wildcats are 7-2.