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Kentucky, then Duke: Utah Valley opens with a brutal back-to-back


LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 10: during a semifinal game of the Western Athletic Conference Basketball Tournament at the Orleans Arena on March 10, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cal State Bakersfield defeated Utah Valley 81080 in 4OT. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

Sam Wasson

OREM, Utah (AP) — Utah Valley is calling it perhaps the toughest 24 hours of basketball in NCAA history.

The Wolverines say they will play at bluebloods Kentucky and Duke on back-to-back days to open the season. They’ll visit Rupp Arena in Lexington on Nov. 10, then head to Cameron Indoor Stadium to play the following day.

In announcing the games Thursday, coach Mark Pope says it “is what college basketball is supposed to be.”

The brutal back-to-back games create a couple of homecomings for the coaching staff. Pope played at Kentucky in the 1990s and helped the Wildcats win the 1996 national title under Rick Pitino. Assistant Chris Burgess played two seasons at Duke in the late ‘90s.