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Flashback to ’96: Kentucky steamrolls the SEC

Today we breathe a sigh of relief as Kentucky was finally able to pull away from Tennessee in Rupp Arena Tuesday for its second Southeastern Conference win of the season. It hasn’t been easy for the Cats, and it won’t get any easier from here, with remaining games against Missouri, Ole Miss, and a pair against Florida.

To ease your tension, take a trip down memory lane and reminisce one of college basketball’s greatest teams ever, in what was one of their most dominating offensive performances. Watch their dismantling of Louisiana State in 1996, to the tune of 86 points in the first half.

The 2012-13 Kentucky Wildcats are not the 1995-96 Wildcats by any means. But look how easy they make that look. Wow. Our guys could learn a thing or two watching this team play. Watch the ball movement, the energy on the press, the aggressiveness off the glass, and the ability to finish around the rim.

That was fun. Thanks to Season Never Ends, I remembered that it happened on this day in 1996.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

31 responses to “Flashback to ’96: Kentucky steamrolls the SEC”

  1. Big Blue 66

    I actually think it would be interesting to see this years team press. They are athletic.long and it would make them become aggressive and it would prob get them some easy dunks that in turn make them more fired up. Imagin WCS or even Wiltjer all the way back, Noel guarding the ball and Archie harrow and poythress running everywhere to slap the ball

  2. Take Their Assault Weapons, Let Them Keep The Muskets

    Great Team!

  3. I remember

    I remember my recliner being on cruise control that year.

  4. TN Cat

    When a team scores 42 in the first half and they are still down by 44 points, it’s a rough day. I still can’t stand Dale Brown.

  5. Reality Check

    Why did that game not receive a name (like the comeback against LSU a few years earlier….the Mardi Gras Miracle)? They could call this one the Bayou Bashing or something. I think Antoine Walker was in double figures before he put his socks on in the locker room.

  6. Reality Check

    UK should have received a Humanitarian Award for not letting the final score be 185-65.

  7. bung

    those guys would rebound and run to get the easy transition baskets…we had zero fast break points last night.

  8. emlang08

    Did anyone notice last night, Harrow and Stein set up nice traps 4-5 times in the corner on the press, and there was no defender covering the Tenn player for the cross court out of trap press?

  9. MC

    #1, while I agree the starting 5 could press, the issue is the energy used to press and the lack of depth on this team compared to the 96 team. Pitino could keep rotating fresh athletic players out there. This team can’t press with Mays and Wiltjer on the court, and can’t waste the energy in doing so when they’re not. Now can they press in spurts, sure. Leaving Wiltjer back means that once you beat the press, you essentially have a layup.

  10. eddie vedder

    Most dominating game i’ve ever witnessed. I even have a crappy copy of it on DVD. Walker had 29 or 30 at the half I think.

  11. Darn them

    OMG they lost the second half ……………..

  12. Carl

    #11 They had the second string in most of the second half. I couldn’t believe Vitale getting on Delk for chilling on the bench. He has always looked for reasons to critique Kentucky teams/fans. I have yet to hear him say anything about UNCs academics or Duke’s jewelry purchases.
    That was one of the worst beatings but the 1996 team jumped out on everyone like that. The starters probably only logged about 5-10 minutes the second half of most of their games.

  13. B. Self

    11, that game had the makings of a great comeback. They just ran out of time!

  14. Ridge Runner

    Ahhh, the memories.

    12, great points in regards to Dicky V now that I think about it.

  15. Greg

    Yeah, and when the TV coverage picked up the Cats already had 22 – points because the Indiana (?) game went into extra innings or just ran crazy long.

  16. Blue

    We tried to press early in the game last night and had two or three golden opportunities for steals, but our guys *cough* Alex Poythress *cough* wouldn’t close the trap or go for the steal when Tennessee tried to make an over the top pass. If this team played defense with half the reckless abandon they do offensively, we’d probably average 25 points a game off turnovers alone.

  17. RealCatsFan

    I hate to say it, but Pitino looks like he has the press rolling pretty good again this year. The current Louisville team doesn’t have near the talent that the 96 UK squad had, but they play with a similar aggressiveness and energy on defense.

    I agree with what 8 and 16 said – when we would set up the press, we would only execute it halfway. What’s the point in trapping if you are not going to cut off the passing lanes?

  18. jcatron

    I see ya Oliver Simmons

  19. ONE EYE


  20. Sammydog

    #17 I agree with you about Pitino’s team this year. He finally has the players and depth to emulate our 96 team, tho not as talented. Watching the UCONN game, I knew what was going to happen in the second half. I had seen that movie before, multiple times during Pitino’s time at UK. UCONN comes out playing like they are going to upset the newly minted #1. Cards get down. Pitino tells them to just weather the storm. Turn the press up, get multiple steals and transition baskets in a matter of minutes. Rip their hearts out and wear out their legs. Win by 20 going away. They could steam roller the BE this year.

  21. 70miles west

    Looks like what PITINO has built 70 miles west . . . SMH . . . YES they are THAT Good! #1 team in THE NATION and proving it against Top Teams, not peeee-weeee league SEC teams…..just sayin…

  22. Big Blue 66

    21. the 96 team would probably only beat this years UL team by 12 or 14 points……of course they are getting up their in age and havent played competitively together in 16 17 years lol….that UK 96 team at their prime would beat this years UL team by 40.

  23. Rae

    21. Not THAT good. No team has been that good since. One great team for UL and it is all of a sudden legendary. You all are great, but you aren’t untouchable. Several BIG 10 teams and Duke are on your level. I would also give Butler great odds against you.

  24. NotSatire

    Thanks for that Drew.

  25. thedunk

    I hate to say this……..but i HEART Pitinos coaching style…..i loved watching the up and down high intensity basketball. Run and Gun baby!

  26. Sammydog

    No reason to hate to say it. Been a UK fan for 50 yrs and I have to say the 8yrs Coach P was here were the golden years of KY basketball for me. Loved the style. We were never out of a game no matter how far down we were. After the 1st year or 2 we beat everybody by 25 or 30. I have loved every minute, exception for this year, that Cal has been here too. It remains to be seen if he will surpass the Pitino years. Pitino had been in a funk at UL until last year and gotten away from his style. I think Cal and the public humiliation of the Sypher ordeal lit a fire. He has his mojo back. They have as good a chance to win NC as anybody. However, college basketball is down this year giving a lot of teams a chance. Wouldn’t surprise to me to see a totally unexpected NC this year.

  27. Kevin

    There’s only one team that could’ve gave the ’96 Kentucky Wildcats a run for their money every night. And that’s the ’90-91 UNLV team! But then u have to consider depth, and that’s where the ’96 team would’ve prevailed! Nationally, that team never gets its due credit because it’s The Kentucky Wildcat’s, but that was, whether I’m biased or not, the greatest college basketball team, from top to bottom and everywhere in between, that’s ever laced up sneakers! CASE CLOSED!!!!

  28. fish on

    to all the younger guys out there that thought last years team could beat the ’96 team… NO CHANCE!! 9, NINE, future nba guys on that team… if you’re too young to remember why some of us still love coach pitino, here’s why!!!!

  29. RhodesAsSelfishAsArchie

    So glad Roderick Rhodes left the team. Walker was a beast.

  30. catfanatic

    Cal should show this film to the team, maybe they can learn something

  31. JROCK1966

    Oliver Simmons…that’s a name I have not heard in forever…didn’t he transfer or something?