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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: The Greatest Half of Tubby-Ball Occurred in Nashville


Image result for tubby smith keith bogans

We have talked about some of the great halves of basketball UK has played because of games against UCLA and LSU this year.  It brought up such classics as:

2014 UCLA (1st half)
1996 at LSU (1st half)
1994 at LSU (2nd half)

But those halves above, generally considered the 3 best halves of basketball UK has played in the shot clock era, only take into account Pitino and Calipari teams.  Those teams, and the styles of play those coaches believe in, led to some seriously beautiful basketball when things click just right.  Tubby Smith never had the reputation of coaching beautiful basketball.  But as we head into this weekend’s game at Vanderbilt, I always think back to what I think was the best half of basketball a Tubby coached team played at UK.  In 2003, UK had come off 3 years of very mediocre play, just 2 Sweet 16’s and a 2nd round exit.  And the 2013 team was not exactly knocking it out of the park coming into the contest with Vandy.  Just 16th in the polls, 11-3 overall, and with an offense that had sputtered far too often for fans liking.  Tubby’s seat had actually started to warm a little bit.

Then the first half at Vandy didn’t help much: Vandy 36, Kentucky 28.

The Cats were completely flat and the ‘Dores were doing what they wanted on the offensive end.  I don’t know what was said in that locker room and what truly changed, but the 2nd half of that game spearheaded one of the great runs in UK history.  The Cats would win 21 consecutive games, most in dominating fashion, and barring a Keith Bogans ankle sprain likely enter that year’s Final Four as favorites to win it all.

That half at Vandy was truly a sight to behold.  Tubby Smith never played the most exciting brand of basketball but when Tubby-ball was cooking, the domination was just as evident.  UK won that half 46-16.  Watch it at the link below:

https://youtu.be/Kd5wnJZe1XE?t=29m8s

Article written by Bryan the Intern

7 responses to “BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: The Greatest Half of Tubby-Ball Occurred in Nashville”

  1. az1006

    It certainly was a dominating performance, and a sight to behold. I’d also put the second half against UofL in December 2004 up there, as far as great halves during the Tubby era are concerned.

  2. Breeze13

    Loved that team! If Bogans doesn’t roll his ankle and Dwayne Wade doesn’t play out of his mind in the Elite 8, that team would have won the title that year.

  3. BlueGrass

    I will always remember that half of basketball, just the sheer shock I was in watching it. It was just bizarre how THAT team, at THAT time, after not looking very good could just turn it on and never look back.

    We entered the game with a slightly above average team and by the end of the game we were the favorites to win the title. Insane what that half of basketball did for the perception of the fan base.

  4. lexslamman

    At times, I actually do miss Tubby ball – with the right athletes, it was beautiful to behold.

  5. jonthes

    Tubby had the greatest win in UK history – over Duke’s best team – and the greatest title in UK history, totally unexpected (ranked eighth and thought of lower). He ran the program without scandal, Rondo wrecked his last two years. Had the overall 1 seed in the tournament twice. Like Cal, Pitino and other great coaches he was too conservative, played the odds when at moments you need to throw the dice (Keith sit, Azubuke you’re a star tonight). That’s why he and Cal and Pitino only had one title here. He also made great community contributions here and I’m glad Cal has been similar in that regard.

  6. EdC

    No thanks. I’ll take the 2nd half against Duke for the upset win in the tournament.

    The idea that Rondo wrecked his last two years is an odd angle to me. My angle is that he had the most dynamic point guard in college basketball and relegated him to dribbling around outside the 3 point line instead of letting him break down defenses.

  7. east-ky-boy

    For the sake of it. Had bogans not got hurt and let’s say we won the title that year. With all “tubby players”. How different would his legacy be at Kentucky? I love tubby. He’s a class act. Just wondering what y’all think