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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: UK Bronze Medal Best Team, Final 4

On Monday, we started breaking down which team should be considered the 3rd best team in UK history.  Why the 3rd best?  Because there is a general consensus amongst most that the 1996 and 2012 squads were the 2 best teams in UK history.  Which one is first and which one is 2nd is up for debate, but that is not what this tournament is about.

I considered the 32 best candidates for the bronze medal, and then seeded and bracketed them.  For the next 3 days we will whittle them down until we have just 2 remaining.  To be considered for one of the 32 spots, my criteria were the team had to do at least 1 of these things:

-SEC Champions or SEC East Champions
-SEC Tournament Champions
-NCAA Tournament 1 or 2 seed
-Final Four Appearance

If a team couldn’t complete at least 1 of these tasks, they probably wouldn’t deserve consideration anyway.  Now, I will give you who I think would win in a fictional game between teams, BUT you have the chance to change my mind.  If a convincing enough argument is put into the comments section I will change my pick for the next round tomorrow.

Now, one last thing when considering which team you think would win a game.  It goes without saying that players in the 1950′s were slower and less athletic than players today.  So, for the sake or argument, let’s assume those older players’ skills have developed to the level of the modern player.  The 1993 UK team would probably beat every UK team before 1970 if they actually played.  I have put this exact statement in every post this week, but get comments every day making this point.  Just for this tournament, take that out of play:


Also, keep in mind when considering how these games go a couple of things:
-The 3-point shot does exist
-The Shot Clock does exist (35 second)
-Injured Players are now healthy

(35-5, NCAA Runner-Up, SEC Tourney Champs, #1 Seed, Ron Mercer, Derek Anderson)
1965-66 (27-2, NCAA Runner-Up, SEC Champs, Pat Riley, Louie Dampier)

BTI Pick: The ’66 Rupps Runts team made a surprising run through this tournament, and might have benefitted from a favorable draw.  They certainly one of UK’s best non-championship teams, but they run up against a buzz saw here.  The problem for the ’66 squad in this game would be size, duh.  They were called Runts for a reason.  6-5 being the tallest starter.  While the ’97 Cats started 6-10 Nazr Mohammed and 6-9 Jared Prickett.  Plus, Jamaal Magloire was available off the bench.  Even though the ’97 Cats strength was their guard play (Mercer, Anderson, Turner, Epps), Pitino gameplans for the post game, and it works.  It likely leads to foul trouble for Jaracz and Riley, which is rough for them because that team had no depth.

Point is, the surprise run comes to and end in the Final 4.  A bad matchup for the ’66 Cats and Rupp’s last Final Four team goes down quietly.  Mohammed scores 21 and Riley is held under 20 as the ’97 team pulls away late. predicts fantasy games and it calls this an 82-65 win for the 1997 Cats, and I agree.

1977-78 (30-2, NCAA Champs, SEC Champs, Jack Givens, Rick Robey)
1992-93 (30-4, Final Four, SEC Tourney Champs, #1 Seed, Jamal Mashburn, Travis Ford)

BTI Pick: The best matchup of the tournament, in my opinion.  Mashburn v. Givens.  Ford v. Macy.  Robey v. Rhodes.  This game would be an incredibly tight one, likely decided in the last minute.  But the deciding factor turns out to be scoring depth.  People sometimes forget, but only 2 players on the ’93 team averaged more the 10ppg.  While 5 different players did that for the ’78 team without a shot clock.  More options on the offensive end, plus just a freshman Tony Delk and Rod Rhodes means the depth and experience help the ’78 team pull out the win. 

I say a late Macy jumper, plus some Givens free throws see the ’78 team win this one 83-81.

OK, those are my picks.  You can use the comments section to disagree and try and convince me otherwise.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

17 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: UK Bronze Medal Best Team, Final 4

  1. Mayor In Black Skintight
    9:14 am June 27, 2013 Permalink

    Hats off to Sturdy Dan. We arm wrestled best of three, he got me two to one. Would like a rematch during the 2014 tour. Congrats.

  2. Bluemister
    9:19 am June 27, 2013 Permalink

    Now BTI sucks more!

  3. Cal
    9:38 am June 27, 2013 Permalink

    3rd best team you eliminated long ago…


    Possibly the best starting 5 ever at UK making them the 3rd best UK team.

  4. BiloxiGuy22
    9:42 am June 27, 2013 Permalink

    Ok, the 1966 team had two guys 6’8, one guy 6’5, and everyone else was 6’4 or below. 1996 team was more athletic, stronger, and only for guys under 6’4 and two of those were Anthony Epps and Wayne Turner. Yet they only squeeze a 17 point win. BOGUS!!!

  5. Y**
    9:51 am June 27, 2013 Permalink

    IMHO BTI is a top 3 writer for this site

  6. No Contest
    10:03 am June 27, 2013 Permalink

    The ’78 team would challenge for Number 1 UK team of all time.

  7. bung
    10:09 am June 27, 2013 Permalink

    so now all of Rupp’s teams are out (4 National champs, 1 undefeated Helms Nat’l Champ, 2 Nat’l runner ups…because you claim they are slow and not athletic, yet you say to consider them as having modern skills …and this is for 3rd best?…you young boys are funny…

  8. Modern teams
    10:17 am June 27, 2013 Permalink

    Passing the basketball is overrated.

  9. lonnieb
    10:30 am June 27, 2013 Permalink

    I know everyone on here is joking…but the older teams would not beat the new good teams. Same as in football. the 70 whatever steelers would not beat the current pats or whoever. It just is not gonna happen. Players are much bigger now in all sports…and faster and more athletic…that is the exact recipe as to why no other conference can beat SEC right now….bigger stronger faster always wins

  10. tom5673
    11:31 am June 27, 2013 Permalink

    interesting…only one of the teams left actually won the ncaa tournament. another reason why i believe there should be one large banner hanging in rupp that lists our AP #1 teams. some of our best teams didn’t make a final four and therefore, get lost in the shuffle. (e.g. – ’52, ’54, ’70, ’03)

  11. tom5673
    11:33 am June 27, 2013 Permalink

    complete list of AP #1 teams: ’49, ’51, ’52, ’54, ’66, ’70, ’78, ’03, ’12
    i believe that is either tied or the most with duke and ucla a close second with 8. that needs to be recognized and honored.

  12. bluristhurr
    11:45 am June 27, 2013 Permalink

    #9 You said before I could.

  13. Bunny
    2:15 pm June 27, 2013 Permalink

    Not bad analysis for a lowly intern…

  14. nickinnyc
    3:22 pm June 27, 2013 Permalink

    Nice work BTI. Get off this guys back. HE actually posts interesting articles.

  15. JimBobCooter
    4:33 pm June 27, 2013 Permalink

    I know these arbitrary comparisons get hits and that’s really all you’re after… but how do you compare these teams without taking in account their competition at the time? Rupp’s Runts were shorter, but wasn’t the entire college average height then?

    Do you take in account advances in equipment, training, 3pt line, games played, etc? Are you adjusting how each team would fare in the same conditions (like adjusting for inflation) or does each team just magically appear out of a time portal and compete head to head at Rupp?

    How about coaches? Would a slow but defensive Tubbyball be the Achilles Heel of a usually fast-paced team?

    I think this is a great idea, but like the retired jersey debate, I think you just need some more variables to consider.

  16. JimBobCooter
    4:40 pm June 27, 2013 Permalink

    Oops, I should’ve read your prologue more closely.

    I still don’t think you took these enough into account, but whatever.

  17. jackiemoon
    4:43 pm June 27, 2013 Permalink

    the 78′ team is the second best behind the 96′. its not even close.