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5 of the Greatest UK NCAA Tournament Moments

With Kentucky giving the NCAA tournament competition a year off before unleashing complete destruction upon the world of college basketball there is no better time than to look back at some of the best times in the modern era. Kentucky has provided some great memories over the years here are my picks for some of the best.

5. OSU gets Knighted.

When the bracket was being unveiled in 2011 I wanted to be anywhere but in the same region as Ohio State. Lucky for myself and Cat fans that was exactly where Brandon Knight and company wanted to be as they went out and won one of the best tournament games I’ve ever seen. Rewatch it and relive the chills:

4. Revenge on Duke.

The worst part of the NCAA tournament every year is having to see the shot played time and again. At least we can take solace in the fact that the Cats were able to get sweet sweet revenge on Duke along the way to hanging the seventh banner. I was too young to remember the shot but I can remember watching my family cheer hard against the Blue Devils in 98 and for that this game makes the list.

3. Cal Wins His First.

Number 8 for us. Number one for Cal. The run to the title was epic (more on that later) and facing off with Kansas was a game ripe for drama. After a fourteen year bannerless streak it was nice to make the drive back to Lexington knowing that everything was right in the world. I can’t wait to see them hang the next one.

2. Ending the drought.

1978-1996. Kentucky got close a few times but could never seem to grab that elusive sixth championship but in 1996 it was destiny. There was no stopping UK as we assembled arguably the best basketball team in the history of the sport and steamrolled our way to the national championship. Expect similar results next season.

1. Beating Louisville in the Final Four.

Will there ever be a greater feeling than watching your favorite group of players beating your most hated rival in the Final Four? I didn’t think so:

The cool thing with sports is that each game and moment can mean something different for everyone who watched it. What memories do you want to relive with the Cats out of this year’s tourney?


Article written by Andrew Cassady

Follow me @ACassady_KSR

33 Comments for 5 of the Greatest UK NCAA Tournament Moments

  1. Lil c
    2:33 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    I hate that we gotta keep living in the past on this site!!!

  2. Me
    2:38 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    Any of the eight championships should come before the Louisville game. Sure it was awesome, but it did not result in a title.

  3. brain
    2:59 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    UK upsetting undefeated IU in 75 belongs on a list for adults.

  4. oldschool
    3:04 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    I think I’ll always remember that season when the Cats were loaded in October. They were bringing in the top recruiting class, had a returning McDonald’s All-American and a couple of talented transfers and pundits were nearly unanimous in their glowing praise for the Cats – most of whom put them in their top 3 in the nation.

    Alas, when these 18-year-old kids actually had to play 20-21 year-old men, they failed to excel. Fans turned on these young men, calling them names, lighting up twitter and blogs with all sorts of unkind words – while continuing to heap praise on the 50-plus year old man who put them in that situation.

    Come March, this team did manage to secure a #1 seed in the NIT, only to lose in a heartbreaking upset at mighty Robert Morris in front of record crowd of 3,200 red-clad hostile fans.

    These Cats and their flawless coach then followed up that stellar season with another top recruiting class of 17-18 year old kids and BBN celebrated while the rest of college basketball was glued to TV watching teams vying for the NCAA title that the Cats had so prized 12 months previously.

    Truly memorable.

  5. oldschool
    3:06 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    3 – you are so right – I actually watched that on YouTube last night. What a game that was. What depth that UK team had. And what a tense game that was – there were at least two near bench-emptying moments – one at the end of the game when an IU fan practically jumped on the back of a UK guy in frustration. It was Hall’s perfect revenge against Bobby Knight and truly a memorable game in UK history.

    Of course three years later – the most complete team in the last 50 years for UK took the title in 78 over Duke. What great times for UK fans.

  6. Kyle
    3:07 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    @1 the reason u play is for the moment and to remember the past why else play or care when we lose if u aren’t going to remember it

  7. cj
    3:12 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    #2 is exactly right. I assume the author is very young because beating UL in the Final 4 wouldn’t even rank in the top 10 in historic UK NCAA moments. You have titles, Duke game, the elite 8 run in 1992 and a number of others that trump it. Putting this as #1 also flies in the face of the notion that UL doesn’t mean much in the scope of things.

  8. Bubba Hotep
    3:15 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    What a joke list. Keep the kid posts on ksrcollege please.

  9. Dr. Evil
    3:25 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    Any game played by the ’96 team was awesome. Davis and Co. scratched our itch last year. I took my father to the game when we beat an undefeated IU team in 1975. We almost won it all in ’97. I am a 2-time alumni that has seen four banners hung in Rupp. NOTHING compares to the night when Goose Givens poured in 41 pts. vs. Duke in the title game in ’78. BBN really needed that one.

  10. old school
    3:27 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    I will also always remember when I first experienced that burning sensation when I pee. It was November, the wife was bringing in pumpkins leftover from Halloween, the leaves had fallen, and the frost on our trailer window made me wish I could, we’ll, um put that frost on my burning ailment. The wife and neighbors said this was in their top 3 fondest memories of me. The first was when I urinated on a flagpole in Bismarck North Dakota (or was it south dakota) and the frozen stream quickly worked its miserable magic. The 2nd was pulling a splinter out of my hand from that wooden spatula I sometimes spank myself and my pet ferret with simultaneously. Ahh good times.

    Come March, I will still be lonely, bitter old man that refuses to let go of the distant past and accept reality. I will pretend to long for the past while spending all my waking hours just waiting for a chance to spread my misery. For alas, my eloquent misery is outshined only by my utter frustration with my low T count and erectile dysfunction. Since none of you have heard me say so before, let me just tell you that When I was a child, Grant defeated Lee, the steam engine was invented, railroads were built west of the allegheny mountains, and I think I know what I’m talking about. I really think Joe b hall and Denny should coach UK from wheelchairs and the 2 handed set shot should be mandatory got our boys.

  11. the Big Dog
    3:32 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    I am not sure what the modern era is, but the 1978 win ended two decades of frustration and showed that someone other than Rupp could win a championship at Kentucky- and it was a win over Duke. Ditto on #3- Knight has said that his 1975 team was his best and they beat us by twenty in the regular season. We sent them home in a great game (we eventually lost to UCLA in Wooden’s last game).

  12. rixter
    3:39 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    # 1 is absolutely right, why don’t you show some clips from next year’s team?

  13. Dr. Evil
    3:41 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    Hey Old Dude, Old School-whatever-probably never went to school. There were fights in the stands at that IU game in 75. Students burned down the ROTC building during the years I was on campus. We knocked wimps like you off the porch of the Sigma Chi house during rush week. You need to shut up.

  14. oldschool
    3:47 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    13 – what are you talking about?

  15. Bluekzu
    3:49 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    I have to agree about last year’s Louisville game. It was really nice, but not that important, especially considering they were kind of a surprise Final Four team last year. beating Kansas was a bigger achievement. Seems like it’s on here just out of spite for their success this year.

  16. Jigger Man
    3:54 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    The author is 18 years old and became a UK fan two years ago.

  17. Dr. Evil
    3:56 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    I thought your 3:27 comment was directed at me. If it wasn’t, I apologize.

    Just a proud redneck, Kentucky-born, UK educated, country doctor.

  18. OldSchool
    4:08 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    I’m gay and voted for Obama.

  19. oldschool
    4:09 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    Ok…so what if I’m gay.

  20. brain
    4:10 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    The writer is actually the 10-year old that calls on the pregame from Tx with his written cliche comments.

  21. andrew
    4:17 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    young buck missing out on some other amazing moments that should be in the Top 5

  22. Rocket20
    4:33 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    Amen to #3. Beating Bobby Knight’s undefeated Hoosiers 92 – 90 in the regional final in Dayton tops most of these. UK fans filled the overpasses on I-75 welcoming the bus home from Ohio. Truly a major milestone game in UK history.

  23. eddie vedder
    5:09 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    There should be only one moment from the last 4 years and that’s winning the title, maybe the OSU game deserves, but come on. Don’t give beating Louisville the #1 spot, we do that all the time.

  24. LongTime
    5:10 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    My humble opinion…

    UKs Top 15 NCAA Tourney Games- Modern Era (1975 — now)
    1996 — Championship win against Syracuse
    2012 — Championship win against Kansas
    1978 — Championship win against Duke
    1998 — Championship win against Utah
    1996 — Final Four win against Massachusetts
    1975 — Regional Finals Win against Indiana
    1992 — Regional Finals Loss against Duke
    1998 — Regional Finals win against Duke
    2012 — Regional Semifinals win against Indiana
    1996 — Regional Finals win against Wake Forest
    2012 — Final Four win against Louisville
    2011 — Regional Final win against North Carolina
    2011 — Regional Semifinal win against Ohio State
    1997 — Championship loss against Arizona
    2005 — Regional Finals loss against Michigan State

  25. Rixter
    5:17 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    “young buck missing out on some other amazing moments that should be in the Top 5”

    I agree completely. There are at least a dozen such moments that should be in the Top 5

  26. Bobby Puhtreeno
    5:39 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    Is the author writing this as an audition for the new KSRkids website? What an absolute joke? At least TRY to go do some research with someone over the age of 22 before putting together this article. Sight going down, down, down, on a daily basis Matt Jones… Drew Franklin/Tyler/yourself the only one with pulses these days.

  27. quickneasycat
    6:49 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    the ohio state game literally had me in tears. My wife wanted to know what was wrong. I said absolutely nothing. I knew after that win we were making the final 4, no doubt about it.

  28. BlueCat
    9:34 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    Guys before you go hanging the youngster you might want to read the title of the post again. It doesn’t read “The five greatest moments”; it reads “5 of the greatest UK NCAA tournament moments”. All five are memorable moments and certainly could be five of the top 20 or so moments. I’m 51 and remember most of these other moments listed and would agree that most of them trump these five but I did truly enjoy each of those listed above as well.

  29. oldschool
    11:14 pm March 23, 2013 Permalink

    I think I will always remember in 2009 when Cal was first hired at UK. I went by his office and offered to pleasure him orally but he turned me down flat…he said he was married and I wasn’t his type. That really offended me and has caused me to become bitter and critical of Cal. I really have a crush on him and I have tried to hide it by coming on here and posting all these negative comments about him. Coach, why couldn’t you have just said yes? We could have been so good together…but you said “no”…Why? oh why?

  30. Dee W
    2:04 am March 24, 2013 Permalink

    The Mardi Gras Miracle – coming back from 31 points down against LSU from 1994:

  31. Dee W
    2:12 am March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Jodie Meeks setting new school record for most points scored during game, breaking Dan Issel’s long held (39 year) record – and setting new school record for most threes (breaking his own prior record) – done on Tennessee’s home floor. One of the few (and perhaps only) good times from the Gillispie Era.

  32. Joy Kiser
    12:34 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks for running this again! I need to see it!

  33. jaybruce
    1:08 pm March 24, 2013 Permalink

    … its pretty silly to put a win over louisville ahead of any of the titles. We play louisville every year… we win some, we lose some. We’ve won a bunch of those games, we’ve won 8 titles. I’d also definitely put the brandon knight and 1998 comeback over duke ahead of it. Those were memorable to me… the image of padgett jumping arms in the air after a three. While the win was nice (all final four wins are obviously) there wasn’t anything overly spectacular about the game itself. Maybe im in the minority, but A) winning titles, B) spectacular invidivual games by far trump a win over a rival we play every year.