Beginning in January, we will launch a new site called KSRU, that will feature college students writing features about UK sports, with an emphasis on some of the secondary sports at the school. Over the course of the rest of December, a few of these students will each be writing posts in this space at 9 am to get accustomed to the process. Therefore you will see a variety of names here in the coming days. We hope you enjoy their work and remember, be nice.
In the middle of this long week as we all await a redemption game from the Wildcats…
I wanted to offer a gleaming bit of hope for you all to read this lovely hump day morning.
Kentucky has won 7 National Championships (Duh), but something you may not know is that in each of these seven national championship winning seasons sits a key loss that helped the Wildcats learn a little something …
12/20/1947 – The Wildcats lose at Temple in a very close game. 59-60
12/30/1948 – The Sugar Bowl Championship in New Orleans. Kentucky loses to St. Louis by a heartbreaking 2 points
12/29/1950 We meet St. Louis in the Sugar Bowl again. We want revenge but we fall to them 42-43 in Overtime.
12/9/57 Kentucky at Maryland. We lose by a shocking number. 62-71.
1/23/78 Kentucky at Alabama. 62-78.
11/28/95 Kentucky loses to Massachusetts at the Great Eight tournament 82-92
12/27/97 I’m sure a lot of you remember this game …Louisville beats Kentucky. AT RUPP ARENA. 76- 79
All of these games were early upsets, most of them road games, and Kentucky was ranked #1 during most of these losses.
This is, of course, one of the youngest teams Kentucky has ever had. Our starting five is a group of teenagers and sometimes fans overlook that fact. Teague had a horrible first half, but he came back in the second half and helped to save us from a blow-out. It’s promising that he learned from what he did wrong.
Look at Connecticut vs Pittsburgh last season in late December. Jim Calhoun didn’t even want to play this game so early in the season. Pittsburgh was an excellent team and a hostile environment to play in. This was the Huskies first road game and Pittsburgh had a lot more experience than the Huskies did. If you take a game like this, or a game like UK vs IU and learn something from it, it gives you experience and helps you play better as a team from then on.
On January 9, 2010 Duke was defeated by Georgia Tech on the road. Duke went on a couple runs but they got out rebounded and weren’t shooting well, Kyle Singler was 2 for 13 from the field. Georgia Tech really wanted to win and stormed the court when they did. Duke carried those lessons and the fuel from that loss and won The National Championship.
When you continue to win games, you can become complacent and even lose a certain edge, a hunger for winning. This game restored that hunger for the team and for the fans. This is a game Kentucky will look back on for the rest of the season and never want to feel that way again.
Would these teams have won the National Championship during these seasons without early losses? It’s possible. But no one remembers these losses, everyone remembers The National Championships and everyone will remember when we get our 8th…so enjoy the highlight of your season in December Indiana .. we’ll be enjoying ours in April … :)GO BIG BLUE!!!