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Kentucky and Missouri: A new rivalry born?

Last night, we were all witnesses to plenty of important moments in Rupp Arena. We all watched as Kentucky clawed its way back into the NCAA tournament picture. We all watched as Rupp Arena displayed why, when it’s rocking, it can be one of the best atmospheres for a college basketball game in the country. We all watched as Alex Poythress seemed to wake up from a 2-month hibernation, showing that when he wants to be– he can be a dominant force in men’s college basketball. We all watched as Alex Oriakhi muscled his way through the paint, showcasing exactly why John Calipari and his staff were devastated when he didn’t pick the Cats last summer. We all watched as Julius Mays proved time and time again just how valuable his presence is for this Kentucky basketball team. We watched Missouri fight to improve a tournament resume’ which severely lacks road wins. We all witnessed that when Archie Goodwin is good, he is SO good. We were all witnesses to a young and struggling team, who continued to fight– with backs against the wall– to keep a dream alive not only for themselves but for a nation of fans who were rabid all day yesterday. And then we were witnesses to a thrilling overtime game that stood out on a day when a number of games dipped into multiple overtimes.

But we also witnessed something else, something that when Missouri joined the SEC, many of us hoped might happen. In the midst of all of the bubble talk, inspiring individual and team performances, boos in the direction of Digger Phelps, etc… Perhaps a new SEC rivalry was born last night: Kentucky and Missouri.¬†

The anticipation leading up to the first SEC match-up between the two schools was only heightened when College GameDay selected the game to be part of it’s nationwide tour. Even though some college basketball fans scoffed that yesterday’s game didn’t feature a top-25 team, enough was on the line–especially for Kentucky, to make the game an enticing one for the basketball fans across the country to keep an eye on.

Kentucky fans will always lead the pack when it comes to infiltrating SEC arenas for away games, but Missouri fans put up a strong showing in their first trip to Lexington. Although some of those fans were likely Missouri fans who happened to land in Lexington for one reason or another along the way, some of the fans made the road trip for the weekend. Compared to the other visiting SEC schools this season, Missouri fans had the biggest contingent in Rupp Arena and the Lexington area in general last night. Next season, Missouri will get the chance to show off the buzz and excitement its home arena and environment can provide. When Kentucky strolls into town for the first time, make no mistake that the Missouri faithful will flood into the building to create a tough road environment much like the Kentucky fans displayed last night.

Missouri’s entry into the SEC couldn’t have come at a better time. With the bottom half and even the middle of the conference wavering below average in the past few seasons– the opportunities for enticing match-ups and heated rivalries have been at a minimum. LSU, Mississippi State, Auburn, Georgia, Arkansas, etc. haven’t been able to create rivalries like the one Kentucky has with Florida, or even Tennessee in recent years. Ole Miss and Vandy have had their moments, but also haven’t reached the level of rivalry that a Kentucky vs. Florida game holds.

Following an overtime thriller in which both talented teams fought tooth and nail, the stage has been set for a new rivalry to be born between Kentucky and Missouri. Last night’s game likely put the rivalry in motion. We know that Kentucky will hold up its end of the deal when it brings in a blockbuster recruiting class next year. Frank Haith has done a great job of bringing talent to Missouri in his first few seasons as well. For rivalry purposes, I certainly hope that despite NCAA issues, Haith sticks around for a while. If for no other reason, so Missouri will be competitive in the SEC. Beating Vanderbilt on Wednesday night was great, but beating a team like Missouri– a team who will most likely make the NCAA tournament– was even better.

Article written by Ally Tucker

I once successfully requested "The Wobble" to be played 6 times at one wedding.

41 Comments for Kentucky and Missouri: A new rivalry born?

  1. Ridge Runner
    11:44 am February 24, 2013 Permalink

    I see your point, Ally but (for me) I will have to wait perhaps 3 o 4 years (minimum) before I can say it’s a recipe for a rivalry. This game was more about what we “had to do” and really, “any team” that came in with a decent resume like Mizzu would have had us pumped and ready to go crazy. It was more about what we have experinced andwhat we had to do than it ws any specific team. But I could be wrong.

  2. wildcatjim
    11:44 am February 24, 2013 Permalink

    anyone have a link to the postgame show podcast from last night?

  3. Rosie
    11:45 am February 24, 2013 Permalink


  4. Ridge Runner
    11:45 am February 24, 2013 Permalink

    sorry for my spelling errors ^

  5. Seriously
    11:47 am February 24, 2013 Permalink

    As a die hard kentucky fan living in St.Louis, I hope so…

  6. Smiley Pete
    11:49 am February 24, 2013 Permalink

    The fourth paragraph needs a bit of work.

  7. Ridge Runner
    11:49 am February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Also, and I hate to use a often used phrase but in this case, it is true. Again, we could start 5 non-scholly players and to any team we play regardless of our record…we are they’re superbowl. Especially when we have not played them in a long while or never before. Our legacy is playing just as much as the current players on the court.

  8. Ridge Runner
    11:56 am February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Ironically…Haith is leading Coach Cal in the Infinity Coaches Challenge. Ho to work BBN!

  9. Noel'sACL
    11:57 am February 24, 2013 Permalink

    uofl beat missouri by 23 without their best player. Yet, hillbilly after hillbilly on this site is creaming on themselves about beating this 1-7 road team in overtime. Plus, Cal purchased 4 or 5 nba draft picks for this year’s squad. He needs a refund.

  10. BlueinBardstown
    12:03 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Best game of the year and it may very well be a rivalry. Ridge, thanks for the infinity poll reminder. Heading there now.

  11. blindsded
    12:04 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    #9..go back to Loserville. You are not welcome here.

  12. BigRush
    12:07 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    UofL lost to Villanova who got crushed by bama and Cornell. UofL barely beat UK at home (if we make free throws you lose… AT HOME). Archie had 7 TOs… Gotta improve that but good win (without our best player) for the cats.

  13. Noel'sACL
    12:07 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    In case you don’t get my drift, I am an urbane Sophisticate. I look down on everyone else, because I have an inferiority complex which manifests itself in my pathetic attempts to demean others. Please give me the attention I am begging for. Please!

  14. BlueinBardstown
    12:08 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    3- sux when that happens -don’t it?

    9- jealousy kills ya -doesn’t it?

  15. Noel'sACL
    12:09 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    I could just support my team, but I find myself lonely and bored unless I come to troll here. Fulfillment of my needs in this way is pretty lame, but you have to understand…

  16. KMS35
    12:10 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    For all the people that are complaining about it being such a big deal that we beat an unranked team at home, you have to account for the way Missouri, as well as any other team that comes into Rupp, played us. It was one of their better efforts of the season. Cal didn’t lie when he said we’re everyone’s Super Bowl. Every team that comes into Rupp brings it, and we handled their best shot. It’s a big deal.

  17. Maxbps8
    12:12 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    This makes complete sense. As the only two states w/ stars on both flags during the Civil War, Ky and Mizzou have long been like brothers. Similar in central geography, West-ward expansion states (then again most were/are), country-city breadth of living, one major city (St.Lou v. Lou) and one big city (KC v. Lex) (although we have NKY to tip the scales), and many more similarities. Our states’ histories and paths have always been linked somehow. And now we have a modern-day, tangible means of our connection.

    Looking forward to many years of UK-Mizzou battles on the hardwood and grass in multiples sports!

  18. Hey
    12:15 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    First, it’s not a rivalry.

    Second, UL FANS have experienced a title in over 25 years. In that time, I’ve raised two kids and put both through college.

    Why in the hell does UL FANS think they can talk down to us is beyond me!

  19. DominateUL
    12:17 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    UK-UL rivalry… UK leads 30-15 including a crushing win in last year’s final four with the recruits Rick Pitino couldn’t get. So #9, stay bitter knowing your coach wishes he’d never left Kentucky and taken the step son job at Kentucky’s JV school… Get on your own blog site and discuss your own fans. I’ll take ‘hillbilly’ over flat bill caps any day of the week. And what classless fan of any team has a name that makes fun of a player’s injury? Worse than Duke…

  20. Mark
    12:17 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    I tend to agree with ridge. Yes, the ingredients are there for a rivalry but we have soooo many rivalries as it is, UNC, Loserville, UT to name a few. That & the fact it may come down to just how good Missu will continue to be in the future.

  21. Bulldawg
    12:27 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Nice post Ally. Mizzou will be an above average team year in and year out. It should develop into a nice rivalry as it may determine SEC title implications in the future.

  22. Catlanta
    12:32 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    8, Thx but I’m confused. You would think Missouri won last night. Haith increased his lead over Cal. Dang, isn’t UK even paying attention to this poll?

  23. Bulldawg
    12:32 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    UL fans get on here KNOWING their tradition is a pinto to a rolls in tradition. So they say, “what about recently?” Really? UL football is 2-4 against UK in the last 6 games. Bball has won 1 game out of the last 5. Really? loserville trolls should just know their role. Little step brother.

  24. MacGruber
    12:33 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    9. Was your sister still breast feeding you in 86?

  25. Catlanta
    12:35 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    24) prolly not cuz she was breast feeding everyone else.

  26. Roasted
    12:36 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    25 & BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. UK Freshmen
    12:40 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    People lets get real. UK is still rated at #50 in RPI. Missouri has won only one game this year on the road. ONE. This team had to play its best to win in overtime against an unrated team. This was nothing. Zero.

  28. Bluekzu
    12:41 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    9, just let UK fans enjoy an exciting win and concentrate on enjoying what is an atypical season for Louisville. The two championships in the 80s notwithstanding, this level of success is just not normal Louisville basketball. Relax and enjoy it while it lasts.

  29. Bluekzu
    12:43 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Last night’s game was a very encouraging type of play we haven’t seen from the team until now. It was pretty significant from a fan’s perspective.

  30. UK Freshmen
    12:49 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Pay attention to me, PLEASE. Just because I have never said anything original or positive doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be heard!

  31. The truth
    12:50 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Correct me if I’m wrong but haven’t we heard this before? Poythress wakes up from hibernation….give me a break it seems like every 5 games we are singing the same song and dance. Don’t get me wrong last night was a big improvement for the whole team based off of the last 3-4 games but this whole season has been a “what have you done for me lately” assessment of the team. Until I see the same effort from Poythress, Goodwin, Harrow over a span of 3-4 games I ain’t buying it. That being said I’m still watching every second of every game and still supporting the CATS through thick and thin. I just find it redundant how every time we win a game or play well, everyone is saying “oh boy here we go, now we’ve found our step”, then those 3 seem to crawl back into their cages. Hopefully the cage broke last night and the beasts will be unleashed. Go Big Blue

  32. timd
    1:18 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Mizzou is a great addition to the SEC basketball-wise. The conference has not consistantly been very strong other than UF & UK.

  33. rockatao
    1:31 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    i don’t give a damn who you’re playing, or when, or where, a WIN is always better than the alternative.

  34. Jackson Purchase
    1:35 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Wouldn’t call it a rivalry after one game however it has the makings to be a great rivalry.

  35. KY Realist
    1:45 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Beating a decent sec team is like being king of the [email protected]

  36. Kirbdaddy
    2:26 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Missouri will only be a rival if they can recruit well enough to be one. They won’t be very good next year without Pressey and Oriakhi.

  37. KY Realist
    2:57 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    In addition, as the fan of a team that rarely beats Kentucky in a one-sided rivalry, I’m extremely jealous of everything the Kentucky program represents and that my school will never be. Thanks for letting me do makes me feel better.

  38. DerbyDemon
    3:50 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    #9–For a team that was a pre-season #1 pick for some, I think I’d keep my mouth shut about “under performing.” But, then, as a U of L fan, you and your coach are REAL familiar with that term, aren’t you?

  39. Cousins Fake Tooth
    4:25 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    UK or KU, same letters, but Missouri is still their bitch.

  40. Mountain man
    6:32 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Just wait till Haith gets his own players. Then he will take Missouri right to the…………..bottom

  41. Sarah White
    7:41 pm February 24, 2013 Permalink

    Is it just me or does Pressey look just like a beaver?