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UK-UNC delivered great moments in Rupp from beginning to end


With the annual series between Kentucky and North Carolina apparently approaching a hiatus at the very least, it makes one get a little bit reflective on things. This was the 12th consecutive season of the home-and-home series that saw dozens of future NBA players, five different head coaches and a host of close finishes over the years. The games at Rupp were always the best, as the last five games in Lexington ended with an average final margin of around four points. (The Cats were 3-2 in those games.)  It was fitting, then, that this final version went all the way to the wire, with the last moments in Rupp creating an indelible image just like the first ones the Cats’ home floor hosted did almost ten years ago.

Of course, I’m talking about the unforgettable opening minutes of UK-UNC 2001, when Tayshaun Prince welcomed the Heels to Rupp Arena for the first time ever by canning five straight three-pointers to start the game, putting the place in a frenzy that was seldom, if at all, repeated before yesterday. When big-time programs get together, the games should have a big time feel. Tayshaun made sure people wouldn’t even have to wait for the first TV timeout before they knew that UK-UNC was big time. While that game wasn’t a classic in the same way that this year’s was (and neither was the first meeting, a 17-point win for UK at Chapel Hill in 2000), it set the tone that the Carolina game was one to be eagerly anticipated every year.

And so the series between college basketball powerhouses continued to deliver right down to the very end. Along the way we saw moments like Gerald Fitch’s fadeaway three in ’04 and the John Wall show two years ago, among others. Then, when Anthony Davis carved out the final, lasting image of the annual showdown it was an appropriately unforgettable end to a series that was unique in the landscape of college basketball. Historically powerful programs that aren’t linked by geography or conference rarely get together to play at all, and almost never in a home-and-home, so the fact that this series continued for as long as it did made it special beyond just being a big game for both teams. I understand the reasons that it may need to end, but from a fan’s perspective it will really only serve to leave a hole in the schedule where a huge game used to be. It’ll be missed.

A decade ago, the Heels were greeted in Rupp by a lanky, long-armed three-point barrage that no one will forget, and left it for the last time after an even lankier, longer-armed block that no one will ever forget. If the series really has to end, and it looks that way, it made sure that the games in Lexington delivered some of the most memorable moments that any of us have seen. Hopefully we’ll get some more down the road.

Article written by Hunter Campbell

I used to write here.

35 Comments for UK-UNC delivered great moments in Rupp from beginning to end

  1. DisplacedUKFan
    6:13 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    Can we get an article with some facts dug up about the state and future of our rivalry games please? Very interested in more details of why these games might be dropped and even the math involved/cap on total games/etc. I read this daily and feel like I’m missing something bc it is not obvious to me why this game has already seemed to be dropped in UK fan’s minds. Thanks!

  2. kycat
    6:14 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    we don’t need to get rid of this series.. even adding 2 games to the sec schedule won’t increase the difficulty that much.. we will always make the tournament depending on how we do in january and february, and we always will. we already play 6 or 7 teams like lamar etc, just keep the game. i can understand why we need to schedule smartly in football because we aren’t good frankly, but in bball we can play several of these games and be fine.

  3. Dustin
    6:19 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    Can the Cats go undefeated? Who is their biggest threats to beat them and why. Follow the link for my write up on this whole situation. Go Big Blue

  4. archstanton
    6:20 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    lol…if you look at the bottom picture, for a split second it looks like the lady in the crowd is wearing some sort of tiara or something…

  5. Dustin
    6:21 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    For those wondering the site is Cordell’s Wildcat News, and the site address is

  6. Axe Cop
    6:31 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    It must be something like Taliban rule in the lower level. All grown men are required to wear mustaches.

  7. icecat
    6:40 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    Keep UNC, UL, and IU. Sign Xavier to a 4 year deal to play in Freedom Hall, SEC-Big East challange Game and the Champions Classic, play each SEC team once a season, we don’t have divisions anymore, so thats 13 games plus the other 6 I mentioned, then you still have 8 games left to meet the NCAA mark of 27 games. Plenty of games to line up some scrubs. IU is on the way back and a border rival, cant drop the Ville, and UNC should be our top National rival. Xavier would be a great draw at Freedom Hall, their fans would travel the 100 miles or so from Cincy. The fans deserve to see UK play a good team at FH.

  8. Onions
    6:52 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    This is silly, we can play 4 tough OOC games and be fine. Who cares if we have an extra win against weak teams. It’s not like we are a bubble tourney team under Cal. This is pretty ridiculous, I think we play too many weak games now. We’ve had ONE game in single digits after 8.

  9. alex
    7:05 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

  10. Mocha
    7:16 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    Question: where is best place to get a uk wall calendar? Not the box calendar season never ends but full hanging wall calendar. Thanks for any helpful comments. I live in San Diego so need to order online.

  11. 101blue
    7:21 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    UK is trying to even out the really good games at Rupp.

    This year we have UNC, UL, & St. John’s at home, with IU on the road.

    Next year only IU will be at home unless we schedule another top team.

    Delaying the UNC series for one year will solve this problem.

  12. Jaybruce
    7:24 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    ^^ or they could simply renew the home/home series with UNC and simply switch the order in which teams have home games. I still fail to see why this isn’t an option if the only reason its truly being cancelled is due to the fact that we want to even our home/away schedule. As long as an even number of games is played, both teams still get the same amount of home dates over the deal… But then again, what do I know.

  13. Boogie
    7:28 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    It’s not about keeping easy wins. They have to make a certain amount of revenue off of home games. Next year they add 2 more conference games so they have to give up something. If they give up a cupcake (home game) to keep UNC,UL, or IU then they lose $750,000 for not having that home game. And they can’t do that, therefore that’s why the issue is up for debate.

  14. Nassau65
    7:33 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    Very well done Hunter! you should be gett’n paid for this stuff.

  15. katmandue2you
    7:34 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    I dont buy this idea that we have to drop one of these rival games at all. I called Pitino on his show to dicusse this issue when he was dropping Kansas and i will take issue with Cal now. Actually, for a program of our stature if anything, these games better prepare you for the tournament than these 40 point wins against the “sisters of the poor”. FYI…at the time i made my case and Pitino came with his patented arrogence. I said “i thought you New Yorkers like a good debate”. His response “no i like being right”. Pitino wasn’t right then and Cal isnt right now. And the reason they are not wrong is for the simple fact that Cal keeps going on about. WE are different…we are Kentucky….call it the Kentucky Effect. Keep the freaking rivals. Kentucky plays anybody anywhere anytime….especially their rivals.

  16. Craig
    7:35 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    Well… I was on the fence, and now I’m officially opposed to all this conference expansion crap.

  17. katmandue2you
    7:36 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    are* wrong (correction)

  18. Nassau65
    7:37 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    1. Linky no worky to see tipturd. I mean it works, but it ain’t him.
    Please post again-i’ve been looking for someone to post it.

  19. UKChill Fan
    7:49 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    If you guys want to see Ole Roy call Tipturd out, go to the and watch the UNC coach’s post game interview.

  20. kykiller
    7:54 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    Does anyone remember who Matt said to google to download UK games off the web? It was BIGBLUE—something I cannot remember for the life of me! I have googled all day searching and cannot find TURD! HELP

  21. Nassau65
    8:02 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    why cant i see the comments now?

  22. Nassau65
    8:09 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    20. thanks! here’s the link in case any one else wants to watch

  23. Kittyfan
    8:17 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    The UK-UNC series is great for our team, the fans, and all of college basketball! If we need to even out home games, then assure us we will pick up UNC the following year.

  24. Fresh Prince of Adair
    8:23 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    i dont want to drop the unc series….i’d rather drop indiana or even louisville before carolina. i wish we could keep all 3 but wouldnt it be a haymaker to louisville if we just treated them like they were insignificant and we quit playing them?

  25. gcat4496
    8:30 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    I DVRed the UNC game just watched again. Gilcrest really dominated Barnes in 2nd half. His D bothered Barnes and offense he left him in his shoes on several moves. Terrence kept us in it in the first half, and Gilcrest and Lamb kept us going in the 2nd half.

  26. BigBlueSkyDog
    8:34 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    25) Ditto. If we could keep only one non-conference rival, I’d want it to be North Carolina. The last four games have been the best of an already great series since the rivalry was renewed. It would be a shame to drop it. UNC, Duke, and Kansas are the only other programs which belong in the rarified air where Kentucky resides. Louisville is at least one notch below and Indiana (post-Knight) even further below.

  27. BigBlueSkyDog
    8:45 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    23) I’m a dadgum Roy Williams fan after seeing that video. Nice that he called out Tipton in front of everybody.

  28. Jim
    9:00 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    Anyone know where to watch the game on replay online? I had to travel yesterday and missed it. Hate that 12:00 tip time.

  29. Skip
    9:02 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    It’s now about how easy/difficult the schedule is, it’s all about the money. With two more SEC games UK loses revenue for one home game. With North Carolina, Louisville, Indiana, Champions Classic, and SEC/Big East challenge, there would be seasons where UK would lose a ton of money by not playing in Rupp Arena.

  30. Mitch Knows Best
    9:36 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    What’s up with that lady’s head? It appears she’s some kind of mutant!!!!

  31. Gbrew
    10:04 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    It’s the CBS logo on her head

  32. KD
    10:54 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    Thanks Hunter for reminding us of Tayshaun’s torching of the heels. With that in mind I’m disappointed he was not the “Y”
    on Saturday….with all due respect to Boogie. Seems like the TV revenue from a national audience watching a UK – UNC game would trump the amount of drippings from a home game against the Mary U. Sacrificial Lambs. Some of those cupcake bake-offs don’t actually sell- out , especially during semester break, though I know we do a great service to those schools and their fledgling athletics departments.

  33. david ball
    11:42 pm December 4, 2011 Permalink

    I know I voted for UNC originally to be excised from the schedule..but I want to take it back and change to Indiana…what was I thinking…anything related to Bobby Knight in any fashion should be extracted from memory and…these games are just too well played to dismiss…do away with one of the cupcakes for each side (really, how many times can you defeat a Drexel, Marist, Hartford, Illinois Southern, Presbyterian team…I guess always unless you are Billie Clyde)…keep UNC and Louisville…and visit IU on your way to Chicago

  34. kycager
    12:01 am December 5, 2011 Permalink

    randy kemper = world wide Wes.
    sotheby’s if you don’t know ask somebody