Get it? Lolcats?
Because the internet just doesn’t have enough lists on it, I bring to you the 7 matchups that made the Florida at Rupp 2009 game one the most memorable games in UK regular season basketball history.
1.) Stevenson Vs. Hodge
In what could have been the turning point in Perry Stevenson’s up and down career, he finally found a use for his long and lanky arms. Look, let’s be honest. Nobody roots for an athlete to get injured during the course of a game, whether they are a good guy or bad (I know what you’re thinking, but he doesn’t count, Christian Laettner is not an athlete.) In the same vein, no one wants to see bad sportsmanship from their own team (getting emotional,) or from their opponents (THUGS! HEADBANDS!) But if you are a fan, one thing you can always root for is an ejection, so the second Walter Hodge knowingly and unabashedly stomped on Perry Stevenson’s fragile, defenseless right bicep, there was no question that he would be thrown from the game or the refs would be thrown from the building.
2.) Calathes Vs. Porter Vs. Galloway
One of the underrated storylines of this game was point guard comparison. On the one hand, you had Nick “I have an ugly face” Calathes putting in an absolutely stellar performance with 33 points, 11 of 12 non-clutch free throws, and a number of ‘how in the hell’ shots that just about singlehandedly won the game for the Gators. On the other hand, you have Michael “you should see him in practice” Porter coming in just shy of Calathes minutes played stat with 33, and only one point off of a single double. Finally on the other other hand, there was Kevin Galloway. And boy, was there Kevin Galloway. A guy who many wanted to see get more minutes finally got his chance, and he put up 8 boards, 9 assists, and 6 points (including one monstrous dunk.)
3.) Fans Vs. Their Reputation
While no one ever questions Kentucky fans passion for the game of basketball, whether or not Rupp is a hard place to play has recently come up for debate. While the majority of the rabble has come from infighting between the disrespectful youth and the impassionate blue hairs, the belief had even begun to creep out to opposing players. Earlier that week Chandler Parsons had ranked Rupp arena third in hardest places to play on their schedule behind Florida State and Tennessee. Clearly, boy needed some learnin’. And a learnin’ he got, missing every shot he took, save for two of five free throws. And no one even guards you during your free throws. I have a feeling Chandler “could my name be any whiter” Parsons won’t be looking forward to Rupp as much this year. (Though that might have a little bit to do with this. HEADBANDS!)
4.) Patterson Vs. His Ankle
If everything went well in this game, we would be talking about Florida 2003, not 2009. So while there were points when the Rupp crowd was the loudest it may have ever been, there were times when it was so quiet you could hear Karen Syphers pants drop. Patterson sprained his ankle with about 10 minutes to go in the second half and the arena died. Literally died. We had all witnessed a team play without Patterson before, and it was certainly something we never wanted to see again. As he limped off the floor, we could only hope to see him return ASAP. That and maybe he would go step on Hodges arm back in the locker room (with his good foot, of course.)
5.) Meeks Vs. Probability
While we have yet to change our name to the University of Jodie Meeks, most of the fan base would have been totally fine if he took thirty shots a game (as long as Patrick got the other twenty five.) So while you-know-who joked that he wrote up a play for Jodie to “Dribble to the left and shoot an off-balance shot,” he clearly didn’t get that we all would have been just fine with that. “Ludicrous!” most other fans would say, but then, they didn’t know Jodie. With the game on his shoulders, a gator hand on his elbow, mere inches under his feet, and a cramp in his leg, Jodie drained one of the biggest shots in Rupps history, to put the wildcats up three with 5 seconds left on the clock.
6.) Calathes Vs. The Nipple
And here it is, the defining moment from an epic game. All the elements were there for Nick Calathes to be immortalized in Kentucky hatred, like so many before. After Jodie made improbability his bitch, Galloway had a huge brain fart, and an eighty percent free throw shooter, having the game of his life, was sent to the line. Like the rest of the games that season, winning seemed to be running away from us like Sarah Palin from Alaska (or Obama from approval ratings, for all you right wingers.) Calathes was going to sink them, and we were going to overtime. Fortunately for Kevin Galloway, The Nipple was not going to let that happen. Not today. In perhaps the biggest unifying effort the big blue nation has committed to outside of winning internet polls, The Nipple championed a roar so loud that even some of the blue hairs woke up. And then a few of them even joined in. We can’t say that The Nipple definitively made him miss, but hey, we can’t say it didn’t, either.
7.) Billy vs Billy (vs Jeanine)
As quoted by Pat Forde in an article about this game, some fans were not so secretly pining for the classier Billy. “I would love to have Billy D instead of Billy G,” said the probably-made-up-by-Forde anonymous fan. Patty’s journalistic ethics aside, many of the Big Blue Nation were, in fact, beginning to turn against you-know-who. Even after winning a close game against a hated rival, the questions as to which Billy would you rather have didn’t seem to stop. In part because ESPN, once again, did all they could to make UK fans lives miserable and assigned one Jeanine “can anyone decide if I’m cute or not” Edwards to be the sideline reporter. In part because, frankly, our Billy was a douche. In what became one of the final nails in the coffin, Gillispie claimed that Jeanine knew ‘more about (Calathes) than I do,’ and you know, maybe that was the problem.
Beisner’s Take: Two snaps and a circle. I thought this was an incredibly thorough breakdown of what actually happened on the floor and you leveraged your basketball stuff with some entertaining jokes. Breaking down each matchup was a very nice touch too. Loved it.
My KSR brothers and sisters, your thoughts?
UPDATE: Will had links! And, though they aren’t the kind that go deliciously great with orange juice, they’re still good. I’ve added them. My apologies to Mr. Lentz.