Throughout March Sadness, KSR will be bringing you highlights of Kentucky’s NCAA Tournament games over the past 30 years. Today, we will relive the Thursday Sweet 16 games.
1992: No. 2 Kentucky 87, No. 3 UMass 77
Thursday, March 26, 1992
Rick Pitino and the Unforgettables beat John Calipari’s UMass Minutemen in the Sweet 16 to set up the greatest college basketball game of all time. The Cats jumped out to a 21-point lead early on, but UMass stormed back to cut that lead to two with less than six minutes left. From there, John Calipari drew a technical from a ref all the way across the floor (you can see it below at the 1:21:45 mark), which prompted an 11-2 run by Kentucky to put the game out of reach. Jamal Mashburn finished with 30 points and John Pelphrey 18.
1993: No. 1 Kentucky 103, No. 5 Wake Forest 69
Thursday, March 25, 1993
The Cats stormed out to a 20-4 lead in the opening minutes, prompting CBS to switch to a different game, per Dr. J’s UK Newsletter. Kentucky led 60-26 at halftime. After scoring 23 points, Jamal Mashburn rested the final ten minutes. Travis Ford had a game-high 26 points off 10-11 field goals.
1995: No. 1 Kentucky 97 No. 5 Arizona State 73
Thursday, March 23, 1995
Tony Delk led the Cats past the Sun Devils with 26 points off 11-18 from the floor, followed by Rodrick Rhodes with 16 and Andre Riddick with 15. Kentucky had 27 assists and 12 steals to only ten turnovers.
“We played a great game tonight,” Pitino said, via The New York Times. “We had tremendous respect for them because on film they were scary in transition. That respect made us play better. I don’t know who to single out. Everyone played great.”
1996: No. 1 Kentucky 101, No. 4 Utah 70
Thursday, March 21, 1996
Man, Kentucky sure has played Utah a lot in the tournament, haven’t they? The Untouchables cruised to another easy win, beating Utah by 31 points to advance to play Wake Forest in the Elite Eight. Just over 10 minutes into the game, the score was 40-19. This win was Kentucky’s 1,647th, tying them with North Carolina for the most in NCAA history. Four players finished in double figures: Antoine Walker (19), Derek Anderson (18), Tony Delk (14) and Anthony Epps (14).
“We played hard,” Utah Coach Rick Majerus said. “Kentucky is just the likes of which we have never seen before.”
1997: No. 1 Kentucky 83, No. 4 Saint Joseph’s 68
Thursday, March 20, 1997
Ron Mercer and Cameron Mills had 19 points each in Kentucky’s 15-point win over the St. Joseph’s Hawks. The Cats were without Allen Edwards, who suffered a stress fracture in his ankle, and there was another injury scare when Scott Padgett went down and looked to be in considerable pain. Thankfully, it was just a minor sprain.
2001: No. 6 USC 80, No. 2 Kentucky 76
Thursday, March 22, 2001
Keith Bogans and Jason Parker combined for 55 points to try to bring Kentucky back from a 43-24 halftime deficit, but it wasn’t meant to be. Behind David Bluthenthal’s 27 points, including several clutch threes and free throws, Southern Cal pulled off the upset to advance to play Duke in the Elite Eight.
Remember, we have a no-highlights-of-losses policy here, but you can find the footage if you want to torture yourself.
2003: No. 1 Kentucky 63, No. 5 Wisconsin 57
Thursday, March 27, 2003
Keith Bogans went down with a high ankle sprain three minutes into the game, but Kentucky was able to hang on for the win thanks to 28 points and six rebounds from Marquis Estill. He was the only Cat to score in double figures.
2010: No. 1 Kentucky 62, No. 12 Cornell 45
Thursday, March 25, 2010
This ain’t no spelling bee! With almost the entire nation rooting for Cornell to pull off the upset, Kentucky bullied its way to a 17-point win in the Carrier Dome. The Big Red jumped out to a 10-2 lead, but the Cats clawed back with stingy defense and an impressive performance by the frontcourt. DeMarcus Cousins led the way with 16 points and 7 rebounds, followed by Eric Bledsoe with 12. Patrick Patterson came up just shy of a double double with nine points and 12 rebounds.
2015: No. 1 Kentucky 78, No. 5 West Virginia 39
Thursday, March 26, 2015
I have a lot of favorite games from the 2015 season, but this one might be at the top. After West Virginia’s players talked trash and Daxter Miles predicted the Mountaineers would end Kentucky’s undefeated run, the Cats doubled the score in one of many impressive performances by this squad. It was 44-18 at halftime. Five Cats scored in double figures, led by Trey Lyles with 14; Andrew Harrison with 13; and Aaron Harrison, Devin Booker, and Dakari Johnson all with 12.
“They’re terrific defensively,” Bob Huggins said. “That’s the best defensive team I think that I’ve ever coached against. And when they’re making shots, and they made shots today, when they make shots, there’s nobody going to beat them when they make shots like that.”
Extended Highlights because it was that good:
2018: No. 9 Kansas State 61, No. 5 Kentucky 58
Thursday, March 22, 2018
This game will be remembered for PJ Washington’s 8-20 mark from the free-throw line, but the Cats wouldn’t have had a chance without PJ’s 18 points and 15 rebounds. Kentucky shot a dismal 38% from the field, 25% from three, and turned the ball over 15 times. With the bracket opening up like never before, this one still stings.
Meet you here tomorrow, same time, same place, to relive Kentucky’s Friday Sweet 16 games.