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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Surprised at Limited Rivalry with UCLA?

Sorry to the fans at UNC, Duke, and Kansas, but the facts are simply that Kentucky and UCLA have the strongest arguments as to who is the best college basketball program in history.  But despite that fact, the head to head rivalry between the 2 schools has been very limited.  A total of 10 matchups in history.  And 5 of those occurred in either the NCAA Tournament or regular season tournament, meaning the 2 schools didn’t actually schedule one another.  The schools have played in consecutive seasons just once, in the 1997-98 and 98-99 years.  Now this will change starting next year, as the 2 teams have signed a home and home series, but overall it’s surprising that the 2 best programs in history haven’t played very often.

Just take a look at the other major programs and how often UK has played them:

Indiana: 56 times (51 regular season, 4 NCAA Tournament)
Louisville: 47 times (41 regular season, 6 NCAA Tournament)
North Carolina: 36 times (33 regular season, 3 NCAA Tournament)
Kansas: 28 times (25 regular season, 3 NCAA Tournament)
Michiagn State: 23 times (19 regular season, 4 NCAA Tournament)
Duke: 20 times (15 regular season, 5 NCAA Tournament)
UCLA: 10 times (8 regular season, 2 NCAA Tournament)

I don’t think any UK fans are claiming that UCLA should be scheduled as regularly as Indiana or Louisville, but only 8 regular season meetings seems quite low for 2 programs who have been near the top of college basketball for almost 60 years.  I am very happy to see the 2-year series starting next year and consider me one who hopes it continues on past that time as well.

But where do you stand?  Is UCLA a “rival” of Kentucky and would you like to see many more meetings in the future between the Bruins and Cats?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

18 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Surprised at Limited Rivalry with UCLA?



  1. jahanc2uky
    9:15 am December 15, 2014 Permalink

    We do not want UCLA as a rivalry. If this game were to become a heated rivalry, there may become an East vs West mentality among potential recruits on the west coast. Terrance Jones is a Bruin if this were a true rival.



  2. Mc12
    9:29 am December 15, 2014 Permalink

    I don’t care about Indiana. They have not been a rivalry since the 80s. When you dominate a team for over 20 years, when is it no longer considered a rivalry as opposed to a team we just played every year?



    • cracka
      9:41 am December 15, 2014 Permalink

      teams like Indiana, Louisville, Tennessee will always be rivals in my book regardless if one team always wins … rivals is just about teams and fans wanting that win a little more for bragging rights



    • Mc12
      10:50 am December 15, 2014 Permalink

      I get it from a fan perspective for bragging rights, but from a competitive perspective, it’s not a rivalry.



    • EdC
      12:22 pm December 15, 2014 Permalink

      Agreed. Indiana just is not relevant and they are trying to use UK as a way back to relevance. I’m not buying it. Just look how their fans act in November and December. They totally have an underdog mentality.



  3. Grammar King
    9:32 am December 15, 2014 Permalink

    I’m no logistics expert, but I think it may have something to do with the fact that these two teams’ campuses are over 2,000 miles away from each other.



  4. Wildcat13
    9:45 am December 15, 2014 Permalink

    No ,,, but thanks for asking.



  5. BTownUKFan
    9:49 am December 15, 2014 Permalink

    I think as we get closer to their record of national titles they will wake up and start the UK hate which is what makes a good rivalry. And we can respond with the fact that they have not been a factor this century and most of their trophies are so old they would be considered antiques….just sayin’. Start the hate for UCLA !!
    GO CATS !!



    • Grammar King
      9:58 am December 15, 2014 Permalink

      I honestly don’t see this happening. Whereas UK’s consistent success in basketball has a lot to do with a stellar fanbase that accepts nothing but success (at least intermittent), UCLA’s past success could mostly be attributed to one loyal, awesome coach who dominated for an extended period of time. I just don’t see UCLA basketball’s fanbase as some sleeping giant that we should avoid waking; it’s just not there.



    • blubo
      10:13 am December 15, 2014 Permalink

      “one loyal awesome coach”, and one car salesman who bought players for him. a series with ucla can benefit them much more than uk. i don’t see any advantage in putting the team we’re trying to overtake in nc’s, in the national spotlight. our national exposure is at an all time high, why share it with ucla.



    • 25OR624
      11:55 am December 15, 2014 Permalink

      BTownUKFan has a valid point with which I agree and that is as KENTUCKY approaches the NCAA title record, it makes this match up more interesting.



    • EdC
      12:24 pm December 15, 2014 Permalink

      Google Sam Gilbert and then get back to me on the awesome coach. The only time they have been a power is when they were funded so well that they could pull talent like Kareem from the East coast basketball hot beds.



  6. Basteballer
    11:05 am December 15, 2014 Permalink

    UCLA isn’t a legitimate power program. They had an unparalleled run but that was likely due to player payments during one time period. Otherwise they have generally been an afterthought in college basketball.

    UK will catch and pass them and they will remain stagnant.



  7. CB3UK
    11:19 am December 15, 2014 Permalink

    Who cares about UCLA? They were relevant in the 60’s, that’s about it.



  8. BiggestCatsFanInOhio
    12:01 pm December 15, 2014 Permalink

    The only thing I care about in regard to UCLA is the national title count. The fact that UK is #1 in almost every single statistical category EXCEPT the biggest one drives me nuts. I want to surpass them so badly.

    What they achieved under John Wooden (albeit with some extra benefits) was unparalleled in team sports and will never happen again. They were the dominant team from the mid 60’s to mid 70’s, both in wins and talent. In the 40 years since, they have only been to a small handful of Final Fours with one title. I think that apathy runs rampant through their fanbase and they are largely football-centric now. They would have to do a LOT of winning over several consecutive years to become a rival of anyone not named USC and Stanford.



    • CPACAT
      1:37 pm December 15, 2014 Permalink

      I have posted this before, but this forum is perfect for this little stat. UCLA averaged 8,136 for each home game in 2013-14; good for 57th place in the NCAA. That’s 8,000 people a game from a metro region of over 13 MILLION people! Metro LA is over 3 times as populated as the Commonwealth of Kentucky and we draw 23,000 per game. Anyone who calls them one of the “blue bloods” of college basketball is also likely yearning for “Love American Style” reruns to return to TV!

      http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/m_basketball_RB/Reports/attend/2014.pdf

      GO CATS!!



  9. sonnyg333
    12:42 pm December 15, 2014 Permalink

    I could care less about Indiana and as far as UL goes, after beating them the last 7 in a row I fail to see why we bother with them. UCLA would be a good home and home for UK and would open up some west coast recruiting..



  10. nadroj
    1:02 pm December 15, 2014 Permalink

    I think the home and home is a good idea. UCLA’s fan base is not gonna wake up just because they play Kentucky — there’s just too much else going on in LA for fans to care that much about college basketball.

    The only stat I care about in sports is that UCLA has more titles than Kentucky. If we can beat them a few times on the way to topping their record, that’s fine by me.