John Calipari and Rick Pitino are 12-12 in head-to-head meetings over their basketball coaching careers. Tomorrow’s game in Rupp Arena is the tiebreaker, the rubber match, and we all know how much Rick hates rubbers.
One man will emerge victorious to claim the lead in the series, with hopes of never looking back. Will that man be Calipari, who has won four of their last five meetings since moving to Lexington? Or will it be Rick, who won four of their first five meetings while coaching in Lexington?
Here’s a look at how things have gone since the Calipari/Pitino showdown became the Commonwealth’s rivalry in 2010, Cal’s first season at Kentucky.
(3) Kentucky 71, Louisville 62
January 2, 2010
With three technical fouls handed out in the opening minute and two more later in the game, the January 2010 battle may be the most vicious in the series’ history — and that’s saying something. Officials threw out warnings just seconds into the game after Eric Bledsoe and Reginald Delk exchanged words after a foul. Moments later, DeMarcus Cousins hit Jared Swopshire with the forearm heard ’round the Bluegrass.
The forearm wasn’t the only blow DeMarcus delivered to the Cards that day, he also had a game-high 18 points and 18 rebounds in Kentucky’s 71-62 win. Patrick Patterson and John Wall added 17 points apiece.
(11) Kentucky 78, (22) Louisville 63
December 31, 2010
KFC Yum! Center
Now known as Josh Harrellson’s coming out party, the second meeting in the modern day Calipari-Pitino rivlary was an unexpected rout in favor of the Wildcats. Jorts scored 23 points on 10-of-12 shooting and grabbed 14 rebounds in UK’s first appearance in the KFC Yum! Center, a game many Kentucky fans expected to lose. With a game-high 25 points from Brandon Knight, the Cats rolled to a 15-point victory.
(3) Kentucky 69, (4) Louisville 62
December 31, 2011
The first of two meetings in the 2011-12 season, Kentucky won a foul-happy game in Rupp Arena, powered by an enormous outing by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. MKG scored 24 points and grabbed 19 rebounds, ahead of Anthony Davis’ 18 and 10 double-double, as UK out-rebounded Louisville by 20 and won the game by seven. It would’ve been a double-digit victory if not for Russ Smith’s meaningless hot hand in the final minute.
Jay Z was in the building, too.
(1) Kentucky 69, (17) Louisville 61
March 31, 2012
Mercedez-Benz Superdome, FINAL FOUR
It was the second coming of the “Dream Game” when Kentucky and Louisville met in the 2012 Final Four in New Orleans. And just as it did exactly three months earlier, Kentucky defeated Louisville, by an eerily similar score, 69-61.
Anthony Davis was the game’s MVP with 18 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks. He pointed down at the court as the final buzzer sounded and screamed twice, “This is my stage!”
Watch the full game below. What else do you have to do this afternoon?
(4) Louisville 80, Kentucky 77
December 29, 2012
KFC Yum! Center
Entering the game with an 0-4 record against his former team since John Calipari took over, Rick Pitino was desperate for a win in 2012 and it took home court advantage, the eventual national champion, and one of the two worst teams in John Calipari’s career to do it. Even with all of that going for him, Rick’s Louisville Cardinals still only managed to win by three points after leading by as many as 17 during the second half.
(18) Kentucky __ , (6) Louisville ___
December 28, 2013