In 81 years of basketball competition, the University of Kentucky has completely dominated the series with conference foe Louisiana State University, 83-24. Since John Calipari took over in Lexington in 2009-10, the Wildcats have posted a perfect 5-0 record versus the Tigers, though this time around might prove more challenging than any of the other Kentucky-LSU matchups of the Coach Cal era.
The LSU Tigers, led by in part by 2011 Kentucky Mr. Basketball Anthony Hickey, enter today’s game with a record of 12-6 (.667), 3-3 (.500) SEC, good for the school’s best record heading into a Kentucky game since 2008-09. To go back even further, when you look at Kentucky-LSU matchups played only in Baton Rouge, LSU hasn’t posted this good of a record heading into a home game with Kentucky since the 2005-06 season.
In 2008-09, the No. 18 Tigers visited Rupp Arena with a 24-4 (.857), 12-1 (.923) SEC record on the line. Despite a 28-point, 9-rebound performance from sophomore Patrick Patterson, the Billy Gillispie-coached, unranked Wildcats lost to LSU by a score of 70-73. In 2005-06, Tubby Smith’s unranked Kentucky squad traveled to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center to face a talented No. 24 LSU team that would eventually go on to make the school’s fourth Final Four. The Tigers, who entered the contest with a 19-7 (.731), 11-2 (.846) SEC record, defeated the ‘Cats 71-67.
It is important to note that in both aforementioned games, LSU was nationally ranked, while Kentucky was not. Today, of course, that is not the case. It is also worth knowing that while LSU’s current record is better than any record the team has posted going into a Kentucky game for awhile, their W column is significantly lesser than those of the two teams that defeated Kentucky’s last two head coaches 5 and 8 years ago, respectively.
Is it 9:00 EST yet? Go ‘Cats.