The Kentucky-Louisville rivalry has given us many fond memories over the years. You can go back decades to when Rex Chapman dropped 26 on the Birds in Freedom Hall, or to the 90s when Derek Anderson ended Nate Johnson’s life with a single dunk, or when Patrick Sparks did not travel in 2004 and won the game at the foul line with less than a second on the clock.
But no era has given us more fun than the one we are currently in: these last nine years under John Calipari.
It all got going in the 2009-10 season, Coach Cal’s first year at Kentucky, when all hell broke loose in the opening minute of the game.
First it was a tussle between Eric Bledsoe and Reginald Delk, which led to Calipari telling Delk, “He’ll kick your ass after the game… You messed with the wrong guy.”
Then DeMarcus Cousins introduced Jared Swopshire to his elbow during a tie-up on the floor, also in the very first minute of the game.
The very next year in Louisville, the world was introduced to Josh Harrellson, whose breakout game included 23 points and 14 rebounds in Kentucky’s 15-point win.
In 2011-12, Kentucky beat Louisville twice in one season, winning the regular season meeting in Lexington and then sending the Cards home from the Final Four in New Orleans.
Kentucky won twice again in 2013-14 and sent Louisville home from the tournament for a second time in three years, this time as the underdog in the matchup. It took a game-winner from Aaron Harrison, his first of three monumental shots in that special tournament run, to advance the Cats to the Elite 8.
RIP Chris Jones in 2014.
Hello, Tyler Ulis.
And maybe the greatest moment in UK-UofL history: Rick Pitino’s last known sighting in Rupp Arena, in 2015 .
In 2017, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (and his new haircut) became a household name when he scored 24 points in Kentucky’s 29-point ass-kicking of Louisville in Rupp Arena. It was Shai’s breakout performance and it was the rivalry’s most lopsided outcome in almost two decades.
Last year, Tyler Herro scored 24 points, including four threes, to lead the Cats past the Cards 71-58 at the Yum Center in Chris Mack’s debut game in the rivalry. Ashton Hagans (who was not allowed to wear his Ls Down shoes) turned in another impressive performance, coming into his own as Kentucky’s starting point guard. After humiliating losses to Duke and Seton Hall, this was the win the No. 16 Cats needed to turn their season around. (Sound familiar?)
Shall we have some more fun this year?