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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Is This the Golden Era of UK Basketball?

I honestly don’t envy the guy who is going to have to follow John Calipari as the next basketball coach at UK.  It is much in the same way that I never envied Tubby Smith for having to follow Rick Pitino.  He was in an almost impossible situation to continue at the level of success that Pitino obtained, and then when he wins the title in his first season he was basically screwed.  Almost any program in the country would have taken Tubby’s tenure happily but we always compared him to Rick and that was a key in his failure with the fanbase.  The guy that follows Calipari will likely have the same program.

But has this almost 10 year span been the “golden era” for UK basketball?  I think when breaking down the numbers, there is really only 1 other era that compares: 1992 through 2001.  That era spanned 2 coaches but was still an amazing decade of basketball.  Many might point the late 1940’s and 1950’s as a competitor but that wasn’t modern basketball for it’s smaller tournament, far less overall talent poor and lack of integration.  That was an amazing run as well but there are caveats to it.

I think you basically are looking at that Pitino-Tubby run and this Calipari run as the two best decade-long stretches in UK basketball history.  Calipari obviously has another year to add to his 10-year resume.  So what would it take to surpass that 92-01 run or has he already done that?  Take a look:

Wins (Currently through 9 Cal years: 265 wins)
1992-2001: 293 wins

NCAA Tournament Wins (Currently through 9 Cal years: 28)
1992-2001: 34

Final Fours (Currently through 9 Cal years: 4)
1992-2001: 4 Final Fours

SEC Regular Season Titles (Currently through 9 Cal years: 5)
1992-2001: 5

SEC Tournament Titles (Currently through 9 Cal years: 6)
1992-2001: 8 titles

1st Round NBA Draft Picks (Currently through 9 Cal years: 24)
1992-2001: 12

So which is it?  How good does this next Calipari team need to be and how much do they need to accomplish for this to be considered the greatest 10 year run in UK basketball history?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

21 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Is This the Golden Era of UK Basketball?



  1. bigbluehank
    10:31 am May 9, 2018 Permalink

    Why is “First Round NBA Draft Picks” used as a measurement? How does the number of draft picks determine a season’s success?



    • bosch8184
      3:11 pm May 9, 2018 Permalink

      Because that is how Cal defines success, so that’s what Kalipari Sports Radio uses.



  2. luke_emberton
    10:36 am May 9, 2018 Permalink

    I don’t think anyone truly cares about 1st round picks lol rather have national titles js



  3. Sentient Third Eye
    10:44 am May 9, 2018 Permalink

    For me the Rupp late forties will always be UK’s Golden Age because it was first and that’s the era when just about everything from movies to music to comics had their own golden ages. Plus, it’s when UK got official credit for a world championship by being half of the Olympic team. How much more golden can you be then world champions?



  4. az1006
    10:48 am May 9, 2018 Permalink

    Everyone can say they don’t care about NBA draft picks, but the fact of the matter is that it matters. It matters more today than it ever has before, but it does matter. It’s no different than the cream of the crop attending Harvard or Yale…They do so because of the track record of success for alumni. In basketball, getting guys to the NBA is that measuring stick. So it should be included, but it isn’t the only factor, obviously.

    I think if Cal can get next year’s group to a Final Four or NC, then it’s quite easily the best run in program history, IMO.



  5. RackEmWillie
    11:13 am May 9, 2018 Permalink

    If Cal wins a championship next year, or the year after, it’s the best time period for UK basketball.

    Every year, he has at least some share of the spotlight on his team. Every preseason, they’re in the championship discussion. As big as UK was before, he made it bigger by being year round. I never really cared for the draft, and didn’t really follow a ton of recruiting stuff. But, UK is always involved with that process now.



  6. Jazz1124
    11:16 am May 9, 2018 Permalink

    Y’all say you guys don’t care about number one draft picks but fail to realize a lot of times that’s the main factor, if not the only factor, these big time recruits come to UK in the first place. So, without these “unimportant” first round picks, we wouldn’t be seeing these awesome players we are lucky enough to see. Even if it’s just one year.



    • bigbluehank
      11:41 am May 9, 2018 Permalink

      I understand how having NBA draft picks appeals to recruits. But it has zero impact on the actual outcomes during a season.



  7. natedaddy
    11:40 am May 9, 2018 Permalink

    The way I look at this is that, when factoring in the the draft picks, is that Pitino/Tubby did more with less talent.



    • BTownUKFan
      2:25 pm May 9, 2018 Permalink

      Not necessarily. If Cal got to keep Wall, Cousins, Davis etc for 2 to 3 years his stats would be much higher than Pitino/Smith. BTW….Sorry to see your banner go down.



  8. rainman
    11:48 am May 9, 2018 Permalink

    Conveniently left one measurement out didn’t you?
    CHAMPIONSHIPS!
    I will always go with Championships!



  9. The Professor
    11:51 am May 9, 2018 Permalink

    I love what Cal has done. However, we tend to easily dismiss things that happened before we were born as having less relevance, but the reality is that Rupp won 4 national titles, over 11 seasons, from 1948-1958. Since we pride ourselves first on the number of national titles we hold and since this time period encompasses half that total, how can that not be the “Golden Age” of UK basketball. Unless we win more titles over the next few years, do you really think fans living decades from now will say our current era was UKs greatest because we had a lot of draft picks?



    • symphonist41169
      12:09 pm May 9, 2018 Permalink

      Exactly. And the 129 home game winning streak that lasted from 1943 to 1955 is one that may never be broken. Even though it was before my time I’ve gotta go with the 40s and 50s as the true Golden Era. While the number of draft picks may be what interests the big-time recruits which ultimately adds up to W’s, I personally can’t see how it adds to a season’s overall success. Feel free to disagree but I’m pretty sure most people would rather have a Final Four or National Championship at the end of a season instead of losing in the Sweet 16 or Elite 8 but have 4 or 5 draft picks in June.



  10. runningunnin.454
    12:44 pm May 9, 2018 Permalink

    Hogwash; Three NCAA championships in four years was the Golden Era…when Rupp revolutionized the game with the fast break, and made the other teams look like monkeys.
    Just because you don’t remember it doesn’t mean it wasn’t glorious.
    Now try to compare Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, and Muhammad Ali.



    • m4ff3w
      1:14 pm May 9, 2018 Permalink

      ^ truth



    • Megan
      3:18 pm May 9, 2018 Permalink

      In 1969 I saw Marciano knock Ali to the canvas (the first time in Ali’s career) in what was billed as the Super Fight between the only undefeated heavyweight champions in boxing history. Rocky won that fight. It’s true because computers said so.



  11. Megan
    3:11 pm May 9, 2018 Permalink

    I hate when people disparage the efforts of athletes or teams in the past because it wasn’t “modern”sports. The tournament was smaller, there was far less overall talent, and (the one I hate most) it wasn’t racially integrated.

    Reminds me of Amy Schumer’s soured father (a Mets fan) in Trainwreck: “Babe Ruth is only a legend because he never played against black players.” Sorry, BTI, but that’s what you sound like. And it’s exactly the reasoning fans from North Carolina use to discount Rupp’s success. Those championships don’t count because they were before the era of integration, and before the modern era began in 1980. Say what, now?



    • The Professor
      4:11 pm May 9, 2018 Permalink

      Actually, basketball was integrated during that time just not in the south. According to the players, Rupp helped a few black Ky high school kids get scholarships at northern schools.



  12. bosch8184
    3:12 pm May 9, 2018 Permalink

    Hell no, is that a serious question?



  13. kybirdieman
    4:23 pm May 9, 2018 Permalink

    Hell no championships over draft picks.