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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Ranking the Losses of the Calipari Era

Wisconsin v Kentucky

We have had 190 wins in the 6 years of John Calipari.  And there are more wins during that time that will forever be remembered than I care to count right now.  It’s been just a golden era of UK basketball.  But sometimes you take the bad with the good and we haven’t been perfect in these 6 years.  When you have an elite program like Kentucky, the losses hurt that bad too.  I thought I would rank the 38 losses of the Calipari era.  These games are a mixture of how “bad” a loss was and also how much that loss “hurt” to see.  I split up the losses into 4 categories: Crippling Forever, Memorable, Forgettable, and Positive.

CRIPPLING FOREVER
1. 2014-15: #3 Wisconsin (71-64, Final Four, The Perfect Season Implodes)
2. 2009-10: #6 West Virginia (73-66, Elite 8, Jodie Meeks Missing Game)
3. 2012-13: Robert Morris (59-57, NIT)
4. 2011-12: at Indiana (73-72, Christian Watford buzzer-beater)
5. 2013-14: UCONN (70-64, NCAA Championship, Cats Surprise Run Hits a Wall)
6. 2012-13: Vanderbilt (64-48, SEC Tournament, Sends Cats to NIT)
7. 2010-11: #9 UCONN (56-55, Final Four, Liggins Late Miss Ends Surprise Run)

These will stay with any fan old enough to remember them forever.  Each NCAA Tournament loss has been tough to take under Calipari.  Throw in the Christian Watford game plus the final 2 games of the disaster season of 2012-13 and you have my top 7 losses.  I think it’s hard to argue adding many to this list but the order is probably up for debate.

MEMORABLE
8. 2012-13: at Tennessee (88-58, Worst Margin in Cal era)
9. 2013-14: at South Carolina (72-67, Cats Bomb Against SEC’s Worst)
10. 2012-13: Baylor (64-55, 54-game home winning streak snapped)
11. 2012-13: at #4 Louisville (80-77, Only Loss to Cards in Cal era)
12. 2013-14: #20 Baylor (67-62, Midnight Start Time)
13. 2013-14: #2 Michigan State (78-74, Champions Classic, #1 vs #2)
14. 2009-10: at South Carolina (68-62, Demarcus Cousins/Obama)
15. 2011-12: Vanderbilt (71-64, SEC Tournament Final)
16. 2013-14: Arkansas (71-67 ot, Cats NCAA Tournament Hopes Get Shaky)
17. 2012-13: Texas A&M (83-71, Elston Turner’s 40-point game)
18. 2013-14: #3 Florida (69-59, Cal’s 2nd double digit home loss)
19. 2012-13: at #7 Florida (69-52, Nerlens Noel season-ending injury)
20. 2013-14: at Arkansas (87-85, ot, Buzzer-Beating Dunk)
21. 2012-13: Duke (75-68, Champions Classic)
22. 2013-14: at #1 Florida (84-65, Cal’s 2nd largest loss)
23. 2012-13: at Notre Dame (64-50, Big East/SEC Challenge)
24. 2013-14: at #21 North Carolina (82-77)
25. 2010-11: UCONN (84-67, Maui Invitational Final)
26. 2010-11: at Alabama (68-66, Calipari/T Jones MF**** game)
27. 2010-11: at Ole Miss (71-69, Chris Warren late 3 beats Cats)

A lot of games that Kentucky fans will remember, mostly for one moment or key theme with the game.  While all of these losses hurt in the moment, I think all of them fade away as time goes.  They will simply be footnotes for Calipari’s reign here, more than define his career in any way.

FORGETTABLE
28. 2010-11: at North Carolina (75-73)
29. 2010-11: at Arkansas (77-76, ot)
30. 2010-11: at Florida (70-68)
31. 2009-10: at #19 Tennessee (74-65)
32. 2013-14: at LSU (87-82)
33. 2012-13: at Georgia (72-62)
34. 2012-13: at Arkansas (73-60)
35. 2010-11: at #23 Vanderbilt (81-77)
36. 2012-13: at Alabama (59-55)
37. 2010-11: at Georgia (77-70)

Did these even happen?  I remember maybe 1-2 of these 10 games.  Anything I am missing with this group?

POSITIVE
38. 2013-14: #1 Florida (61-60, SEC Tournament Final, Cats Gives Fans Hope)

That’s right, I am calling this loss a positive in the Calipari era.  Above all else, this gave fans hopes that this team had found it’s groove.  Which turned out to be true in that NCAA Tournament.  It’s rare you come out happy after a loss, but I think this was the one time that UK fans did.  Or at least me.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

25 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Ranking the Losses of the Calipari Era



  1. Dan
    9:04 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    For me the only two losses on that list that are TRULY crippling are Wisconsin and West Virginia because we clearly had the best team in the country those two years. The loss at Indiana doesn’t bother me at all considering how that season ended. But as a fan born after 1992, that Wisconsin loss is my Laettner moment that I will never get over.



    • ClutchCargo
      9:25 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

      I came here to post pretty much the same thing. Except I clearly remember that Duke game, as I was a senior in college at the time.



  2. Nathan
    9:24 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    @ Arkansas is definitely a memorable loss because of the way that we lost (Qualls put back dunk at the buzzer). It obviously wasn’t a crippling loss, but I’ll never forget it.



  3. Todd Back
    9:25 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    Agree, I’m 32 years old. Grass roots KSR guy, I was clicking refresh on the website in college 50 times a day to get the latest recruiting news from Magloire52. The Wisconsin game will haunt me (as much as a sports game can) for the rest of my life. Not only was this a game for immortality, Duke was waiting in the finals with what would have been the biggest game in the modern era of college basketball in a location only a few hours from Lexington. I was there as many others were and I can’t really describe it after the game, but I’ll never forget it. That team and Cal deserves to win that game and he a shot for 40-0. Still haven’t really gotten over it.



  4. ClutchCargo
    9:32 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    I have a problem with the Christian Watford/IU loss being in the “crippling” category. I promise you I am as rabid a Cat fan as there is, and I literally laughed as that shot went in and the fans stormed the court. It’s only mildly annoying to see the replay to this day, because it is the highlight of Tom Crean’s IU career. It was just a December game, and that UK team was clearly going to do something special.



    • CatsFanFrankfort
      9:46 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

      Yea, I would even say that this loss could be considered ‘positive’. While it obviously sucked at the time, and watching the replay isn’t exactly fun, one could argue that the loss took a lot of pressure off that team.



    • Real True Blue Cat
      11:34 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

      Yeah the IU was huge for them but is no big deal to me. Especially since we even played again in the NCAA so their fans can’t even really brag about it to us. Same with Vandy and Robert Morris. We had a bad season. It happens. So what? Certainly not crippling or something I’ll never forget. But Whisconsin is an all timer.



  5. Tomas
    9:34 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    Don’t think the Robert Morris loss is crippling. But that time most UK fans were just ready for the season to be over and Julius Randle committed the next day so fans immediately got excited for the next season. But the Wisconsin and West Virginia losses will haunt me forever, those should probably be the only two games in the crippling loss section. The Indiana game didn’t bother me at all because it was December, and losing the UConn in those two games hurt but not as bad because we went on miracle runs to get there. They hurt in hindsight because we probably should have won both, but at the time we just remembered the memorable run to get to those games.



  6. The Original WTF Guy
    9:35 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    #’s 3 & 6 are meaningless. #4 more or less is since we (1) beat them when it counted and (2) won a title that year. #5 was the worst because it was for a national title. #7 is ahead of #1 but not by much. If we had beaten UCONN we would have played Butler and I think the probability that we would have beaten them is higher than the probability that we would have beaten Duke as it seemed the 2015 was simply running out of gas or that the pressure was really getting to them. There is a good chance that the 2010 could have won it all had they beaten WVU, but we would have had to play Duke in the Final Four. Ultimately the loss to WVU was relatively unimportant since that team performed beyond all expectations and put UK back on top of the mountain.

    So the correct ranking is:

    5. 2013-14: UCONN (70-64, NCAA Championship, Cats Surprise Run Hits a Wall)
    7. 2010-11: #9 UCONN (56-55, Final Four, Liggins Late Miss Ends Surprise Run)
    1. 2014-15: #3 Wisconsin (71-64, Final Four, The Perfect Season Implodes)
    2. 2009-10: #6 West Virginia (73-66, Elite 8, Jodie Meeks Missing Game)

    3. 2012-13: Robert Morris (59-57, NIT)
    4. 2011-12: at Indiana (73-72, Christian Watford buzzer-beater)
    6. 2012-13: Vanderbilt (64-48, SEC Tournament, Sends Cats to NIT)



  7. Blake
    9:41 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    2. 2009-10: #6 West Virginia (73-66, Elite 8, Jodie Meeks Missing Game)

    Wasn’t Jodie Meeks playing for the Bucks 2009-2010….?



    • ClutchCargo
      10:54 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

      I think he means that was the game we REALLY missed having Meeks around.



  8. Kanye Twitty
    9:41 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    Not sure why the Robert Morris loss is considered crippling. Most of my friends didn’t even care that the game was happening, and on message board prediction games people were picking/hoping UK would lose so the season would end. Not exactly a heart breaker.



  9. Tyler
    9:48 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    1. Wisconsin in 2015
    2. West Virginia in 2010
    3. Tennessee in 2013



  10. Tyler
    9:50 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    UCONN in the 2014 title is also a positive because everyone decided to come back



  11. CatsFanFrankfort
    9:50 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    I’d even move the 30 point Tennessee game up to the ‘crippling’ category. That game was just embarrassing for everyone on the court. Coming right after the injury to Nerlens, it was a definite low point and a sign that the team had basically given up.



  12. J
    9:53 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    Calipari never coached Jodie Meeks



    • ukjaybrat
      10:16 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

      I’m guessing this was supposed to be a response to #7… in which case i think he means that if jodie were on that team we would have won, assuming with jodie on the team we would have hit more three pointers.

      It’s a valid opinion, but what if’s are annoying. i could give you a thousand what ifs that would have changed, but none of them happened so who cares.



  13. nybrasky
    10:02 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    Those UCONN losses sting much more to me, probably because UK played lackluster games in each. Even though both came at the end of somewhat surprising runs, UK was still the better team in both. Just a slightly better night in both games means UK has 10 titles.

    Who cares about the Robert Morris loss? The guys on the team didn’t care anymore, so why should we? It became a bit of a punchline, but it’s certainly not crippling. A fitting end to a lackluster season.

    Also, that Indian game – so what? We lost on a buzzer beater in the regular season. It’s Indiana’s Super Bowl of the last decade. To UK fans it should be a blip on the radar of a season that ended in a championship. Not sure how you can put any regular season game before Final Four losses.



  14. Tate Baker
    10:06 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    1. The F4 Wisconsin game hurts the most. Mostly due to the fact we had 6pt lead and had 3 straight possessions to go up 8, 10,& 12 but didn’t and eventually lost.
    2. The championship game vs UCONN because the way we got the it felt like there was no way we could lose…it was like our destiny to win that game.
    3. WVU E8 game…I rememeber being sick to my stomach at all the shots we missed and the defense we played.
    4. The F4 UCONN game because for the first time since I was two years old we were in a Final 4 with a team that nobody expected to be there.
    5. The IU loss…just because ESPN has it on every commercial you see and can never get it out of you mind.

    The other two don’t really “cripple” me because that whole year was bad and we won the the whole thing the next year.



  15. Wow
    10:18 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    Crippling: you’ve got a regular season non-conference loss ranked over a National Championship game and FF loss?

    Might wanna re-visit that one.



  16. uk3k_J
    10:20 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    That West Virginia loss hit me hard in college. My whole college time had been terrible basketball teams and then Cal comes in and blows it up. Everything that season was so exciting. I’m getting torn up just thinking about it.

    And that Wisconsin loss too.

    Both season we had by far the best team, but in the end had one slip up that cost us. And duke won both of those years. That is more salt on the wounds.



  17. CATandMONKEY
    10:43 am July 1, 2015 Permalink

    Wisconsin. No excuse for that loss. We played poorly down the stretch and Willie was MIA.
    UCONN championship game. Another very bad loss that should not have been.



  18. Cats999
    12:00 pm July 1, 2015 Permalink

    Not sure why it says “Jodie Meeks missing game” next to #2. He wasn’t even on that team. Well I guess that does mean he missed that game.



  19. Craig
    2:09 pm July 1, 2015 Permalink

    for me one of the more memorable ones was the Kansas stomping of last year.



  20. UK fan
    11:45 pm July 1, 2015 Permalink

    Check West Virginia game Jodie Meeks did not play in the calipari era