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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Which Final Four Loss Do You Want Back the Most?

As we head into another Final Four weekend in a couple days, it is still good to celebrate the four times that UK has been lucky enough to play this late into the season under John Calipari.  Unfortunately, three of those four times the Cats came up short.  When looking back at those three losses, I wonder which one you would like back the most.  I list reason why and why not you would want those games back more than the others:

2011: UCONN, 56-55

Why: You get one of Brandon Knight’s worst games, just 6-23 from the field.  You get a 4-12 performance from the foul line, including 0-5 from Terrence Jones.  Just 2 of those go down and you win.  If either of those things changes, UK wins and maybe even wins comfortably.  Added to that is who would have been waiting in the finals: Butler.  UCONN went on to thrash the Bulldogs and win a title that they barely deserved.

Why Not: Let’s be honest, this was not one of Cal’s powerhouse teams.  They were one of his thinnest teams.  They struggled for most of the year and needed buzzer beaters in both the 1st round and Sweet 16 to get to the Final Four.  Was that a national title caliber team?  Probably not.

2014: UCONN, 60-54

Why: Much like Knight above, the Cats star player just played a poor game.  Julius Randle scored just 10 points, battled cramps throughout, and just was an overall non-factor in a game where the Cats strength was in the post.  Much like 2011 as well, UK missed 11 free throws.  This one also stings bad because it was in the title game, unlike in 2011 and 2015.  UCONN was very beatable and likely the worst champion in the modern era.

Why Not: UK had been living on borrowed time with late game winners in the previous 3 rounds.  The Harrison’s had not quite found their grove like they would in 2015.  And that amazing run could not be spoiled by a tough ending.

2015: Wisconsin, 71-64

Why: Obviously this could have been considered one of the greatest teams in college basketball history.  A season of historic proportions came to a thud ending, with several uncharacteristic moves down the stretch and the very few flaws that Cats team had were exposed.  And it couldn’t have come against a worse opponent, Wisconsin.  A team who “did it the right way” with a coach that wasn’t afraid to tell you so.

Why Not: No guarantee that team beats Duke in the championship.  No matter how it ended, that season will be remembered forever.  Really stretching here…..

I think most people will automatically say 2015 is the one that hurt the worst and I understand why.  That team was certainly the best of the three teams listed.  But for some reason the loss in 2014 stings me more.  For one, it was in the championship game.  Secondly, UCONN was a very average team that year.  And finally that run was so memorable and then UK played quite poor in the title game and it somewhat soured it all for me.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

33 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Which Final Four Loss Do You Want Back the Most?



  1. 3 fan
    10:05 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    2015 without question. Still hurts our recruiting



  2. RealCatsFan
    10:09 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    Wisconsin without question. We would have rolled dook for the championship and a perfect season.



  3. kingave66
    10:09 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    1993 would be a good one too! Beat the Fab 5, give Monster Mash and Travis Ford a shot at going out on top.



  4. Flake
    10:11 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    Got to be the 2015 game. First, and most obviously, that team had a chance to make true college basketball history. Second, I was there and had to watch that horrible final 4-5 minutes in person. But my all time final four do-over would be the 1975 national Championship game against UCLA. I was in college in California st the time, and my Stanford Cardinals actually beat that UCLA team. I hated UCLA even before I went to college, and it got even worse watching them in person, especially the last 2 Bill Walton teams that routinely killed us. Plus that Kentucky team kept Bobby Knight from 2 straight titles. Just and old guy remembering, but that will always be one of my favorite teams and biggest disappointments re final four losses.



    • Flake
      10:16 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

      And just so the Alumni association doesn’t come after me, it should be Stanford CARDINAL, no “s”



  5. RackEmWillie
    10:13 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    I would take 2014. .

    I mean, in 2015 it would have been a great story. But, I think 2014 would have been an awesome run for a championship. It would have been epic.



  6. ScratchtheMascot
    10:13 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    Crazy that we even have the option of picking from multiple Final Fours that we would change in recent years. Yet Cal still underachieves with freshmen.



  7. Jay17282
    10:13 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    2015 hands down



  8. BBNDan7
    10:16 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    2014 is a guarantee championship but then maybe the twins don’t come back? So probably 2015



  9. Biglaw Dawgin'
    10:20 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    2015, no question. Immortality on the line and we win that game 9/10 times. We would’ve been a 5 or 6 point favorite over Duke (UK was -5 against Wisc in Final Four; Wisc was -1 against Duke in championship).



  10. truebluethroughandthrough
    10:23 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    2015. Why is this even a conversation? Easiest decision ever.



  11. Duff86
    10:25 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    2011 is my gut feeling on this one. I felt more connected to that team, but 2015 would have meant a lot more in terms of basketball history and everyone’s legacies. I’d have to say 2015.



  12. ClutchCargo
    10:29 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    2015. Every single time. We would have come into the title game with a full head of steam and taking dead aim at NCAAT/beating Duke/undefeated season.



  13. bosch8184
    10:35 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    What? 2015 no doubt. 2014 was a fluke, didn’t deserve to be there as fun as it was.

    Beating Duke in the title for an undefeated season? We’re gonna top that how exactly? That would have been the absolute pinnacle.



    • BBNDan7
      11:53 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

      Didn’t deserve to be there?!?! What are you saying



  14. bosch8184
    10:39 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    Although ’93 & ’97 suck as well. So close to a 3-peat.

    2011 just happy to be back after Tubby Ball and thou shall who not be named.



  15. az1006
    10:42 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    This is why people that say Cal underachieves are just dumb. The fact we can even have this discussion proves two things: 1, Cal is a master at getting his teams to perform in the tournament, and 2, it’s REALLY REALLY hard to win a championship. Things have to go right, and sometimes they don’t. Missed free throws, one missed jump shot. One foot on a baseline. The best team(s) don’t always win. But Cal has continued to put us in a position to do it, more than any other coach in America, and yet he still doesn’t get his due.



  16. Flake
    10:48 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    And again, I know I am sounding like an old guy, but if we win the 1975 game, we are only 1 title behind UCLA, not 3



  17. jbrashea
    10:50 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    2015 for sure. Had a chance to be the greatest CBB team ever without question.



  18. FlatTopsAndBlockedShots
    10:58 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    If UK goes 40-0 in 2015 the recruiting cycles in 2017 and onward would’ve been different since 2016 players already were signed. Mo Bamba is a player it would’ve likely impacted.



  19. Jennie
    11:06 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    2015 no question. They were one of the best college teams in history and won’t get the recognition because they lost. Would’ve loved to have finished the historic season. I know 2014 was the actual title game, but that whole tournament run was special, with all the buzzer beaters and us being an 8 seed, plus maybe if we had won that one we don’t get as many guys coming back to even make 2015 possible.



  20. dsims0004
    11:16 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    2015 no question!!!!



  21. Tedmo
    11:34 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    As far as which loss hurts the most, 2015 without question–probably the hardest loss for me to stomach in my life as a UK fan, with the Laettner game a close second. But as far as which game would I like to have back, 2014 (because it was the championship game) and 2011 (because basically a guaranteed championship) would be my picks. While I think we would have beat Duke in 2015, the thought of beating Wisconsin and then losing to Duke would be even harder to recover from than what actually happened, if that were possible. And I agree that this is a pretty privileged conversation we’re having. Drives home the point that we’re basically a relevant part of the championship conversation almost every year.



  22. WatchutalkinboutWillis
    11:58 am March 28, 2018 Permalink

    I originally thought 2014, but then the magical 2015 season wouldn’t have happened probably….tough one…basically the question is, would you give up a guaranteed National Championship for a very good chance at History…



  23. sincitycat
    12:16 pm March 28, 2018 Permalink

    The Runts game with Texas Western in 1966.



  24. runningunnin.454
    12:51 pm March 28, 2018 Permalink

    Dumb question…2015.



  25. mjbiven
    1:28 pm March 28, 2018 Permalink

    38-0 team.



  26. meeksfor3
    3:30 pm March 28, 2018 Permalink

    That picture of a smug John Higgins looking directly at the Shabazz Napier flop and know he called it a foul on Miller makes me want to punch him in his roofing nail bag.



  27. CPACAT
    3:54 pm March 28, 2018 Permalink

    2015 Wisconsin and it’s not even close. I get physically ill thinking about that game.



  28. kybirdieman
    4:08 pm March 28, 2018 Permalink

    Rupp’s runts vs Texas Western



  29. UKfanman01
    7:25 pm March 28, 2018 Permalink

    This has to be the most ignorant question ever asked on KSR…. 38-1 loss to Wisconsin…



  30. Commissionersteele
    9:59 pm March 28, 2018 Permalink

    If we had won in 2014, the twins leave, and so does Calipari to Cleveland! 2015 makes history and probably changes recruiting history. Instead Duke won and took control of the recruiting wars. Damn we lost so much when we lost to Wisconsin



  31. zielritter
    10:05 pm March 28, 2018 Permalink

    Anyone who answers a game other than Wisconsin is trolling or ignorant.