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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: You’ve Seen the Losses, How About the Wins?

Aaron Harrison game-winner vs. Michigan

Yesterday hopefully you saw my list ranking the 38 losses of the John Calipari in order of most crushing/surprising to least crushing.  Let’s find a cheerier subject today with the best WINS of the Calipari era.  There are more than these that you will remember certainly, but I think these 25 wins will go down in lore for many years to come.  Some wins are great in the moment (beating WVU in the tournament this year) but many of those will fade away in no time.  These 25 are the ones that you will tell stories about 25 years from now.  The 25 most important/exciting/memorable wins of the John Calipari era:

1. 2011-12: #17 Louisville (69-61, Final Four, The Bluegrass Showdown goes to the Cats)
2. 2011-12: #6 Kansas (67-59, Cats bring home Title #8)
3. 2013-14: #12 Wisconsin (Final Four, The Aaron Harrison legend becomes unbelievable)
4. 2013-14: #5 Louisville (74-69, Sweet 16, Great comeback ends defending national champions season)
5. 2009-10: Mississippi St (75-74 ot, SEC Championship, Cousins putback saves title)
6. 2010-11: #1 Ohio St (62-60, Sweet 16, Brandon Knight’s last second shot vaults Cats into Elite 8)
7. 2013-14: #7 Michigan (75-72, Elite 8, Aaron Harrison’s legend is born)
8. 2013-14: #2 Wichita St (78-76, 2nd Round, Cats crush unbeaten Shockers hopes)
9. 2010-11: #7 North Carolina (76-69, Cats back to Final Four for first time in 13 years)
10. 2014-15: #5 Kansas (72-40, 40-0 becomes reasonable after suffocating blowout)
11. 2011-12: #5 North Carolina (73-72, Davis blocks saves Cats against 2nd best team in country)
12. 2009-10: #14 UCONN (64-61, Wall’s late bucket solidifies Cats as national contender)
13. 2009-10: #10 North Carolina (68-66, Cats are back!)
14. 2009-10: Louisville (71-62, The Cousins Elbow and Cats take back rivalry)
15. 2014-15: #8 Notre Dame (68-66, Elite 8, Cats late surge sends them back to Final Four)
16. 2010-11: at #22 Louisville (78-63, Jorts Career Night)
17. 2014-15: at #4 Louisville (58-50, Don’t Mess with Tyler Ulis)
18. 2009-10: Cornell (62-45, “Smart” kids no match for actually good basketball players)
19. 2014-15: UCLA (83-44, A 41-7 1st half for the ages)
20. 2009-10: Miami OH (72-70, John Wall introduces himself)
21. 2011-12: #12 Kansas (75-65, Cats win first Champions Classic game)
22. 2009-10: Drexel (88-44, Cats are first to 2,000 wins)
23. 2011-12: at #18 Florida (74-59, Cats wrap up perfect SEC season)
24. 2013-14: #6 Louisville (73-66, Julius Randle goes crazy)
25. 2013-14: LSU (77-76 ot, Randle’s buzzer beater saves Cats)

Article written by Bryan the Intern

11 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: You’ve Seen the Losses, How About the Wins?

  1. Brent Sweeney
    9:09 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    No Ohio St? Josh Harrelson outplays Jared Sullinger?

    • Bryan the Intern
      9:10 am July 2, 2015 Permalink


    • Brent Sweeney
      9:10 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

      nevermind – just found that one

  2. inlinefor9
    9:21 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Good list, but I loved the UCLA blowout this year so much more than the KU blowout. The KU blowout was so much fun because nobody expected it to be that lopsided. But the absolute destruction of UCLA, albeit a weaker UCLA, was something I couldn’t take my eyes off. You just don’t hold programs like UCLA to 7 points in a half, especially in a fast-paced game. Extremely rare. The article Sports Illustrated posted after the game is something I still have saved and go back to read occasionally.

    Would move that one up a few slots.

    • ukjaybrat
      10:54 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

      I agree. i remember sitting at my in-laws place giddy as a 13 year old school girl i was so excited during that first half.

  3. Reese
    10:00 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    The win over Louisville in the sweet 16 by far. They had the higher seed, they were the favorite (barely), and their record was way better than us. They also had a 15 point lead. When Aaron made that 3 after Louisville led the whole game, seeing the look on those Louisville fans faces (“are you kidding me we lost to UK again”). That was the most crushing defeat against Louisville I’ve seen.

    • ukjaybrat
      10:57 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

      i went to indy that weekend and those two wins were just awesome. both close games, both were upsets (i think we were officially favored by vegas over michigan, but they were the better team on paper). And i had GREAT seats. it was an awesome weekend

  4. Bill
    10:14 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Can’t agree with the Cornell one–I get that the pundits were picking us to lose, but the next game totally effaced that one from my memory. Had the Cats made the Final Four that year, I would be all for it.

    My numbers 1 and …probably 4 would be the Jorts/Knight OSU game and then the UNC elite 8 game, only because that was the first Final Four the Cats made since I was a toddler. Totally surreal experience for a teenager. I still remember Jorts nailing Sullinger right in the chest, Knight’s pull-up, Buford’s heart-stopping heave, then Liggins’s iconic game winner against UNC and resulting kiss from Cal, and Darius Miller’s coming of age. Just a magical, unlikely run.

  5. Woah
    10:27 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    I was at the Q for number 15! I lost my mind when that last shot went in. It was my first UK game; I’m not sure if any game will be able to beat that one.

  6. CatsFanFrankfort
    10:27 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    Good list. I would add a couple:

    Nerlens’ 12 Block game vs. Ole Miss:
    The 2012-2013 season was pretty much a bust after Nerlens went down, but the Ole Miss game that year is one I won’t soon forget. That game was (at the time) a turning point in the season. We had lost a couple of road games, and we were set to play a ranked Ole Miss team in Oxford. (I think they were #16?). Several guys had big games, including Wiltjer, but none bigger than Nerlens’ domination on defense. This was the game when he tallied up 12 blocks, 4 or 5 of which came after he had 4 fouls. After this game, I felt totally confident about our Tounament hopes that year, only to have them crushed in Florida game, a short time later, when Nerlens went down. But I don’t think many people will forget that one, in an otherwise forgettable season.

    2011 Tournament game against Princeton:
    Brandon Knight’s last second layup – his only field goal of the entire game – wins it for us to avoid the upset. Big time shot that was a preview of the great Ohio St. game

  7. E Cat
    10:49 am July 2, 2015 Permalink

    This is arguably the second greatest run in UK history. Behind mid-40 to mid-50s, and I’d rank a little ahead of 92-99, all things considered.

    Two others:
    2012 – Elite 8 win over Baylor. Granted that Baylor was a flawed team, but one of the best games UK played that season.
    2012 – Sweet 16 Revenge Game vs. Indiana.