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Commonwealth Of Kentucky: Still The Basketball Capitol Of The World

Posted by Matt on March 25, 2008

Editor’s Note: Discuss this article NOW over at ACC vs. SEC! – Basketball Capitol Of The World

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Everybody knows the storied history of the Kentucky Wildcats and, while they’re down by their standards in very recent history, the ‘Cats will no doubt be back at the top in the very near future under the tutelage of one Billy Clyde Gillispie.

Everybody knows of the successes of the Louisville Cardinals under Denny Crum, of which is being resurrected by Rick Pitino.

All the while Murray State, Morehead State, and even Eastern Kentucky have seen some intermittent success in the Ohio Valley Conference with former Kentucky Wildcats Kyle Macy and Travis Ford coaching at Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky, respectively, at some point throughout their coaching careers.

This year sees both the Louisville Cardinals and the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers advancing to the Sweet 16 of the men’s NCAA Tournament which gives the state of Kentucky two Sweet 16 participants to tie California, North Carolina, and Tennessee as the most representatives per state.

There is, however, two less talked about teams also making their own way in the NAIA from the state of Kentucky in the form of Georgetown College and Campbellsville University. Both teams made the NAIA Fab Four that was played in Kansas City last night, and while both teams lost their respective games, the feat marked the first time that two Kentucky teams made the NAIA Fab Four in the same year.

Campbellsville University is a program that was sparked by the aforementioned Travis Ford and his 1997-2000 head coaching run that culminated with an NAIA Tournament appearance in his final season and a 67-31 overall record. Since then, Campbellsville has gone on to win the Mid-South Conference Tournment in 2006 and see NAIA Tournament appearances in three straight years from 2006-2008, with Sweet 16s in 2006 and 2007 to add to their Fab Four run of this year.

As good as Campbellsville has been, Georgetown has seen even more success over the years. The Tigers of Georgetown have reached the NAIA Fab Four eleven times to add to their four NAIA Championship Game appearances, with a National Championship in 1998, and an overall record of 1637-830-1 (.663). Head coach Happy Osborne has been at the helm for 12 years and has built an overall record of 371-66 (.849) during his stay.

Whether it be in distant history or recent, many states have made their case for basketball supremacy. From California to North Carolina and even Tennessee in the past few years, at some point all have had multiple teams fighting it out at or near the top. But from top to bottom, from large schools to small, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is still the ‘Basketball Capitol of the World.’

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5 Responses to “Commonwealth Of Kentucky: Still The Basketball Capitol Of The World”

  1. MoonDog said

    Nicely done. I recall many years ago just after my discharge I was working a job in the interim until I could get back into school. We were in Louisville and as soon as the employees found out we were from Memphis, they immediately started talking about Tiger basketball. This was in JULY. I was amazed at how basketball crazy these people were.

    I’d have to agree with you that Kentucky is a basketball mad state. And a very knowledgeable fan base too.

  2. Matt said

    Thanks, Moon. I was hoping to highlight Kentucky basketball across the state as I seemingly push the Wildcats down everyone’s throat but I am not a blind follower, I appreciate the little guys too. All of my family is from Campbellsville, Kentucky so I was sad to see the Tigers of CU fall. I was also hoping for an all-Kentucky NAIA Championship.

    One thing I foun interesting was Georgetown College won their NAIA Championship in 1998, which is the same year as Tubby’s in Lexington…a pretty neat feat for two schools separated by 15 miles…

  3. GoEagles said

    Nce piece, but it’s a shame that Kyle Macy was associated with Morehead State basketball and its recent success in the OVC b/c that has been under the watch of alum Donnie Tyndall and his outstanding recruits.

    Kyle Macy ran this program into the ground b/c he wasn’t a coach instead just a personality (of which he had no personality)!

  4. Matt said

    Thanks, Eagles.

    I apologize if I overlooked Donnie Tyndall…I wasn’t trying to necessarily say Macy was responsible but just trying to draw all of the connections between former UK stars and all of the other programs…

    I.E. how Ford went from NAIA, to EKU, to now UMass…etcetera…

  5. Condo said

    Macy did have some success that wasn’t that long ago at Morehead. In 2003 they won 20 games and were OVC Co-Regular Season Champions. He also recruited the likes of Ricky Minard and Chez Marks, both were excellent players.

    Although he tailed off in his last few years as coach and I’m not calling him a ‘quality coach’ by any means, he did have some sort of success at Morehead and wasn’t exactly a ‘horrible coach’.

    And I would know this, because I attended Morehead for almost 2 years from 2002-2003.

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