The Greatest Basketball Program In The South: Kentucky Wildcats
Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on June 25, 2008
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Reason For Nickname: In 1909 after a football game against the University of Illinois, Commandant Carbusier mentioned that the football team fought like wildcats, giving birth to the nickname.
Colors: Blue and White
Arena: Rupp Arena (built 1976, capacity 23,000)
NCAA Appearences: 48 Appearances, 13 Final Fours, 7 National Championships
NIT Appearances: 7 Appearances, 1 Championship
Conference Championships: SEC Regular-Season Champions (1933, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005). SEC East Champions (1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005). SEC Tournament Champions (1933, 1937, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1952, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004). Southern Conference Champions (1926, 1932).
Coaching Legacy: “The Man In The Brown Suit”, Adolph Rupp, is and will always be the standard for Kentucky basketball. From 1930 to 1972, his teams won four National Championships (1948, 1949, 1951, and 1958) and dominated the SEC in the process. He would be followed by Joe B. Hall, who would add a National Championship of his own in 1978 behind the play of Jack “Goose” Givens. After a lull during the tenure of Eddie Sutton, Rick Pitino would bring the glory back to the program by winning the program’s first NCAA title since 1978, beating Syracuse in the 1996 National Championship game. After Pitino left for the Boston Celtics, Orlando “Tubby” Smith would lead the Wildcats to another title in 1998, which is to this point the last time the Wildcats have gone to the Final Four.
Big Man On Campus: The South’s greatest basketball program has been home to countless greats of the game, ranging from Alex Groza and Cliff Hagan to Patrick Patterson and Rajon Rondo. The University of Kentucky is where coaches like Herb Sendek, Billy Donovan, Tubby Smith, and Ralph Willard got their start and where players like Nashville native Ron Mercer, Wayne Turner, Jamal Mashburn, Jamal Magloire, Antonie Walker, and Nazr Mohammed won National Championships in the 1990’s. But throughout its long and storied history, the Wildcats have produced more All-Americans than any other school.
Below is a partial list of greats who have played at Kentucky throughout its history:
Rivalries: Kentucky’s most famous rivals are the University of Louisville and Indiana University. Along with those two, the University of Tennessee is one of the Wildcats’ historic rivals in basketball. As of this writing, the Volunteers have won more games than any other SEC school against the Wildcats.
Did You Know?: The Wildcats were on the wrong side of history on Feb. 12th when Vanderbilt handed the Wildcats their worst defeat in the school’s 75-year association with the SEC, beating the Wildcats 93-52 at Memorial Gym.
This entry was posted on June 25, 2008 at 11:30 AM and is filed under NCAA Basketball. Tagged: AUTHOR:DOC HANCOCK, Top 25 NCAA Basketball Programs In The South. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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