Kentucky vs. Louisville: By the Numbers [VIDEO]
Here we are again, that time of year when maybe our house is divided or we are solely rooting for either the Cats or the Cards. Although the Kentucky/Louisville rivalry game doesn't have an official name, it has been ranked among the top rivalries in NCAA basketball history.
So when did it all start? Fans of my generation can point to one game, an Elite Eight match-up in the 1983 NCAA Tournament on March 26th dubbed "The Dream Game". In Knoxville, Louisville was one of the hottest teams in the country, ranked 2nd, while UK came into the game ranked 12th. The Cats were the underdog but they managed to take the game into overtime, only to lose to the Cards, who would go on to lose in the Final Four to Houston, who lost to NC State.
However, the rivalry goes all the back to February 15th, 1913. Kentucky took the upper hand by winning that first game in Lexington 34-10. The two teams played twice during the season from 1914 to 1916, the Cats won their first game in Louisville, winning a total of four out of six times. The teams played twice in four days in 1922, and Kentucky won both games.
The rivalry would go dormant for a little over 25 years. The year of the meeting, 1948, be a big one for Kentucky. They played the Cards in an Olympic Trials game in New York and they were victorious once again. The Wildcats would go on to win their first NCAA championship.
The next three match-ups would all be in the NCAA tournament: UK won in a first-round game in 1951 and would go on to win their third NCAA title, Louisville got a win in a Sweet Sixteen game against the Cats in 1959, and they went onto the Final Four where they would lose in the semi-finals to eventual champs West Virginia, which brings us back to the aforementioned Dream Game in 1983.
On November 26th, 1983, modern rivalry began and number one Kentucky would strike first with a 21-point victory in Rupp Arena. Once again, the Cats and Cards would meet in the 1984 NCAA tournament, this time in the Sweet Sixteen, UK won but would lose to eventual champs Georgetown in the Final Four.
Over the last 35 years, Kentucky has dominated the rivalry, winning 27 times, which includes two more NCAA games, in 2012 in the Final Four where Kentucky would go on to win their ninth national championship and in a Sweet Sixteen game in 2014, Kentucky would go on to lose in the title game that year to UConn.
In 2001, the rivalry met a whole new level of intensity when Louisville hired Rick Pitino as their head coach. In all the meetings between UK and Louisville during Pitino's tenure at both schools, he would lead both teams to six victories each. He also led both teams to national titles, UK in 1996 and Louisville in 2013, a championship that would be vacated along with all Cardinal victories from 2010-2015.
Since John Calipari took over Kentucky in 2009, the Cats have lost the rivalry game only three times and losing only once in the past decade.
Kentucky leads the series 36-15. The Cats take on the Cards at Rupp Arena this Saturday at 2:45 p.m. CT and you'll hear it live on 92.5 WBKR.