On This Date In UK History

Special Thanks To Big Blue Booyah

November 28th

Rick Pitino made his debut as Kentucky head coach at Rupp Arena, squeaking past the University of Ohio, 76-73. The Cats were led by Somerset-native Reggie Hanson’s 24 points, 14 rebounds, and five steals. The notorious Derrick Miller finished the game with 18 points, on 2-9 shooting from three-point range. The brash, young head coach promised two things to the rabid Kentucky fan base: it would be a super fast pace and there would be a ton of three pointers. Even though, the team was on probation, Pitino wanted to spread the word around the basketball world that you could come to Kentucky and get minutes. Everyone would play. Big Blue Nation quickly adopted the New Yorker as their own and listened to him like his word was scripture. And as long as he was winning, it was.......until he turned his back on us. Years later, Pitino would get involved with a crazy-eyed lady in a Louisville restaurant.

November 27th

your University of Kentucky Wildcats opened their brand new, state-of-the-art, $53 million basketball arena against Wisconsin, winning 72-64. Rupp Arena to this day is the largest arena built specifically for basketball, with an official capacity of 23,500. The Cats were led that November day by Jack Givens and Rick Robey, both compiling double-doubles. Adolph Rupp was there to watch Joe B. Hall earn the first of many victories in Rupp for UK. The Big Blue Nation has broken the attendance record 23 times since Rupp opened its doors 33 years ago. Kentucky’s record in those games is 19-4. The attendance record is 24,465, set February 10, 2007, in a 64-61 loss to Florida. Being known as one of the greatest homecourt advantages in all of college basketball, the Blue and White has compiled a record of 427-60 since making the move. Ten of the 60 losses were seen in the last two years under Billy Gillispie’s leadership.

UK Warmup

November 26th

a regular season rivalry was renewed for the first time since January 21, 1922. Louisville had taken Kentucky out in the 1983 NCAA Tournament to kickstart the rivalry again. The way the players talked trash and how the players, coaches, and fans literally hated one another was really refreshing.

There was not even a compromise on where the announcement (of the renewed rivalry) would take place: (Sports Illustrated excerpt from December 5, 1983 issue)

“Two years ago, when a preseason publication wished to pose Kentucky and Louisville players together on the steps of the Capitol in Frankfort, Crum was more than willing but Hall refused to cooperate. This summer, after the schools finally agreed to play, Louisville Athletic Director Bill Olsen proposed that the announcement be made at the governor's office. His Kentucky counterpart, A.D. Cliff Hagan, refused. When Olsen recommended Shelbyville as a neutral site, Hagan wanted to know if that town was closer to Lexington or Louisville. The result was that Olsen consulted the AAA auto club and determined the exact halfway point—which turned out to be a cow pasture off U.S. 60.”

Great stuff and a great read if you have a bit of time. Oh yeah, the Cats took 36 free throws and Louisville only took 5. Kentucky destroyed Louisville that day 65-44 behind Sam Bowie. He never made a bucket, but ended with 7 points, 10 rebounds, 5 blocks, 5 assists, and 3 steals. You gotta love a renewed rivalry, no?

Wildcat World

November 25th

Kentucky’s last ranked defense nationally almost pulled off the upset at #19 Tennessee, but lost 17-12, to give the Hunters their 22nd straight victory over the Cats. The win would have put Kentucky’s record at 8-4, 5-3 SEC, but the win clinched second in the SEC East for the Vols. Regardless, the seven wins on the season made UK bowl eligible. Andre Woodson led the way at quarterback going 26-39 for 282 yards and one touchdown. Rafael Little gained 119 yards on 23 carries and had a receiving touchdown. The Cats led 12-10 at halftime, but Lones Seiber missed a third quarter field goal to put the good guys on top. It was quarterback coach Randy Sanders first game back in Knoxville since resigning as the Vols offensive coordinator the previous season.

November 24th

Mark Pope’s 26 points led your #1 University of Kentucky Wildcats to victory over #14 Maryland in the Tip-Off Classic, 96-84. The difference in the game was three-point shooting. Big Blue made nine on the day, from seven different players, and held Maryland to 1-12 shooting behind the arc. Eleven different players scored on the day for the Cats, led by Pope’s 26 and Tony Delk’s 21. No other player scored in double figures. Pope also led the team with six rebounds and four blocks. Point guard Anthony Epps controlled the game and added six assists and three steals. It was the first game of the storied 1995-96 campaign, and was the first of three big games to start the season. After defeating the #14 Terps, Kentucky turned around and played #5 UMASS and Indiana, going 2-1 during the stretch.

November 23rd

“The Voice of the Wildcats” Cawood Ledford called his last University of Kentucky football game. Unfortunately, it was a game against Tennessee. And we all know how those usually turn out. The Hunters won the game that day 16-7. Cawood would finish out the 1991-92 basketball season to wrap up his 39 years on the mic. To think both of his last games (football and basketball) were losses is a bad deal. On the football side, one of Cawood’s most famous sayings happened when Kentucky had a big play. The inflection in his voice would get louder and louder for Big Blue, then you’d hear him say, “Any flags, Ralph?” (BTW, was there a harder job following Cawood Ledford as Kentucky’s play-by-play man? I say no. Ralph was in a no-win situation.) Most notable for his basketball announcing, Cawood’s football announcing was second to none. Who of us wouldn’t love to pick his brain today about the recent success of the football team and what might be on the horizon ofor the basketball team?

Thanks Cawood!

November 22nd

Tubby Smith’s Wildcats were unhappy campers going into the third game of the season vs. Jacksonville State. The game was played in Cincinnati and the Cats were still looking for their first win of the 2000 campaign. The year started with back-to-back losses in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic against St. John’s and UCLA respectively. Needless to say, Big Blue Nation was unhappy with this unheard of start to the basketball season. The Cats raced out to a 42-17 halftime lead and won the game by the score of 91-48. Cincinnati-native Erik Daniels led the Big Blue with 19 points on only three made field goals. Daniels was 12-14 from the free throw line and made one three-pointer. Tayshaun Prince and Keith Bogans added 14 points a piece to lank Daniels. The story of the night was the Wildcat defense, who forced 30 turnovers.


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