Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball

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Kentucky Wildcats
2013–14 Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team
Kentucky Wildcats athletic logo
UniversityUniversity of Kentucky
ConferenceSEC
LocationLexington, KY
Head coachJohn Calipari (5th year)
ArenaRupp Arena
(Capacity: 23,500)
NicknameWildcats
Student sectioneRUPPtion Zone
Colors

Blue and White

            
Uniforms
Kit body thinsidesonwhite.png
Home jersey
Kit shorts blanksides2.png
Team colours
Home
Kit body thinwhitesides.png
Away jersey
Kit shorts whitesides.png
Team colours
Away
Pre-tournament Helms champions
1933
NCAA Tournament champions
1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012
NCAA Tournament runner up
1966, 1975, 1997
NCAA Tournament Final Four
1942, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1966, 1975, 1978, 1984, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2011, 2012
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1942, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1951, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012
NCAA Tournament appearances
1942, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012
Conference tournament champions
1921, 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, 2010, 2011 (Note: There was no SEC tourney from 1953–1978.)
Conference regular season champions
1926, 1932, 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, 2010, 2012
 
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Kentucky Wildcats
2013–14 Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team
Kentucky Wildcats athletic logo
UniversityUniversity of Kentucky
ConferenceSEC
LocationLexington, KY
Head coachJohn Calipari (5th year)
ArenaRupp Arena
(Capacity: 23,500)
NicknameWildcats
Student sectioneRUPPtion Zone
Colors

Blue and White

            
Uniforms
Kit body thinsidesonwhite.png
Home jersey
Kit shorts blanksides2.png
Team colours
Home
Kit body thinwhitesides.png
Away jersey
Kit shorts whitesides.png
Team colours
Away
Pre-tournament Helms champions
1933
NCAA Tournament champions
1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996, 1998, 2012
NCAA Tournament runner up
1966, 1975, 1997
NCAA Tournament Final Four
1942, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1958, 1966, 1975, 1978, 1984, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2011, 2012
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1942, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1951, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2010, 2011, 2012
NCAA Tournament appearances
1942, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1951, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012
Conference tournament champions
1921, 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, 2010, 2011 (Note: There was no SEC tourney from 1953–1978.)
Conference regular season champions
1926, 1932, 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, 2010, 2012

The Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team is a college basketball team representing the University of Kentucky. Kentucky has both the most all-time wins (2118) and the highest all-time winning percentage in the history of college basketball (.762). Kentucky's all-time record currently stands at 2118–663. Kentucky also leads all schools in total NCAA tournament appearances with 52, is first in NCAA tournament wins with 111, and ranks second to UCLA in NCAA championships with 8. In addition to these titles, Kentucky also has won the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in both 1946 and 1976, making them the only school to win multiple NCAA and NIT championships. The Wildcats have played in a record 52 NCAA Tournaments, in a record 157 NCAA Tournament games, have a NCAA record 39 Sweet-16 appearances, a NCAA record 34 Elite-8 appearances, and have a NCAA record 61 total post-season tournament appearances (NCAA and NIT). Further, Kentucky has played in 15 Final Fours (tied with Duke for 3rd place all time), and has 11 NCAA Championship Game appearances (second all time to UCLA), winning 8 NCAA Championships (second all time to UCLA). Kentucky also leads all schools with 57 20-win seasons, 13 30-win seasons, and is the only school with 5 different NCAA Championship coaches (Rupp, Hall, Pitino, Smith, Calipari).[1][2][3]

The Wildcats play their home games in Rupp Arena, a facility named for their former coach, Adolph Rupp. Rupp Arena is the largest arena in the United States built specifically for basketball, with an official capacity of 23,500. As a result, Kentucky consistently ranks first in the nation in home game attendance.[4] The team's huge fan base is often referred to as the "Big Blue Nation" or the "Big Blue Mist", the latter because the fans typically engulf tournament and neutral-site venues. Likewise, the team itself is often referred to as the "Big Blue". In the 1980s the team was credited with popularizing Midnight Madness.

On April 1, 2009, John Calipari was formally announced as Kentucky's 22nd men's head basketball coach, replacing Billy Gillispie.[5]

Eras of Wildcats Basketball[edit]

Pre-Rupp (1903–1930)[edit]

Records indicate that the first head coach of the Wildcats was W.W.H. Mustaine, who in 1903 called together some students, took up a collection totaling $3 for a ball, and told the students to start playing.[6] The first recorded intercollegiate game at the college was a 15–6 defeat to nearby Georgetown College. The team went 1–2 for their first "season," also losing to Kentucky University (later Transylvania University) but defeating the Lexington YMCA.[7]

Through 1908, the team did not manage a winning season, and had an all-time record of 15–29. In the fall of 1909, the faculty athletic senate voted to abolish the men’s basketball program at Kentucky, due to a poor record and an overcrowded gym. As a reaction to this, the University of Kentucky students presented the board of trustees with a solution to the overcrowding. The plan was for a wooden floor and new lighting to be installed in the Armory. To address the poor record of the past teams, the university's head football coach, E.R. Sweetland was named head coach. This made him the first paid coach in Kentucky’s basketball history.[8] That year, the team went 5–4, and only three years later, boasted their first undefeated season with nine victories and no losses.[9]

George Buchheit and the "Wonder Team"[edit]

The 1921 "Wonder Team"

In 1919, George Buchheit became the new head coach of the Wildcats. An alumnus of the University of Illinois, he brought with him a new system of basketball. The "Buchheit system" or "Illinois system," focused on defense and featured one player standing under each basket, while three roamed the court. Buckheit varied the system he learned in Illinois in one important way. While the Illini employed a zone defense, Buchheit's system used an aggressive man-to-man scheme. On offense, he used a complicated system of passing called the "zig-zag" or "figure eight" offense.[10]

Although the team had a losing season in Buchheit's first year, they won the first-ever Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament the next year, defeating the heavily favored Georgia Bulldogs. Both of these teams were composed entirely of native Kentuckians, anchored by All-American Basil Hayden. The tournament victory was considered Kentucky's first major success, and the 1921 team became known as the "Wonder Team."[11]

In 1922, the team was unable to build on the success of the "Wonder Team." Although every player was eligible in 1922, two key players, Hayden and Sam Ridgeway, were injured before the start of the season. Hayden returned from his knee injury during the season, but was never able to play at the level he had the previous year. Ridgeway fought a year-long battle with diphtheria, and although he recovered, never played for the Wildcats again. The remaining three members of the "Wonder Team" went 9–5 for the season, and bowed out of the SIAA tournament in the second round.[12]

The team falters[edit]

Buchheit remained as coach through the 1924 season before moving on to coach Trinity College (later Duke University). A different coach would guide the team for each of the next four years. C.O. Applegran immediately followed Buchheit, and his 1925 team posted a respectable 13–8 record. The next year, Ray Eklund led the team to a 15–3 record, and produced UK's second All-American, Burgess Carey.[13]

Seeing the cupboard largely bare for the upcoming year, Eklund resigned shortly before the start of the 1927 season. The team scrambled to find a new coach, and former player Basil Hayden left his coaching job at Kentucky Wesleyan College to answer the call. An inexperienced coach and a roster largely depleted of talent left the Wildcats with a 3–13 record that year. The disappointment convinced Hayden that he wasn't the "coaching type," and he resigned after the season. Fortunately for the Wildcats, 1927 would be their last losing season for six decades.[14]

The Mauermen[edit]

The Wildcats' new coach for the 1928 season was John Mauer. Although he had a talented group of players moving up from the junior varsity team, Mauer quickly discovered that his players didn't know the fundamentals of the game. He began a regimen of three-hour practices five days a week during the preseason. The practice began with half an hour of shooting drills and usually ended with a full-court scrimmage. Between the two, Mauer worked on skill drills and scenarios. Mauer's teams were nicknamed the "Mauermen."[15]

Teamwork was the hallmark of Mauer's system. Every player worked on every aspect of the game; there were no specialists. Like Buchheit, Mauer employed a strong man-to-man defense. He utilized a slow-break offense that relied on a complicated system of short passes to get a good shot. Two elements of Mauer's system were new to basketball in the south – the offensive screen and the bounce pass. The latter was so new to most of UK's opponents that it was referred to as the "submarine attack."[16]

Over his three-year tenure, Mauer led the Wildcats to an overall record of 40–14. One major prize eluded him, however. Despite having teams that were almost universally acknowledged as the "class of the South," Mauer never led a team to the Southern Conference title. Despite his innate ability for coaching, Mauer lacked the ability to heighten his team's emotions for a big game, a fault that was cited as the reason for his lack of tournament success. Mauer left the Wildcats to coach the Miami University Redskins following the 1930 season.[17]

Adolph Rupp (1930–1972)[edit]

In 1930, the university hired Adolph Rupp, who had played as a reserve for the University of Kansas 1922 and 1923 Helms National Championship teams,[18] under coach Forest C. "Phog" Allen. At the time of his hiring, Rupp was a high school coach in Freeport, Illinois.[6]

Rupp coached the University of Kentucky men's basketball team from 1930 to 1972. There, he gained the nicknames, "Baron of the Bluegrass", and "The Man in the Brown Suit". Rupp, who was an early innovator of the fast break and set offense, quickly gained a reputation as an intense competitor, a strict motivator, and a fine strategist, often driving his teams to great levels of success. Rupp's Wildcat teams won 4 NCAA championships (1948, 1949, 1951, 1958), one NIT title in 1946, appeared in 20 NCAA tournaments, had 6 NCAA Final Four appearances, captured 27 Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season titles, and won 13 SEC tournaments. Rupp's Kentucky teams also finished ranked No. 1 on 6 occasions in the final Associated Press college basketball poll and 4 times in the United Press International (Coaches) poll. In addition, Rupp's 1966 Kentucky squad (nicknamed "Rupp's Runts", as no starting player on the squad was taller than 6'5") finished runner-up in the NCAA tournament, and his 1947 Wildcats finished runner-up in the NIT. Further, Rupp's 1933 and 1954 Kentucky squads were also awarded the Helms National Championship.[3][19][20]

Rupp was the head coach at Kentucky during the year of the point shaving scandal of 1951. On October 20, 1951, former Kentucky players Alex Groza, Ralph Beard, and Dale Barnstable were arrested for taking bribes from gamblers to shave points during the National Invitation Tournament game against the Loyola Ramblers in the 1948–49 season.[21] This game occurred during the same year that Kentucky won their second straight NCAA title under Rupp.[22] Rupp and the university were criticized by the presiding judge, Saul Streit, for creating an atmosphere for the violations to occur and for "failing in his duty to observe the amateur rules, to build character, and to protect the morals and health of his charges".[23] Rupp denied any knowledge of the point shaving and no evidence was ever brought against him to show he was connected to the incident in any way.[24]

At the conclusion of this scandal, a subsequent NCAA investigation found that Kentucky had committed several rule violations, including giving illegal spending money to players on several occasions, and also allowing some ineligible athletes to compete.[24] As a result, the Southeastern Conference voted to ban Kentucky from competing for a year and the NCAA requested all other basketball-playing members not to schedule Kentucky, with eventually none doing so.[25] As a result of these actions, Kentucky was forced to cancel the entire 1952–53 basketball season. Years later, Walter Byers, the first executive director of the NCAA, unofficially referred to this punishment as the first de facto NCAA death penalty, despite the current rule first coming into effect in 1985, thus the NCAA having no such enforcement power previous to that.[26][27] Echoing Mr. Byers' view, the NCAA's official stance is very much the same, and they now state in hindsight, "In effect, it was the Association’s first death penalty, though its enforcement was binding only through constitutional language that required members to compete against only those schools that were compliant with NCAA rules. Despite fears that it would resist, Kentucky accepts the penalty and, in turn, gives the NCAA credibility to enforce its rules."[28]

The team returned with a vengeance the next year, posting a perfect 25–0 record (Rupp's only undefeated season), for which it was awarded the 1954 Helms National Championship. In addition, Kentucky also finished ranked #1 in the final Associated Press poll. On the team were three players who had graduated at the conclusion of the previous academic year. When, at the last minute, the NCAA ruled these players ineligible from post-season play, Rupp decided to skip the 1954 NCAA Tournament in protest.[29]

Rupp's last Final Four team and one of his last chances at a 5th NCAA title occurred in the 1965–66 season, with Kentucky going all the way to the NCAA title game. The now historic 1966 NCAA championship game against Texas Western (now University of Texas-El Paso or UTEP) marked the first occurrence that an all-white starting five (Kentucky) played an all-black starting five (Texas Western) in the NCAA championship game. Texas Western won the game 72–65, on the night of March 19, 1966. This game, and the result of it, were especially significant as the game came at a time when the civil rights movement was coming into full swing around the country. In 1969, after actively recruiting black players for over six years (despite most of the other SEC teams threatening to boycott if a black player took the court), Rupp finally signed his first black player, Tom Payne, an athletic 7'-1" center out of Louisville. This ended the aspect of all-white Kentucky teams forever, and marked a new era with many notable black Kentucky basketball legends, including Jack Givens, Sam Bowie, Kenny Walker, Jamal Mashburn, Tayshaun Prince, Rajon Rondo, John Wall, and Anthony Davis.[30]

Rupp was forced into retirement in March 1972, after reaching age 70. At the time, this was the mandatory retirement age for all University of Kentucky employees. He was a 5-time National Coach-of-the-Year award winner, a 7-time Conference Coach-of-the-Year award winner, and was elected a member of both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and College Basketball Hall of Fame. Further, since 1972, the Adolph Rupp Trophy, considered one of the nation's premier basketball awards, has been given by Commonwealth Athletic Club to the nation's top men's college basketball player. In addition, the University of Kentucky retired a jersey in his honor in the rafters of Rupp Arena, a 23,500-seat arena named after him, dedicated in 1976.[3][19]

Joe B. Hall (1972–1985)[edit]

Joe B. Hall was the head basketball coach at Kentucky from 1972 to 1985. Although he had been an assistant at Kentucky since 1965, Coach Hall was given a difficult task: to follow in the footsteps of his legendary predecessor, Adolph Rupp. In the 1978 NCAA Tournament, he coached the Wildcats to their fifth NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship. He was named National Coach of the Year in 1978 and SEC Coach of the Year on four different occasions. His record at UK was 297–100, and 373–156 over his career.

Along with the 1978 title, Hall also guided Kentucky to a runner-up finish to UCLA in the 1975 NCAA tournament (which included an upset of heavily favored and previously undefeated Indiana in a regional final), a Final Four appearance in the 1984 NCAA Tournament (losing to eventual champion Georgetown), and an NIT championship in 1976. He won eight SEC regular season championships and one SEC tournament championship (1984). (In this context, the SEC abolished its conference tournament in 1953 and did not reinstate it until 1979.)

Coach Hall is one of only three men to both play on a NCAA championship team (1949– Kentucky) and coach a NCAA championship team (1978– Kentucky), and the only one to do so for the same school. The only others to achieve this feat are:

Eddie Sutton (1985–1989)[edit]

In 1985, Eddie Sutton succeeded Joe B. Hall. He coached the Wildcats for four years, leading them to the Elite Eight of the 1986 NCAA Tournament. Two seasons later, Sutton and the 25–5 Wildcats captured their 37th SEC title and were ranked as the 6th college basketball team in the nation by the Associated Press and UPI[31][32] before losing to Villanova in the Tournament.

Kentucky entered the 1988–89 season with a gutted roster. Ed Davender, Robert Lock and Winston Bennett had all graduated from school, while All-SEC sophomore Rex Chapman left school early to enter the 1988 NBA Draft. Additionally, sophomore standout Eric Manuel was suspected of cheating on his college entrance exam and voluntarily agreed to sit out until the investigation was finished. Potential franchise recruit Shawn Kemp transferred out of Kentucky after signing with the school early that year.[33] Unfortunately, Manuel was forced to sit out the entire season as the investigation dragged on, essentially leaving the Wildcats in the hands of inexperienced sophomore LeRon Ellis and true freshman Chris Mills. The two underclassmen struggled to fill the talent vacuum on the court and the Wildcats finished with a losing record of 13–19, the team's first losing full-season record since 1927.[32] To add insult to injury, the NCAA announced at the end of the season that its investigation into the basketball program had found the school guilty of violating numerous NCAA policies.[34]

The scandal broke when Emery Worldwide employees claimed to have discovered $1,000 in cash in an envelope Kentucky assistant coach Dwane Casey sent to Mills' father.[35] Later Emery settled a libel lawsuit filed by Casey for a substantial amount of money. Casey was not in Lexington when the envelope was supposedly mailed and the father of Mills said they received no money. The NCAA rescinded it’s show cause order immediately after the settlement of the lawsuit, and Casey’s career has flourished as an NBA coach.[36] Another player, Eric Manuel, was alleged to have received improper assistance on his college entrance exams and was banned from NCAA competition. That allegation has been considered to be very shaky.[37] Kentucky was already on probation stemming from allegations of an extensive scheme of payments to recruits, and the NCAA seriously considered hitting the Wildcats with the "death penalty", which would have shut down the entire basketball program (as opposed to simply being banned from postseason play) for up to two years. However, school president David Roselle forced Sutton and athletic director Cliff Hagan to resign. The Wildcats were slapped with three years' probation, a two-year ban from postseason play and a ban from live television in 1989–90.[38]

Rick Pitino (1989–1997)[edit]

In 1989, Rick Pitino left the NBA's New York Knicks and became the coach at a Kentucky program reeling from the aforementioned scandal. Pitino quickly restored Kentucky's reputation and performance, leading his second school to the Final Four in the 1993 NCAA Tournament, and winning a national title in the 1996 NCAA Tournament, Kentucky's first NCAA championship in 18 years. The following year, Pitino's Kentucky team made it back to the national title game, losing to Arizona in overtime in the finals of the 1997 NCAA Tournament. Pitino's fast-paced teams at Kentucky were favorites of the school's fans. It was primarily at Kentucky where he implemented his signature style of full-court pressure defense.

Pitino left Kentucky in 1997 to coach the NBA's Boston Celtics, he then went on to coach Kentucky's in-state rival, the University of Louisville.

Orlando "Tubby" Smith (1997–2007)[edit]

Orlando "Tubby" Smith was introduced by UK Athletic Director C.M. Newton as the Wildcats' 20th head coach on May 12, 1997, charged with the unenviable task of replacing popular coach Rick Pitino. The Wildcats were at the top of the basketball world at the time, having won a national title in 1996 and, according to many, missing a second straight title in 1997 by the torn ACL of shooting guard Derek Anderson.[39] (Anderson tore his ACL in January against SEC foe Auburn; Kentucky lost the 1997 title game in overtime to the Arizona Wildcats.) The team Smith inherited sported seven players from the Arizona loss, and five from the 1996 championship team. However, since most of the players who had left after the 1996 and 1997 seasons were high NBA draft picks, his team had the lowest pre-season ranking since Kentucky came off probation in 1991.[40]

In his first season at UK, he coached the Wildcats to their seventh NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, including a come-from-behind victory against Duke in the Elite Eight. His 1998 National Championship is unique in modern times, as being along with 1985 Villanova the 2nd team in over twenty years to win without a First Team All American or future NBA Lottery Pick. (see 1998 NCAA Tournament).

Smith's teams, known primarily for a defense-oriented slower style of play coined "Tubbyball", received mixed reviews among Kentucky fans who have historically enjoyed a faster, higher-scoring style of play under previous coaches. Smith was also under pressure from Kentucky fans to recruit better players.

Smith led Kentucky to one National Championship in 1998, a perfect 16–0 regular season conference record in 2003, five SEC regular season championships (1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005) and five SEC Tournament titles (1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004), with six Sweet Sixteen finishes and four Elite Eight finishes (1998, 1999, 2003, 2005) in his ten seasons. He totaled 100 wins quicker than any other Wildcat coach before him except Hall of Famer Adolph Rupp, reaching the plateau in 130 games (John Calipari subsequently broke this record in 114 games). In 2005, he was also named AP Coach of the Year.

Although Smith compiled an impressive resume during his UK career, he came under considerable pressure from many UK fans, who believed that his failure to achieve even a single Final Four appearance in his last nine seasons was inadequate by UK standards. This drought is the longest of any coach in UK history,[41] although Tubby did come just a double-overtime loss short of another Final Four appearance in 2005. On March 22, 2007, Smith resigned his position of UK Head Coach to accept the head coach position at the University of Minnesota.[42]

Billy Gillispie (2007–2009)[edit]

On April 6, 2007, Billy Gillispie was formally announced as the new head coach of the University of Kentucky by UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart. He fielded questions from the media during the press conference held at UK's new practice facility, the Joe Craft Center. He expressed his excitement and joy to be not only considered for the position but to have been given the honor and the opportunity to coach what former UK coach Rick Pitino referred to as the "Roman Empire" of college basketball. "I'm very, very grateful and honored to be here, but we have a lot of work to do."[43] Gillispie became only the sixth head coach in the last 76 years at the school.[44]

Gillispie's second season again started out rocky in 2008 as the 'Cats fell to VMI in their season opener. The second game of the season saw the Wildcats fall to North Carolina by 19 points. UK rebounded to win 11 of their next 12 games, improving their record to 11–3. On January 4, the Wildcats lost a heart breaker to arch rival Louisville 74–71 after a 25 ft. shot by Edgar Sosa with 2.3 seconds remaining in the game. Prior to the shot, UK was down 7 with 38.5 seconds left, and Jodie Meeks was fouled shooting a three, proceeded to make all three free throw shots, Patrick Patterson stole an inbound and passed it to Jodie Meeks who laid it in to bring the game to 71–69 with 29.6 left, and then an inbound pass went long and Jodie Meeks snatched the pass, drove to the hoop and was fouled, and then made both free throws to tie the game at 71 with 22.9 left. So all in all, UK and Jodie Meeks got seven points in about 15 seconds to tie the game.[45] Kentucky disposed of Vanderbilt to win their SEC opener on January 10 70–60. On January 13, in a road game against Tennessee, Jodie Meeks set a new Kentucky scoring record by dropping 54 points on the Volunteers. This total bested Dan Issel's 39-year-old scoring record by 1 point, and propelled UK to a 90–72 win and 2–0 start in league play.[46] Kentucky followed up this effort with a 68–45 victory at Georgia, improving to 14–4 on the season. With wins over Auburn and Alabama, Kentucky moved to 5–0 in the SEC. On January 26, UK was ranked in the AP Poll (24th) for the first time since week 1 of the 2007–2008 season.[47] UK promptly dropped 3 in a row (to Ole Miss, South Carolina, & Mississippi State) before rebounding at home with a thrilling 68–65 win over Florida. Jodie Meeks scored 23 points in the contest, including the fade-away contested 3 point basket with less than 5 seconds remaining to seal the win for UK. On Valentine's Day Kentucky handily defeated Arkansas at Bud Walton Arena 79–63 behind another strong performance from Jodie Meeks. Meeks contributed 45 points and helped UK win despite the absence of Patrick Patterson (sprained ankle). With the win, UK remained tied with South Carolina and Tennessee for 1st in the SEC East at 7–3.[48] Following the win UK completely collapsed, losing 5 of its last 6 games to finish the regular season 19–12 with an 8–8 SEC record. Entering the SEC tournament many felt UK would need to win the championship game to get into the NCAA tournament, but UK was defeated in the second game vs. LSU. With an unimpressive regular season and quick elimination in the SEC tournament, UK did indeed miss the NCAA tournament for the first time in 18 years and instead received an invitation to the NIT tournament where the team was defeated in the quarterfinal round against Notre Dame.[49][50]

On March 27, 2009 an 18 minute long meeting occurred between Billy Gillispie, President Dr. Lee Todd, Jr. and Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart, after which it was announced that Gillispie would not be returning as the head coach the next season. Barnhart stressed the firing was due to more than wins and losses, citing "philosophical differences" and "a clear gap in how the rules and responsibilities overseeing the program are viewed".[51]

John Calipari (2009–present)[edit]

On April 1, 2009, John Calipari replaced Billy Gillispie as the Wildcats head coach. To begin his tenure at the University of Kentucky, John Calipari signed one of the best all time recruiting classes.[52] The class was headlined by four five-star recruits: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton, and Eric Bledsoe.[53] On December 19, 2009, the Wildcats defeated Austin Peay 90–69 extending their record to 11–0, and John Calipari broke Adolph Rupp's record for the most consecutive wins to start a season for a first-year head coach at Kentucky. Kentucky defeated the Drexel Dragons 88–44 on December 21, 2009 to become the first program in college basketball history to claim their 2000th victory.[54] By January 25, 2010, Coach "Cal" had the University of Kentucky ranked No. 1 in both the ESPN/Coaches poll and AP poll with a record of 19–0.[55] By this point, these feats were not even considered his greatest accomplishment at the school,[citation needed] as John Calipari had raised in excess of $1.5 million to aid the country of Haiti during the aftermath of a natural disaster. President Barack Obama called the Wildcats to thank them for their relief efforts and wish them luck in their future endeavors. To finish off the 2009–10 regular season, Kentucky won its 44th SEC regular season championship (with a final 14–2 SEC record), and won its 26th Southeastern Conference Basketball Tournament Championship, beating Mississippi State in the finals. The Wildcats then received a No. 1 seed (their 10th No. 1 seed in history) in the East Regional of the NCAA Tournament, where they eventually lost to West Virginia in the Elite Eight. This also marked Kentucky's record 50th NCAA Tournament appearance.

In 2011 he led the Wildcats to their 27th SEC Tournament Title. He led them to a No. 4 seed on the East regional where they knocked off the No. 1 seed Ohio State Buckeyes and No. 2 seed North Carolina Tar Heels on their way to the school's 14th Final Four. They lost in the Final Four to eventual National Champion No. 3 seed UConn 56–55.

In the 2011–2012 season, he led Kentucky to being 16–0 in SEC regular season play, clinching its 45th SEC regular season championship. The last team to do so in the SEC was the 2002–2003 Kentucky Wildcats, and before that, the 1995–1996 Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky's regular season record was 30–1, with its only loss being by one point coming from a 3-pointer buzzer-beater by Indiana University's Christian Watford at Indiana University's Assembly Hall on December 10, 2011. In the SEC Tournament, Kentucky fell to Vanderbilt University in the championship game, making its overall record 32–2 going into the NCAA Tournament.Kentucky was both selected as the No. 1 seed in the South Region and also the No. 1 seed overall of the entire NCAA Tournament. The Sweet 16 match-up on March 23, 2012 was a rematch against the Indiana Hoosiers, in which this time the Wildcats prevailed over the Hoosiers 102–90. On March 25, 2012, Kentucky won the South Regional, setting up a Final Four semifinal with the University of Louisville. Calipari's Wildcats defeated the Louisville Cardinals (coached by former Kentucky Wildcat coach Rick Pitino) by a score of 69–61. This sent Kentucky to the National Championship game against the University of Kansas Jayhawks, where they defeated Kansas 67–59, winning UK's 8th NCAA championship, along with John Calipari's first NCAA Championship as a head coach. This Kentucky team had a record six players drafted in the 2012 NBA Draft, including the first time two teammates have been chosen with the first two picks: Anthony Davis (1st overall), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2nd), Terrence Jones (18th), Marquis Teague (29th), Doron Lamb (42nd) and Darius Miller (46th).

John Calipari's record at Kentucky[edit]

SeasonTeamOverallConferenceStandingPostseason
John Calipari (Southeastern Conference) (2009–present)
2009–10Kentucky35–314–21st (East)NCAA Elite Eight
2010–11Kentucky29–910–62nd (East)NCAA Final Four
2011–12Kentucky38–216–01stNCAA Champions
2012–13Kentucky21–1212–62ndNIT First Round
2013-14Kentucky7-2
John Calipari:130–2852-14
Total:130–28 (.823)

      National champion         Conference regular season champion         Conference tournament champion
      Conference regular season and conference tournament champion       Conference division champion

Season by season results[edit]

Coaches[edit]

The Wildcats have had 22 coaches in their 110-year history. John Calipari is the current coach. To date, 6 Wildcat coaches have won the National Coach-of-the-Year award: Adolph Rupp in 1950, 1954, 1959, 1966, and 1970, Joe B. Hall in 1978, Eddie Sutton in 1986, Rick Pitino in 1990 and 1992, Tubby Smith in 1998, 2003, and 2005, and John Calipari in 2012. Additionally, 7 Wildcat coaches have been named Southeastern Conference Coach-of-the-Year: Adolph Rupp in 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1972, Joe B. Hall in 1973, 1975, 1978 and 1983, Eddie Sutton in 1986, Rick Pitino in 1990, 1991 and 1996, Tubby Smith in 1998, 2003, and 2005, Billy Gillispie in 2008, and John Calipari in 2010 and 2012.[2]

Postseason results[edit]

National championships[edit]

The following is a list of Kentucky's 8 National Championships:

YearCoachOpponentScoreRecord
1948Adolph RuppBaylor58–4236–3
1949Adolph RuppOklahoma State46–3632–2
1951Adolph RuppKansas State68–5832–2
1958Adolph RuppSeattle84–7223–6
1978Joe B. HallDuke94–8830–2
1996Rick PitinoSyracuse76–6734–2
1998Tubby SmithUtah78–6935–4
2012John CalipariKansas67–5938–2
National Championships8
1948 NCAA Tournament Results
RoundOpponentScore
Elite 8Columbia76–51
Final 4Holy Cross60- 35
ChampionshipBaylor58–40
1949 NCAA Tournament Results
RoundOpponentScore
Elite 8Villanova85–72
Final 4Illinois76–47
ChampionshipOklahoma State46–36
1951 NCAA Tournament Results
RoundOpponentScore
Sweet 16Louisville79–68
Elite 8St. John's59–43
Final 4Illinois76–74
ChampionshipKansas State68–58
1958 NCAA Tournament Results
RoundOpponentScore
Sweet 16Miami (OH)94–70
Elite 8Notre Dame89–56
Final 4Temple61–60
ChampionshipSeattle84–72
1978 NCAA Tournament Results
RoundOpponentScore
Round No. 1Florida State85–76
Sweet 16Miami (OH)91–69
Elite EightMichigan State52–49
Final 4Arkansas64–59
ChampionshipDuke94–88
1996 NCAA Tournament Results
RoundOpponentScore
Round No. 1San Jose State110–72
Round No. 2Virginia Tech84–60
Sweet 16Utah101–70
Elite 8Wake Forest83–63
Final 4UMass81–74
ChampionshipSyracuse76–67
1998 NCAA Tournament Results
RoundOpponentScore
Round No. 1South Carolina State82–67
Round No. 2Saint Louis88–61
Sweet 16UCLA94–68
Elite 8Duke86–84
Final 4Stanford86–85 OT
ChampionshipUtah78–69
2012 NCAA Tournament Results
RoundOpponentScore
Round No. 2Western Kentucky81–66
Round No. 3Iowa State87–71
Sweet 16Indiana102–90
Elite 8Baylor82–70
Final 4Louisville69–61
ChampionshipKansas67–59

Final Four history[edit]

1942-Semifinalist1948-Champion1949-Champion1951-Champion
1958-Champion1966-Finalist1975-Finalist1978-Champion
1984-Semifinalist1993-Semifinalist1996-Champion1997-Finalist
1998-Champion2011-Semifinalist2012-Champion

NCAA Tournament Seeding History[edit]

The NCAA began seeding the tournament with the 1979 edition.

Years →'80'81'82'83'84'85'86'87'88'89'90'91'92'93'94'95'96'97'98'99'00'01'02'03'04'05'06'07'08'09'10'11'12'13
Seeds →1263112182---2131112352411*28811-141*-

The * represents overall number one seed which began with the 2004 Tournament.

Seeds in bold indicate NCAA Champions.

Wildcats of Note[edit]

Retired jerseys[edit]

Players:

Basil HaydenCarey SpicerForest SaleJohn DeMoisey No. 00Adrian Smith No. 50
Layton Rouse No. 26Ken Rollins No. 10Alex Groza No. 15Ralph Beard No. 12
Wallace Jones No. 27Cliff Barker No. 23Bill Spivey No. 77Cliff Hagan No. 6
Frank Ramsey No. 30Lou Tsioropoulos No. 16Billy Evans No. 42Gayle Rose No. 20
Jerry Bird No. 22Phil Grawemeyer No. 44Bob Burrow No. 52Vernon Hatton No. 50
Johnny Cox No. 24Cotton Nash No. 44Louie Dampier No. 10Pat Riley No. 42
Dan Issel No. 44Kevin Grevey No. 35Jack "Goose" Givens No. 21Rick Robey No. 53
Kyle Macy No. 4Sam Bowie No. 31Kenny "Sky" Walker No. 34Deron Feldhaus No. 12
John Pelphrey No. 34Richie Farmer No. 32Sean Woods No. 11Jamal Mashburn No. 24

Coaches:

Adolph RuppJoe B. HallRick Pitino

Contributors:

Cawood Ledford (radio commentator)Bill "Mr. Wildcat" Keightley (equipment manager)

Awards[edit]

National Coach of the Year:

SEC Coach of the Year:

National Player of the Year:

SEC Player of the Year:

National Freshman of the Year:

SEC Rookie of the Year:

NCAA Tournament MOP's:

SEC Tournament MVP's:

Wildcats in the NBA[edit]

PositionNameHeightWeight (lbs.)HometownDraft YearPickAll-StarsNBA ChampionshipsNBA Team
GEric Bledsoe6'1"190Birmingham, AL201018th00Phoenix Suns
GKeith Bogans6'5"215Washington, D.C.200343rd00Boston Celtics
CDeMarcus Cousins6'11"270Mobile, AL20105th00Sacramento Kings
CAnthony Davis6'11"225Chicago, IL20121st00New Orleans Pelicans
GArchie Goodwin (basketball)6'5"200Sylvania, AR201329th00Phoenix Suns
F-CJosh Harrellson6'10"275St. Charles, MO201145th00Detroit Pistons
F-CChuck Hayes6'6"238Modesto, CA2005UD00Sacramento Kings
FTerrence Jones6'9"252Portland, OR201218th00Houston Rockets
CEnes Kanter*6'11"255Istanbul, Turkey20113rd00Utah Jazz
FMichael Kidd-Gilchrist6'7"230Somerdale, NJ20122nd00Charlotte Bobcats
GBrandon Knight6'3"189Ft. Lauderdale, FL20118th00Milwaukee Bucks
GDoron Lamb6'4"210Queens, NY201242nd00Orlando Magic
G-FDeAndre Liggins6'6"195Chicago, IL201153rd00Oklahoma City Thunder
GJodie Meeks6'4"208Norcross, GA200941st00Los Angeles Lakers
FDarius Miller6'8"235Maysville, KY201246th00New Orleans Pelicans
CNazr Mohammed6'10"238Chicago, IL199829th01 (2005 San Antonio)Chicago Bulls
CNerlens Noel6'11"205Everett, MA20136th00Philadelphia 76ers
CDaniel Orton6'10"255Oklahoma City, OK201029th00Philadelphia 76ersr
FPatrick Patterson6'9"235Huntington, WV201014th00Sacramento Kings
FTayshaun Prince6'9"215Compton, CA200223rd01 (2004 Detroit)Memphis Grizzlies
GRajon Rondo6'1"176Louisville, KY200621st3 (2010, 2011, 2012)1 (2008 Boston)Boston Celtics
GMarquis Teague6'2"190Indianapolis, IN201229th00Chicago Bulls
GJohn Wall6'4"195Raleigh, NC20101st00Washington Wizards
  • Though he never played a game at Kentucky, Enes Kanter did attend the University for one-full academic year. He also was a part of the men's basketball team as a student assistant after it was announced he was ineligible by the NCAA.
Wildcats in the NBA
NBA Draft Selections
Total selected:108
Lottery Picks in Draft:16
1st round:36
No. 1 Picks:2
Notable Achievements
Olympic Gold Medal Winners:12
NBA Champions:13 players a total of 20 times
Naismith Basketball-Hall-of-Famers:9

Memorable teams[edit]

  • The Fabulous Five: The 1948 team not only won the NCAA title, but provided the core of the United States 1948 Olympic team that won the gold medal in the London Games. A year later in 1949, the same team would repeat as champions, giving both Rupp and Kentucky their second title, a feat that only Oklahoma A&M (Now Oklahoma State) had previously achieved.
  • A Dynasty: In 1951 under the guidance of players such as Cliff Hagan and Bill Spivey, Kentucky would gain a record of 32-2, and 14-0 in the SEC. They would then go on to win Kentucky its 3rd title in only four years, making it the first "Dynasty" in college basketball.
  • The Undefeated: Which went 25–0 in the regular season and defeated LSU in a playoff to earn the Southeastern Conference bid to the NCAA tournament. However, several of the team's players had technically graduated during the 1954 season and were prohibited from tournament play. Despite the wishes of the players, Rupp refused to allow the team to play in the tournament, thus leading to the team's reputation as one of the best teams ever to fail to win an NCAA title.[56]
  • The Fiddlin' Five: The 1958 team was given its nickname by Rupp due to his perception that they tended to "fiddle" early in games. However, they would right their ship in time to give Rupp his fourth and last national title.
  • Rupp's Runts: The 1966 team, with no starter taller than 6'5", was arguably the most beloved in UK history. Despite its lack of size, it used devastating defensive pressure and a fast-paced offense to take a 27–1 record and top national ranking into the NCAA final against Texas Western. With the Kentucky team devastated by the flu, however, the Miners would deny Rupp another title. For more details on the game, see the articles for Rupp and the Miners' coach, Don Haskins. Future NBA coach and Hall-of Famer Pat Riley was a starter on this team. So was ABA and NBA star Louie Dampier. Both players were named All-Americans in 1966. Sportscaster Larry Conley was also a starter, along with Tom Kron and Thad Jaracz. All five starters were All-SEC selections in 1966.
  • The Season Without Celebration: Going into the 1977–78 season, the Wildcats faced perhaps the most suffocating expectations of any UK team. As freshmen, that year's senior class lost in the 1975 final to UCLA in John Wooden's final game as the Bruins' head coach. The seniors had an outstanding supporting cast, and most Kentucky fans would have accepted nothing less than a national title. Despite its successful run to the title, the team was widely criticized, especially by its own fans, for being too serious and focused, giving rise to the "season without celebration" moniker. Much of the criticism was directed at Head Coach Joe B. Hall, who felt under tremendous pressure from fans and boosters to win the championship, and didn't let up in his quest.
  • The Unforgettables: This refers to the 1992 team, and more specifically, to the team's four seniors, Richie Farmer, Deron Feldhaus, John Pelphrey, and Sean Woods. During their senior year, after a two-year absence from postseason play due to NCAA probation, they led the Cats to a deep run in the NCAA tournament, losing 104–103 in the East Regional final to Duke in an overtime game often called the greatest game in NCAA basketball history.[3][4] Adding to the team's popularity was the fact that three (Farmer, Feldhaus, Pelphrey) of the four seniors were from small towns in the eastern half of Kentucky. The quartet's jerseys (not their numbers) were retired by UK immediately after the Duke loss; it is very unusual for any team to retire a jersey so quickly after a player's career is finished.
  • Mardi Gras Miracle: Although the 1994 season would be quite a disappointment in terms of the NCAA Tournament (only non-probation year Pitino failed to take the Cats to at least the Elite Eight), this season is best known for the Wildcats' 31-point comeback at LSU. Down 68–37 with less than sixteen minutes left in the game, Kentucky outscored LSU 62–27 to win 99–95 in one of the greatest comebacks in NCAA basketball history.[5]
This team became the first SEC team in 40 years to go through SEC regular season undefeated. Kentucky would repeat this feat in 2003 and 2012. After losing in the SEC Tournament final against Mississippi State, Kentucky would make a dominating run to the Final Four. They avenged an early-season loss to UMass in the NCAA National Semifinals, and then defeated Syracuse in the NCAA Championship game. Many of the players on this great Kentucky team returned the following season.
  • The Unbelievables: The 1997 team just missed repeating as NCAA Champions when they lost to Arizona in overtime in the NCAA Championship game. The nickname comes from the fact that early on in the season, very few UK fans gave Kentucky much of a chance of repeating their magical 1996 season. This nickname also gained in importance as the team only had 9 available players for the 1997 NCAA Tournament, largely due to injury, NBA draft picks, and transfers.
  • The Comeback Cats: The 1998 NCAA National Champions, in head coach Tubby Smith's first year at Kentucky, earned this nickname in their last three games. In the South Regional final against Duke, they gained a measure of payback against Duke for the 1992 defeat, coming back from a 17-point deficit with 9:38 remaining. In the national semifinal, they came back from a double-digit halftime deficit again, this time against Stanford. In the final against Utah, they became the first team to come back from a double-digit halftime deficit in the final game.
  • The 8th Wonders[57] or The Undeniables[citation needed]: The 2012 NCAA National Champions, coached by head coach John Calipari, in his third year at Kentucky, earned this nickname due to their remarkable teamwork and overall quest for a NCAA Championship, and for being a team that started three freshman and two sophomores. For much of the season the team was ranked #1 in both the major polls, and also went undefeated in SEC regular season conference play (16–0). Kentucky stormed to the program's 8th NCAA Tournament Championship, winning their six NCAA Tournament games by an average of 10 points and never trailing in the second half. The team set an NCAA record with 38 wins in a season, and finished with a final ranking of #1 in both major polls. The team won the national championship with three one-and-done freshmen, and two sophomores that also declared for the NBA draft after the season. The team also set two new records for the NBA draft: the first time two players from the same school ever went as the first and second draft picks (No. 1 was Anthony Davis and No. 2 was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist), and the most players taken in a single two-round draft (six players:

Three point streak[edit]

The Wildcats have gone 870 consecutive games (non-exhibition) with at least one three-point field goal made,[59] as of December 6, 2013, the third longest such streak in the nation. Only UNLV and Vanderbilt have a longer active such streak in men's college basketball.

Facilities[edit]

Rupp Arena

Rupp Arena (1976–present)[edit]

The Kentucky Wildcats presently play their home games in 23,500-seat Rupp Arena, the largest arena in the United States built specifically for basketball. It was opened in 1976 and is named after legendary Kentucky head coach Adolph Rupp . Located off-campus, in downtown Lexington, the facility's official capacity is 23,500.[60] The Wildcats have consistently led the country in home attendance since the mid-1970s, and in the 2012-13 season, again led the nation in home attendance. This was Kentucky's 25th National Attendance title since the 1976–77 season (when Rupp Arena first opened), its 8th in a row, and its 17th in the last 18 seasons. Kentucky is an impressive 500–62 (.890) all-time at Rupp Arena.[61]

Joe Craft Center (2007–present)[edit]

In 2007, the university unveiled the Joe Craft Center, a state-of-the-art basketball practice facility and athletics office building attached to the north side of Memorial Coliseum on the "Avenue of Champions" at the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington, Kentucky.[61] The 102,000 ft² structure contains separate practice courts for the men's and women's basketball programs, separate men's and women's locker rooms, state-of-the-art video rooms for game film viewing, new coaches offices, a ticket office, and athletic administration offices.[62] As a result, Memorial Coliseum has more ample space for volleyball and gymnastics practice and games.The facility is named after Joe Craft, a Hazard, Kentucky native, who pledged $6 million towards the completion of the $30 million project.[63][64]

Memorial Coliseum (1950–76)[edit]

Coming off back-to-back national championships, the team moved to Memorial Coliseum in 1950. Nicknamed "The House That Rupp Built", the multipurpose facility cost $4 million and seated 12,000 people. It also housed a swimming pool, physical education equipment, and offices for the athletics staff. The team occupied Memorial Coliseum for twenty-six seasons, and sold out all 345 home game they played there during that period. Kentucky also played a 2009 NIT game at Memorial Coliseum due to Rupp Arena being booked. The Wildcats are 307–38 (.890) all-time at Memorial Coliseum.[60][61][65]

Alumni Gymnasium (1924–50)[edit]

In 1924, Alumni Gymnasium was completed. It included seating for 2,800 people and cost $92,000 to construct.[66] Kentucky played 271 games at Alumni Gymnasium from 1924 to 1950, going 247–24 (.911).[61][67]

Woodland Park Auditorium (1914–16)[edit]

Woodland Park Auditorium opened in 1906 and closed in 1941 it was located on the corner of East High Street and Kentucky Avenue in Lexington, KY. Kentucky used this facility for home games during World War I between 1914–1916 going 15–7 there all-time.[61][68]

A 1909 picture of Buell Armory Gymnasium (right side) and Alumni Hall (main building) on the campus of the University of Kentucky.

Buell Armory Gymnasium (1910–24)[edit]

The Wildcats played 84 home games at Buell Armory Gymnasium from 1910 to 1924. It was named for Union Civil War General Don Carlos Buell who was a member of the first board of trustees at Kentucky.[69] The armory was also used during World War I to teach truck maintenance and repair among other skills.[70] Kentucky was 59–25 all-time at Buell Armory Gymnasium.[71]

State College Gymnasium "The Gymnasium" first home basketball court used by the Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team in 1902.

State College Gymnasium (1902–14)[edit]

The first home court for the Wildcats was simply called "The Gymnasium" or State College Gymnasium until 1910. It was located in the north wing of Barker Hall on the university campus. Constructed in 1902, it also housed the university's physical education classes until 1909. The facility had a capacity of 650 people, and with no bleachers or seats, fans had to stand to watch the games that were played there.[66] By the 1920s, it had become clear that "The Gymnasium" (by then renamed "The Ladies' Gym") was inadequate to house the university's basketball team. Records show Kentucky was 17–14 at State College Gymnasium.[61][70][72]

Kentucky in the Louisville Metro Area[edit]

The Wildcats have played many neutral site games over the years at many sites in Louisville, KY. They are currently 127–34 (.789) all-time in the Louisville Metro Area. Only 19 of the 161 games Kentucky has played in Louisville were vs the Louisville Cardinals with Kentucky going 11–8 in those games. The Wildcats have won 9 SEC championships and an NCAA Championship in the city of Louisville.[61][73]

Jefferson County Armory (1937–56)[edit]

Kentucky played 72 games, all during the Rupp era, at the Jefferson County Armory from 1937 to 1956. The Wildcats were 61–11 all-time at the armory. They won 9 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament Championships from 1941 to 1952 at the armory which was renamed the Louisville Gardens in 1975. Kentucky made it to SEC Tournament Championship game all 12 years it was held at the armoury.[61][74]

Freedom Hall (1958–2012)[edit]

The Wildcats have played 78 games from 1958 to 2012 at Freedom Hall. They were 9–6 vs the Louisville Cardinals at Freedom Hall in the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry which was restarted in 1983. Kentucky first played in Freedom Hall in the Final Four of the 1958 NCAA Basketball Tournament, where they won the 1958 NCAA Championship under head coach Adolph Rupp. The Wildcats are 60–18 all-time at Freedom Hall.[61][75]

KFC Yum! Center (2010–2012)[edit]

Kentucky has played 4 games in the KFC Yum! Center, located in downtown Louisville, and currently possess a record in the building of 3–1. In their first game in the arena, Kentucky defeated Louisville in December 2010, 78–63. In March of 2012, Kentucky was able to play its Second and Third Round games of the NCAA Tournament in the arena. On March 15, 2012, Kentucky defeated Western Kentucky, 81–66, and then on March 17, 2012, Iowa State was bested by a final score of 87–71.[61][76] In Kentucky's most recent game in the arena in December 2012, UK received its first loss, falling in a 80–77 decision to Louisville.

Kentucky basketball cumulative all time statistics[edit]

  • All Time Wins: 2118 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • All Time Winning Percentage: .762 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • NCAA Championships: 8 (NCAA rank #2)[77]
  • NCAA Championship Game Appearances: 11 (NCAA rank #2)[77]
  • NCAA Final Four Appearances: 15 (NCAA rank #3)[77]
  • NCAA Final Four Games Played: 26 (NCAA rank #4)[77]
  • NCAA Final Four Wins: 19 (NCAA rank #2)[77]
  • NCAA Final Four Winning Percentage: .760 (NCAA rank #6)[77]
  • NCAA Elite-8 Appearances: 34 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • NCAA Sweet-16 Appearances: 39 (NCAA rank #1)[3]
  • NCAA Tournament Appearances: 52 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • NCAA Tournament Games Played: 157 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • NCAA Tournament Wins: 111 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • NCAA Tournament Winning Percentage: .707 (NCAA rank #5)[77]
  • Total Postseason Tournament Appearances (NCAA and NIT): 61 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • NBA Draft Picks: 108 (NCAA rank #1)[19]
  • All-Americans: 55 (NCAA rank #1)[78]
  • All-American Total Selections: 85 (NCAA rank #1)[78]
  • First Team Consensus All-Americans: 19 (NCAA rank #2)[79]
  • First Team Consensus All-American Total Selections: 24 (NCAA rank #4)[79]
  • AP Poll Top-20/25 Weeks Ranked All Time: 793 (NCAA rank #2)[80]
  • AP Poll Top-10 Weeks Ranked All Time: 634 (NCAA rank #1)[80]
  • AP Poll Top-5 Weeks Ranked All Time: 422 (NCAA rank #1)[80]
  • AP Poll #1 Weeks Ranked All Time: 101 (NCAA rank #4)[80]
  • Final AP Poll Top-25 Finishes: 48 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Final AP Poll Top-20 Finishes: 48 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Final AP Poll Top-15 Finishes: 43 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Final AP Poll Top-10 Finishes: 40 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Final AP Poll Top-5 Finishes: 28 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Final AP Poll #1 Finishes: 9 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • All Time Winning Percentage Against AP-Ranked Opponents: .609 (NCAA Rank #1)[4]
  • Final UPI/Coaches' Poll Top-25 Finishes: 46 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Final UPI/Coaches' Poll Top-20 Finishes: 45 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Final UPI/Coaches' Poll Top-15 Finishes: 42 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Final UPI/Coaches' Poll Top-10 Finishes: 38 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Final UPI/Coaches' Poll Top-5 Finishes: 29 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Final UPI/Coaches' Poll #1 Finishes: 8 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Total 20-Win Seasons: 57 (NCAA rank #1)[79]
  • Total 25-Win Seasons: 31 (NCAA rank #2)[79]
  • Total 30-Win Seasons: 13 (NCAA rank #1)[79]
  • Total 35-Win Seasons: 5 (NCAA rank #1)[79]
  • Average Victories Per Season Played: 19.190909 (NCAA rank #3)[4]
  • Average Losses Per Season Played: 6.0090909 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Total Winning Seasons: 93 (NCAA rank #2)[79]
  • Total Non-Losing Seasons (.500 or better): 96 (NCAA rank #2)[79]
  • Total Head Coaches With a NCAA Championship: 5 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • Total Head Coaches With Multiple NCAA Championships: 1 (NCAA rank #2)[77]
  • Total Head Coaches With a NCAA Championship Game Appearance: 5 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • Total Head Coaches With Multiple NCAA Championship Game Appearances: 3 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • Total Head Coaches With a NCAA Final Four Appearance: 5 (NCAA rank #2)[77]
  • Total Head Coaches With Multiple NCAA Final Four Appearances: 4 (NCAA rank #2)[77]
  • Total Head Coaches With Both NCAA and NIT Championships: 2 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Total Decades With a NCAA Championship: 5 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • Total Decades With Multiple NCAA Championships: 3 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • Total Decades With a NCAA Championship Game Appearance: 6 (NCAA rank #2)[77]
  • Total Decades With Multiple NCAA Championship Game Appearances: 4 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • Total Decades With a NCAA Final Four Appearance: 7 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • Total Decades With Multiple Final Four Appearances: 5 (NCAA rank #1)[77]
  • Total Decades #1 in Total Wins (since 1930): 1 (NCAA rank #2)[4]
  • Total Decades Top-5 in Total Wins (since 1930): 4 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Total Decades Top-10 in Total Wins (since 1930): 7 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Total Decades #1 in Winning Percentage (since 1930): 2 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Total Decades Top-5 in Winning Percentage (since 1930): 6 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Total Decades Top-10 in Winning Percentage (since 1930): 7 (NCAA rank #1)[4]
  • Conference Regular Season Championships: 47 (NCAA rank #2)[3]
  • Conference Tournament Championships: 28 (NCAA rank #1)[3]
  • National Attendance Titles: 25 (NCAA rank #1)[4]

(Of the 67 major categories listed above, Kentucky is #1 in 46 of them, #2 in 14 of them, #3 in 2 of them, #4 in 3 of them, #5 in 1 of them, and #6 in 1 of them.)

Kentucky can also lay claim to several individual achievements for both players and coaches:

  • 13 players winning NBA Championships a total of 20 times
  • 10 players named NBA All-Star a total of 18 times
  • 12 Olympic Gold Medal winners
  • 9 Naismith Hall-of-Fame members
  • 5 players named National Player-of-the-Year
  • 6 head coaches named National Coach-of-the Year a total of 13 times
  • 7 head coaches named SEC Coach-of-the-Year a total of 21 times
  • 132 players named All-Conference a total of 225 times
  • 77 players named All-Conference Tournament a total of 113 times
  • 12 players named Conference Player-of-the-Year a total of 14 times
  • 14 players named Conference Tournament MVP a total of 15 times
  • 2 players named National Freshman-of-the-Year
  • 5 players named Conference Freshman-of-the-Year
  • 18 players named All-NCAA Final Four a total of 21 times
  • 48 players named All-NCAA Regional a total of 62 times
  • 5 players named NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player a total of 6 times
  • 11 players named NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player a total of 12 times
  • 72 players who played in the NBA at least one season
  • 60 1000-point scorers
  • 48 players named McDonald's All-American
  • 11 times a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament[2][19]

Kentucky also holds several other NCAA records and various additional accomplishments:

  • Kentucky has 2 NIT Championships (1946, 1976), 2 Helms Titles (1933, 1954), 2 undefeated seasons (1912, 1954), 5 Sugar Bowl Tournament Championships (1937, 1939, 1949, 1956, 1963), a league best all time SEC regular season record of 915-255 (.782). and a league best all time SEC Tournament record of 119-24 (.832).[2]
  • Kentucky holds the NCAA records for Consecutive Non-Losing Seasons (60), Consecutive Home Court Victories (129), and for Total Victories in a Season (38).[4]
  • Kentucky plays in the nation's largest basketball arena (Rupp Arena, capacity: 23,500), and has both the nation's largest radio and television affiliate networks.[2][3]
  • Kentucky has made a 3-point basket in 870 consecutive games (3rd-most all time), and has won 17 of the last 18 National Attendance Titles, including the last 8 in a row and 25 overall.[3]
  • Kentucky is the only school to have multiple NCAA (8) and NIT (2) Championships, the only school to have 5 different NCAA Championship head coaches, the only school to win NCAA Championships in 5 different decades, the only school to win multiple NCAA Championships in 3 different decades, the only school to have 2 different head coaches win both NCAA and NIT Championships, and the only school to have 2 different head coaches win a NCAA Championship in the same decade.[4]
  • Kentucky is the only school to have 5 players selected in the 1st-Round of the NBA Draft in the same year (2010), the only school to have both the #1 and #2 picks of the NBA Draft in the same year (2012), the only school to have 6 players drafted in the first 2 rounds of the NBA draft in the same year (2012), and the only school to sign 6 McDonald's All-Americans in the same year (2013).[3]
  • Kentucky was also the first college program to reach both the 1000-win and 2000-win victory plateaus.[3][4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2011–12 NCAA Final Four Records Book
  2. ^ a b c d e 2011–12 University of Kentucky Men's Basketball Media Guide
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k www.ukathletics.com
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad 2013–14 NCAA Men's Basketball Records Book
  5. ^ "CoachCal.com - The Official Site of John Calipari". Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "All-Time UK Coaches". UK Athletics. Archived from the original on May 16, 2007. Retrieved September 15, 2007. 
  7. ^ Nelli, p. 14
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External links[edit]