It’s that time of the year again where basketball is back in our lives.
While football is receiving their earned attention, Kentucky’s basketball matchup with Duke is finally here. The second-ranked team (UK) facing the fourth-ranked team (Duke) will make for one of the most popular regular season games of head coach John Calipari’s tenure.
Since Calipari has been with the school, his teams have played several games of high magnitude. While there are five that stand out, a handful of others rightfully deserve consideration as well.
- December 10th, 2011 - Indiana defeats No. 1 Kentucky, 73-72
- November 13th, 2012 - No. 9 Duke defeats No. 3 Kentucky in the Champions Classic, 75-68
- November 12th, 2013 - No. 2 Michigan State defeats No. 1 Kentucky in the Champions Classic, 78-74
- February 15th, 2014 - No. 3 Florida defeats No. 14 Kentucky 69-59 on College Gameday at Rupp
- January 30th, 2016 - No. 4 Kansas defeats No. 20 Kentucky 90-84 in OT on College Gameday at Allen Fieldhouse
- December 3rd, 2016 - No. 11 UCLA defeats No. 1 Kentucky, 97-92
- December 21st, 2016 - No. 10 Louisville defeats No. 6 Kentucky, 73-70
- January 28th, 2017 - No. 2 Kansas defeats No. 4 Kentucky, 79-73 on College Gameday at Rupp
#5 Dec. 5th, 2009: No. 5 UK defeats No. 10 UNC, 68-66
This game ultimately earned John Wall national attention. John Wall put on a clinic against the Tar Heels, bringing Kentucky’s national status back to relevancy. For years, Kentucky had been considered a “has-been” program.
Wall would finish with 16 points & seven assists while Patrick Patterson posted a team-high 19 points & seven rebounds in a coming-out party for the new Wildcats.
#4 Dec. 27th, 2014: No. 1 UK defeats No. 4 UofL, 58-50
This game provided a matchup between two of the country’s top-4 teams as Kentucky traveled 70 miles to the city of Louisville for a defensive battle with the Cardinals.
With a first half score of 22-18, both defenses were in full effect. Tyler Ulis led the team in scoring off the bench with 14 points, while also leading the team in “bloody eyes.”
#3 Nov. 17th, 2015: No. 2 UK defeats No. 5 Duke, 74-63
The 2015 edition of the Champions Classic was “one for the books.” Kentucky had lost a plethora of talent from the previous season, as seven players went on to the NBA.
However, Calipari managed to net the no. 1/ no.2 recruiting class in the country with Charles Matthews, Isaac Humphries, Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray & Skal Labissiere. The backcourt of Briscoe, Murray & Ulis combined for 46 points against the Blue Devils, securing Cal’s first win over Coach K while at Kentucky.
#2 Jan. 13, 2009: UK defeats TEN, 90-72
Before Calipari’s time at Kentucky, there was a shooting guard by the name of Jodie Meeks. In this particular game, Meeks drops 54 points on the Tennessee Volunteers.
Meeks put on a masterclass performance, scoring his 54 points on just 15/22 shooting & swishing 14/14 from the free throw line. Meeks also added another school record of 10 three pointers, going 10/15, in one of the greatest performances in the program’s history.
#1 Dec. 17th, 2016: No. 6 UK defeats No. 7 UNC, 103-100
When it comes to college basketball games, Kentucky & North Carolina go together like peanut butter & jelly.
As quite possibly the greatest regular season game in college basketball history, the Wildcats & Tar Heels combined for 203 total points, 75 made field goals & 19 made three-pointers.
De’Aaron Fox & Malik Monk combined for 71 points while Joel Berry II & Justin Jackson combined for 57 points. Monk’s 47 points is the most ever scored by a player in the Cal era while also being the closest to rivaling Jodie Meeks’ 54-point outburst.