It’s the night before the 53rd edition of the Battle of the Bluegrass, between Kentucky and Louisville.
The Cats and the Cards are set to tip-off at 3:45 p.m. EST on CBS.
I’m not old enough to remember the rivalry before Calipari, but I think it’s safe to say that the rivalry has never been more exciting. Ever since I found out Santa wasn’t real, the night I lose the most sleep is the eve of this basketball game.
I hate Louisville with a passion and most Kentucky fans do, and if you don’t, you aren’t a real Kentucky fan. I cannot stand Louisville fans either. They’re terrifying in person and even more so online. Is there a worse fanbase? Well, Tennessee fans are pretty bad.
Calipari literally owns Louisville, like they are his fourth child. He’s 10-2 against them.
I could go on for days, so instead, let’s look at the best games from this decade of the rivalry.
The first game between John Calipari and Rick Pitino who literally cannot stand each other.
I don’t remember this game well, but I’ve seen highlights, and I think it would’ve been pretty fitting if both sides just started fighting each other.
You had Eric Bledsoe and Reginald Delk jawing at each other seconds into the game where Cal eventually intervened telling Delk, “You’re messing with the wrong guy, he’ll kick your ass.”
You also had DeMarcus Cousins elbow Jared Swopshire in the face going after a loose ball. Maybe one of the wildest starts to a college basketball game?
Pretty clean. How did Cousins not get thrown out?
#4: 2012 Final Four
I was at this game. Don’t remember it too well, but I was there.
My dad has never been so nervous about a sporting event in his life.
Kentucky dominated Louisville the whole game, then the Cards came back to make it interesting, but two dunks by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the final seconds sealed the game for the Cats.
It all ended with Anthony Davis throwing the ball into the air and yelling, “this is my state! this is my state!.”
#3: Pitino’s last game at Rupp
Kentucky and Louisville were pretty equal for a change.
Tyler Ulis went off with Tom Leach’s “the card killer strikes again” call. He had 21 points and eight assists.
Not only was it Rick Pitino’s last game at Rupp Arena, he also left with some class. Pitino let us UK fans know that we’re #1.
#2: Josh Harrelson’s breakout game
I don’t remember this game at all. You could tell me that they didn’t play that year and I would believe you.
All I know is that Kentucky wasn’t supposed to win this game and then Jorts went off.
Brandon Knight had 25 points and Harrelson had 23 points, 14 rebounds, and oh wow he hit a three-pointer.
#1: Aaron Harrison sends the Cards home
Now I remember this game like it was yesterday.
Kentucky was not supposed to win this game, in fact, they weren’t even supposed to be here, but the Cats upset the undefeated Shockers of Wichita State in the second round, so they made it to Indianapolis.
The Cards were the better team and played like it. Kentucky led the game 2-0 early and didn’t hold the lead again until it was 67-66 with 1:22 left.
The best part? A guy named Aaron Harrison.