For Kentucky fans, not a matter of winning but by how much over Louisville

Unfortunate that the Louisville vs. Kentucky game occurs so close to Christmas Day, the game detracting from one of the most important observances of the year. December 25th bringing people together, December 27th pushing many apart two days later.

If you listen to UK fans, the greatest college basketball team ever assembled will be on display at the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday.

No, it’s not the UCLA team from the Seventies that won 88 consecutive games in the early Seventies or the program that won 10 NCAA championships over a period of 11 years. No, it won’t include players like Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabar), Bill Walton, Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe, or Henry Bibby, names that struck fear in the hearts of opposing teams.

And no, they’re not referring to the University of Louisville, a team that is undefeated after 10 games. They would never admit that UofL is in the same class as their revered basketball program.

They are, of course, referring to the current Kentucky team, a team that includes more McDonald’s All-Americans than any team ever assembled. A team they say will have eight or nine players in the National Basketball Association in June 2015.

Give a UK fan half a chance over the next days and he or she will bend your ear for the next half hour about why Kentucky is going to annihilate Louisville on Saturday. They can’t wait for it to happen, there’s no way UK will lose. Not with John Calipari coaching Kentucky and Rick Pitino coaching Louisville.

This Kentucky team, currently 12-0, is going to go undefeated during the 2014-15 season. When have we heard that before?

Some Louisville fans may be buying into the hype, a few of them suggesting they may avoid attending the game, or watching it on television. If ever there was a game with an inevitable conclusion, this is the game, according to many national college basketball analysts.

Fortunately, games like this are not decided on paper or by fanatical fan and analysts. It is decided on the hardwood at the KFC Yum! Center. This game is important to UofL as it prepares for its first season in the ACC, which includes teams like Duke and Virginia that could be better than Kentucky when the history of this season is written.

However, the lives of UK fans revolve around their Kentucky basketball team, and Saturday’s game against UofL is bigger than Christmas  for them. Their team had better win and win big, or they will lose all sense of purpose, any reason for being. That’s a lot to have invested in the outcome of a basketball game.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

8 thoughts on “For Kentucky fans, not a matter of winning but by how much over Louisville

  • December 24, 2014 at 8:06 am
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    “Their team [UK} had better win and win big, or they will lose all sense of purpose, any reason for being.”

    Here in Maysville, which has sent players to both Louisville and Kentucky, I don’t think that’s the feeling at all.

    Yes, each group of fans wants its team to win, but I believe that the UK fans simply want a win, and don’t care if it’s a blowout or not.

    Truly too bad when a “writer” feels he has to project his feelings upon others with whom he hasn’t spoken.

    If UK goes undefeated, it does; if not it doesn’t. Few here expect it to happen. Would we like another NCAA title? Of course, but I haven’t heard anyone here predict it.

    Do we hate U of L? I don’t think many do. Do we dislike Petino? Why would we like him?

    It should be a good game. Let’s hope there are no flagrant fouls, no one gets hurt, and, oh, yes, “On, on, U of K!”

    • December 24, 2014 at 9:49 am
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      Nice commments, Louis. With UK fans in Louisville, they are usually the one that initiate the discussions. I have conversed with more than a few of them, occasionally getting in a few comments myself. Have a good Christmas.

  • December 24, 2014 at 1:31 pm
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    Louisville in the same class as UK? whoever wrote this needs a dose of reality LoL
    Is Louisville even in the top 3 all time wins in college basketball? UK is #1

    This year alone, who has Louisville played? Seriously, compared to who UK has played……………….. It would be hard to say UL was an improved basketball team playing all cupcake games hehe…. The cards has often struggled against these cupcake teams, and they lack the length, (UK is the tallest team in the country) and depth that UK has, which means less fouls to give…. It’ll be hard to do much with key players in foul trouble, UL will be exposed in this game, I don’t know by how much UK will win, doesn’t matter, as it was said above, the hardwood will determine that hehe… Can UK be beat? Sure, but it’ll would have to be some special team on some special night……….

  • December 25, 2014 at 3:02 pm
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    Wow, what a hater. Seriously ? Virginia better than Kentucky ? Just proves card fan delusions. Two great teams going at it. Why read more into it than that ? May the best team win. Going to be a great game.

    • December 25, 2014 at 4:53 pm
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      Why read more into it? Maybe because this is a UofL blog. Happy you felt oompelled to comment. Sorta the purpose.

  • December 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm
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    if I am not mistaken, doesn’t Duke currently have 9 McDonald’s All-Americans on it’s roster as well? In any other year, Duke would be considered a lock for their 5th title; which begs the question: will UK fans be treated to a UK-Duke final at which time either the result in 92 is forever purged (the 98 game was great, coming back from down 17 to win and advance to win #7, but it didn’t erase the feelings conjured by the 92 loss–it just slightly mitigated it for a bit) or if the ghastly ghost of that Duke team which ruined UNLV’s chance at an undefeated season reappears and does the same to dash UK fans, and thus crystallizing the animosity towards that team in Durham. Or better yet, Louisville somehow finds a way to get past Duke in the national semis and sets up an all Kentucky final (which will no doubt cause the state to shut down for a week leading up to the rematch of today’s game)…regardless, one has to remain in context when describing UK’s talent…Duke has the same number of Mickey D’ All-Americans which of course would make CBS salivate if they were both good enough (and lucky) to make it to the finals to face each other.

    • December 27, 2014 at 1:18 pm
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      Good point, David. Unfortunately, UK fans can’t imagine anyone competing with them. The fall is going to come hard when it comes.

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