Tuesday, November 13, 2012

True Facts About Kentucky Wildcats Basketball

Kentucky had a women's basketball team before a men's team! The first team of women was in 1902. The following year,1903, the men organized a team. At that time the college was known as Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky.

 The first Kentucky men's game was February 6, 1903 against Georgetown College. It was a loss of 15-6.

 E.R. Sweetland was listed as the first official coach. Before that the teams only had managers. The year was 1910 and the final record was 4-8.

 On December 18, 1930, Kentucky posted the first win for Adolph Rupp. A 67-19 victory over Georgetown College.

 Kentucky beat Baylor 58-42 to win their first NCAA championship in 1948.

Adolph Rupp, "The Baron" coached from 1930 to 1972. His record was 876-190. (.822)

 As of the 2011-12 basketball season, the University of Kentucky is the all-time wins leader in college basketball with 2,092 wins.  Kentucky is also the all-time leader in winning percentage (.763).

 Kentucky was the first program to achieve 1,000 victories and the first to reach the 2,000 victory mark.

 Kentucky has won an eight NCAA national championships and made 15 appearances in the Final Four.

5 Kentucky coaches have won national championships: Adolph Rupp (4), Joe B Hall (1), Rick Pitino (1) Tubby Smith (1) and John Calipari (1)

Kentucky has made 53 NCAA Tournament appearances, with 111 wins, 39 Sweet Sixteen appearances and 34 Elite 8 appearances.

Kentucky has won the Southeastern Conference Championship 52 times!

Kentucky and Louisville first played each other in 1913, with Kentucky winning. Louisville had never won 3 in a row in the series.

 Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones was the first player in Kentucky Basketball history to wear the number 27. He was an All-American in Baseball, Basketball, and Football.

 A total of 53 Wildcats have earned All-America honors.  Of those players, 16 were named consensus first team All Americans

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.

 The Wildcats played at Woodland Auditorium between 1914-1916 going 15-7.

 Kentucky played 271 games at Alumni Gymnasium from 1924 to 1950, going 247-24

The Wildcats 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 Wildcats used Memorial Coliseum for twenty-six seasons, and sold out all 345 home game they played there during that time. Kentucky also played a 2009 NIT game at Memorial Coliseum. The Wildcats are 307-38 all-time at Memorial Coliseum.

 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 the legendary Kentucky head coach. Located off-campus, in downtown Lexington,  the facility's official capacity is 23,500.  Kentucky is 478-60 (.888) all-time at Rupp Arena through the 2011–12 season.

 The Wildcats have had 22 coaches in their 109-year history.

 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.

 The 1954 Undefeated Team, which went 25–0 in the regular season and defeated LSU in a playoff to earn the SEC 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.

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. Future NBA coach and Hall-of Famer Pat Riley was a starter on this team. So was 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 Johon Wooden's final game as the Bruins' head coach.

 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.  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.

The Untouchables: The 1996 team was arguably the most talented team in UK basketball history, and quite possibly in NCAA history, with nine players who would eventually play in the NBA:  Derek Anderson, Tony Delk, Walter McCarty, Ron Mercer, Nazr Mohammed, Mark Pope, Jeff Sheppard, Wayne Turner and Antoine Walker.  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.

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 Tunny 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 Draft Cats: The 2010 team just missed the Final Four when they lost to West Virginia in the Elite Eight. The name comes from when they set a record with five players being drafted into the NBA from the same school in the first round. These players were: John Wall (1st selection), DeMarcus Cousins (5th), Patrick Patterson (14th), Eric Bledsoe (18th), and Daniel Orton (29th).

The Undeniables: The 2012 NCAA National Champions, coached by 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. It used to be the belief that young teams lacked the maturity and team chemistry to win championships, but this team refuted those claims when they won the national championship with three one-and-done freshmen, and two sophomores that also declared for the NBA draft after the season. This 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: Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb, and Darius Miller).

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