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Kentucky basketball fan: Remembering painful losses in Wildcats history
Here is quick summary of some of the most painful losses in the Wildcat's long history. You can go here to see the box scores for these games.
This was Adolph Rupp's last great team. The Jacksonville Dolphins' two big guns were Artis Gilmore and Rex Morgan while Kentucky countered with Dan Issel and Mike Pratt. Issel fouled out midway through the second half on a questionable call. Pratt, Larry Steele, and Terry Mills also fouled out for UK. You can read more about this team here.
March 26, 1983
Louisville 80, Kentucky 68
NCAA Mideast Regional Finals (at Knoxville, TN)
This was a big game because it was the first time the two schools played in 24 years. Big Blue Nation badly wanted the Cats to show that they were the best team in the state. The Cardinals started slowly but surged in the second half. Jim Master sent the game to overtime with a basket with one second left in regulation. Louisville dominated the overtime to defeat UK 80-68 and moved on to the Final Four.
March 31, 1984
Georgetown 53, Kentucky 40
NCAA Final Four (at Seattle, WA)
Georgetown outscored the Cats 23-2 at the start of the second half when Kentucky could not buy a basket. Patrick Ewing sat out part of the first half but controlled the paint in the second half. That 1984 team ranks with the 1996 team in terms of talent. The loss was a huge disappointment.
March 22, 1986
LSU 59, Kentucky 57
NCAA Southeast Regional Finals (at Atlanta, GA)
The NCAA tournament selection committee placed both Alabama and LSU in Kentucky's bracket after Kentucky had beaten each of them three times. Kentucky took care of Alabama for the fourth time and faced LSU with a Final Four trip on the line. Eleventh-seeded LSU was obviously not as good as Kentucky having lost eight of their last 13 regular-season games. Coach Dale Brown used his "freak defense" to wear down the Cats. If Kentucky had won that game, they would have faced Louisville in the Final Four and Duke in the championship game. This would be Kenny Walker's last game.
March 28, 1992
Duke 104, Kentucky 103
NCAA East Regional Finals (at Philadelphia, PA)
Of course, the "greatest NCAA Tournament game ever" is included. Kentucky took defending NCAA champion Duke into overtime before losing 104-103 in the East Regional finals in Philadelphia. Christian Laettner's last-second shot broke the hearts of Wildcat fans everywhere. The Cats had the Unforgettables (Richie Farmer, Deron Feldhaus, John Pelphrey, and Sean Woods) and Jamal Mashburn. The Laettner shot is hard to watch but the entire game represents college hoops at its finest. This was Cawood Ledford's last game.
March 31, 1997
Arizona 84, Kentucky 79
NCAA Championship (at Indianapolis, IN)
Despite losing Derek Anderson to a knee injury on Jan. 18, UK returned to defend its NCAA title in the National Championship game. Miles Simon scored 30 points mostly on free throws and the Cats fell in overtime to Arizona, 84-79. This was the final game with Rick Pitino as coach. A healthy Anderson surely would have meant another title.
March 27, 2005
Michigan State 94, Kentucky 88
NCAA Austin Regional Finals (at Austin, TX)
Patrick Sparks sent the game into overtime with a three at the buzzer that seemingly hung on the rim forever. In overtime, the Cats scored the first four points to go up 79-75 but Michigan State came back to tie. The period ended when Kelenna Azubuike failed to get a shot off as time expired. The Cats kept it close in the second overtime but Michigan State pulled it out in the end.
Kentucky had at least five NBA players in the game but they had a bad shooting night. They bricked 28 three point attempts in the game going 4-32 from behind the arc. Losing to a weaker team was a very disappointing end to a great season.
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