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Kentucky Basketball Highs and Lows on Friday the 13th

Nick Roush05/13/22


Article written by:Nick RoushNick Roush


(Photo by Angela Papuga/Getty Images)

Even if you’re just a little stitious, Friday the 13th marks the unluckiest day of the year. Throughout the long and illustrious history of the Kentucky basketball program, the date has brought both catastrophe and good fortune. Grab your four-leaf clover and take a stroll down memory lane on this infamous day.

Friday the 13th, March 2020

Of all the bad Friday the 13ths, this is undoubtedly the worst of the worst. The Kentucky Wildcats were supposed to begin a postseason run to the Final Four, starting with an SEC Tournament quarterfinal game. Instead, COVID-19 shut down the world two days prior, producing one of the saddest images these two eyes have ever seen.

UK Athletics

Friday the 13th, October 2017

Big Blue Madness has become a tradition in the second weekend of October, often falling on Friday the 13th. In 2017 Drake made his final appearance at the preseason event, surprising the BBN by showing up in a Kentucky Dad hoodie. Since then, Drake’s Kentucky fandom has been much less enthusiastic.

Friday the 13th, March 2015

Kentucky defeats Florida 64-49 in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. Surprisingly, Willie Cauley-Stein did not murder a man in this matchup with the Gators. However, they did make murderball a fine art. The following video provides a friendly reminder that the 2015 Cats did not always win with one highlight reel after another. They physically over-powered each opponent, using size inside to get tough buckets time and time again. Check out the abridged version of the game to marvel at the Wildcats’ ability to suck the soul out of Florida.

Friday the 13th, April 2012

Kentucky fans were still celebrating Nerlens Noel’s decision to commit to Kentucky the day prior. I know, it technically did not happen on Friday the 13th, however, it’s a good opportunity for me to relive the most memorable announcement of my lifetime. Only a week removed from cutting down the nets in New Orleans, campus was still buzzing. Watching from my computer at the library, Willy T. erupted in applause when Noel made the surprise move on ESPNU by showing off a UK logo in the back of his flattop to announce his commitment to Kentucky. A few days later, five Wildcats declared for the NBA Draft.

Friday the 13th, April 2010

The greatest basketball player to ever wear a Kentucky uniform pledged his allegiance to the Wildcats. It’s difficult to put into words what Anthony Davis’ decision meant to the University of Kentucky. What a great day in UK basketball history.

Friday the 13th, November 2009

John Calipari recorded his first win as the Kentucky Wildcats’ head coach, a 75-59 win over Morehead State. Superstar John Wall was suspended for the season opener, paving the way for Eric Bledsoe to score 24 points and grab seven rebounds. Patrick Patterson had a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Wall made his debut the following week and immediately lived up to the larger than life hype.

Friday the 13th, March 2009

The grim reaper showed up on Friday the 13th, delivering the final deathblow to the Billy Gillispie era. Kentucky lost 67-58 to LSU in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals. Gillispie’s postgame indifference in the bowels of the St. Pete Times Forum convinced Mitch Barnhart it was time to find a new coach. The Cats won a couple of games in the NIT, but it was too little, too late for Billy G.

Friday the 13th, March 1998

Tubby Smith won his first NCAA Tournament game as the Wildcats’ head coach. Nazr Mohammed had 18 points and Scott Padgett scored 14 in the 82-67 win over South Carolina State. The Comeback Cats never lost another game, cutting down the nets in San Antonio two weeks later.

Friday the 13th, March 1992

Jamal Mashburn had 24 points and 10 rebounds in a 76-57 win over Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament. The victory sparked a record 17-game SEC Tournament win streak for the Wildcats. John Calipari tied Pitino’s record with a 17-game run between 2015-2019.

Friday the 13th, January 1984

The second-ranked Wildcats lost 82-63 to Auburn. Chuck Person led all scorers with 25 points, while a guy named Charles Barkley posted 21 and 10. The Wildcats would avenge this loss twice, once at Rupp and in a 2-point victory in the SEC Tournament Championship.

Friday the 13th, March 1959

For the first time since The Great War, Louisville defeated Kentucky in a basketball game. Johnny Cox was held to just 10 points in a 76-61 loss to the Cards in the NCAA Tournament. Since then the Cats and Cards have faced off three times in the NCAA Tournament, only falling to UofL in the Dream Game in 1983.

Friday the 13th, August 1948

Adolph Rupp sailed across the Atlantic with his starting five to represent Team USA in the London Olympics, the first games since World War II. Of course, Team USA/UK dominated the competition. Alex Groza scored a team-high 11 points in the 65-21 victory over France to give USA the Gold Medal.

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