Kentucky's new court is 0-1 -- Bring the Stickers Back?

On3 imageby:Tyler Thompson12/02/23


Today was supposed to be a fun day at Rupp Arena. The Cats were riding high after the big win over Miami, Aaron Bradshaw made his Kentucky debut, and it was the first game with Kentucky’s shiny new court in place. Excitement was high as fans filed into Rupp and saw it for the first time — no more bumper stickers!

Forty minutes of game action later, that court is 0-1 as UNC Wilmington upset the No. 12 Cats 80-73. The Seahawks got off to a hot start, swishing three three-pointers en route to a 13-4 lead. Kentucky didn’t get its first lead until the second half off a three by Reed Sheppard. The Cats led by as many as six with 12:51 to play, but from there, it was all Seahawks. After a thrilling win over a top-ten Miami team, Kentucky was quickly pulled back to Earth by UNC Wilmington, a good team but one that the Cats have no business losing to in Rupp Arena in early December.

So, what changed from Tuesday to tonight? John Calipari worked through that question in his postgame press conference, but Kentucky fans online had a different answer.

Were the bumper stickers the secret ingredient to this season all along?! Does someone need to fish them out of a dumpster?

Kentucky Basketball court
Photo by Dr. Michael Huang | Kentucky Sports Radio
Photo by Dr. Michael Huang | Kentucky Sports Radio

Turns out history repeated itself in a very odd way today. Kentucky also lost its first game on the old court when it was installed in 2001, a 64-52 defeat to Western Kentucky. Thankfully, the Cats rebounded in a big way that season, with Tayshaun Prince drilling five straight threes en route to Kentucky’s 79-59 win over North Carolina four games later, and the Cats defeating Louisville in Rick Pitino’s first season as the Cardinals’ coach a few weeks after that.

Hopefully, this year’s team will bounce back in a similar fashion — although we’ll have to wait until Dec. 29 to find out when the Cats host Illinois State.

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