By RICHARD CHEEKS
Kansas and Kentucky share a long, rich basketball history. Dr. Naismith created the game and coached at Kansas. Phog Allen was a legendary Coach. Coach Rupp played basketball at Kansas and became a legendary coach at Kentucky. The teams have played many times, at Lawrence, in Lexington, and on neutral courts. There was a span of time when the teams played the UK home game at Freedom Hall.
Overall, the Cats hold a 21-7 advantage over the Jayhawks including a rare 7-4 advantage over them in Allen Fieldhouse where they have seldom lost, and where few teams can claim a winning record over them. Kentucky and Kansas played in Lawrence on December 10, 1977, the night that Adolph Rupp passed away, and the Cats honored Coach Rupp with a 73-66 win.
I had the great pleasure of traveling to Lawrence to see this game on December 10, 1983 when the Cats beat the Hawks 72-50 on the strength of Jim Master’s 10-13 shooting, 23 points as he single-handily silenced the Kansas faithful.
Cat fans may recoil from my view of Allen Fieldhouse, and Kansas basketball as heresy, but I left my experience at Lawrence with a belief that I continue to hold 32 years later that Allen Fieldhouse is the most exciting college basketball venue of any. It is loud. It is knowledgeable. It is historic. It is truly unique. It is special.
My wish for this team is to get out of Allen Fieldhouse with another UK win over Kansas. In the litany of this series, many UK teams have done just that. Coach Rupp did it twice (1960 and 1972). Coach Hall did it five times in six trips. However, no UK coach has gotten a win in this building since that game when Jim Master was simply Masterful.
However, Coach Calipari is 3-0 against the Jayhawks as UK’s coach. Go Big Blue.