Breaking Down the Championship or Bust Mindset For Kentucky Basketball Fans.

Championships over Everything?


(Photo: Chris Graythen, Getty)



As most Kentucky fans know the Wildcats have 8 National Championships in college basketball. The first four came under Adolf Rupp in 1948, 1949, 1951 and 1958. Then next came 20 years later in 1978. The team was coached by former Wildcat who was on the 49’ championship team. Cynthiana, Kentucky’s own Joe B. Hall. The Sixth Title would come from coach Rick Pitino who raised the program back to its former glory in 1996. Two years later in 1998, after Pitino took the Boston Celtics head coaching job, Tubby Smith took over at head coach and led the Cats to a National Championship in his first year. And most recently in 2012 when John Calipari took a team young team led by freshman to win Kentucky’s 8th National Championship. Including a Final Four win over Louisville. 

Now most Kentucky basketball fans already know that, so why do I bring it up? Because coming off a year where March Madness was canceled, we all start to think about National Titles. Since 1939 there has only been one year where there was not a National Champion, 2013. This will lead us to go back and think about the previous titles that we have won. To replace the void of not having college basketball this March I went back and watched the last four title games to try and understand what it was like to live those moments. I was eleven when I first watched the 2012 National Championship game and my memory was still foggy about it. It’s always good to go back and remember greatness. 


In 81 years of college basketball Kentucky has 8 Titles. That means that about 1 out of every 10 tournaments we win a title. The only school that has more is UCLA. In this time between the end of the season and the start of summer is heavy on recruiting. The other conversation is National Titles. Every UK fan wants to see banners hung in Rupp arena come April, but the fact is that it will not happen that often. I personally think that John Calipari will win one more title before his time at Kentucky is over. So far in his time at Kentucky he has hit the 1 in every 10 seasons mark, but fans are starting to get anxious. 


I started to think about winning titles, and I went through this scenario. Let’s say that in 2009 instead of hiring John Calipari Kentucky hires Jay Wright from Villanova. From that time on everything that happened to Villanova happened to Kentucky instead. We have all the players that Villanova would have to the present. This would mean that Cats would have two National Titles in 2016 and 2018 but never make it past the sweet sixteen in the other years. Although, this includes a buzzer beater to win the 2016 title over UNC by Kris Jenkins, BUT this means you must give up the John Wall’s and Anthony Davis’s. There would be no Aaron Harrison shots. I don’t want to have a world without the Aaron Harrison shots. Jay Wright is a coach who recruits many four-year players and not a lot of one-and-dones. It seems that this is what the older generation wants Kentucky Basketball to be. Just like how Joe B. Hall is from Kentucky and played and coached at Kentucky. They want to have athletes that they can get to know over the four years in Lexington.


This leads me to one question? Would you take two National Championships in the last 10 years under Jay Wright or would you rather take one National Championship in the last 10 years under John Calipari?


Written by: Zachary Bell

Twitter: @zfbell


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