Mar 31, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari (right) greets Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino before the semifinals of the 2012 NCAA men

Kentucky Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinals is NOT a Rivalry, it's a Feud

Dec 15, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari smiles in the first half of the game against the Lipscomb Bisons at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports


Every year there is a rivalry week that pits “rivals” against one another and every year I lament that never does that week feature a Kentucky Wildcats vs. Louisville Cardinals game.  That game stands up strong against the Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels rivalry.  Or so it would seem.  You see, what I realized a couple days ago is that Kentucky vs. Louisville CAN’T be a rivalry game because they aren’t even a rivalry.  If you missed that I’ll repeat it:

Kentucky vs. Louisville is NOT a rivalry.

Let that sink in.  Though it’s not a rivalry, it IS a feud.

In order for Louisville to be considered a rival to Kentucky, according to Merriam-Webster, Louisville must “possess qualities or aptitudes that approach or equal (those of another).

Louisville doesn’t pass muster and it’s not even close.  *Note:  Any Louisville fan who claims a rivalry is an idiot.

In 45 head to head meetings, Kentucky has dominated the hard court series, holding a 30-15 W-L advantage over little brother.  Since the series started in 1913, Kentucky won five (5) straight (1916, 1922(x2), 1948 and 1951); four (4) straight on three separate occasions (1913-15*, 90-93 and 10-12); three (3) straight on three (3) separate occasions in 1999 and 2001(x2); with two (2) two game win streaks from 83-84 and 95-96.

Louisville has never won more than two straight games (1915-16, 59 and 83, 97-98, and 08-09).

Of our 30 wins, three of those came in the NCAA Tournament in the 1951 First Round, 1984 Sweet 16 and the 2012 Final Four.

To Louisville’s credit, they have beaten us twice in the NCAA Tournament, once in the 1959 Sweet 16 and in the 1983 Elite Eight.

So where there is domination there can be no rivalry because there is no rival.  No equal.  Hell there’s no comparison.

2013 National Champions they are.  Rivals they are not.

What we have between the two schools is a feud which Merriam-Webster says is “a mutual enmity or quarrel that is often prolonged or inveterate.”  From the hardwood to the dialysis center, fans from both camps, the Nation and the County, stake their claim in the feud.  It’s often as ugly as it is one sided.

There is no love lost on either side and any truce between the fans who are friends is very tenuous during the season and non-existent when they play.  This feud is Hatfield and McCoy-esque in the world of College Basketball.

* Kentucky beat Louisville in January, 1915 but lost in February 1915*

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