Kentucky Wildcats vs Louisville Cardinals: Not The Rivalry It Used To Be

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Rivalry Game

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Over the years, there have been many great rivalry games that transcend sports. In Major League Baseball, it is the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. In the National Football League, it is Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins.

In the National Basketball Association, it is the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. In the National Hockey League, it is the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. In college football, they are the likes of Ohio State and Michigan or USC and UCLA.

And in college basketball, it is the likes of Duke and North Carolina or (the most important one) Kentucky and Louisville. This is the rivalry that has been the battle of homegrown talent ever since it’s inception. And this is the rivalry that has change drastically as recruiting has.

Back in the prime of this rivalry, the Kentucky vs Louisville game was all about the in state talent on the rosters. Kentucky had the likes of Rex Chapman, Cotton Nash, and Dan Issel. Louisville had the likes of DeJuan Wheat, Butch Beard, Charlie Tyra, Wes Unseld, and Darrell Griffith.

There is one common theme between all of the aforementioned names. That one thread of commonality is their place of birth, which is the state of Kentucky. In the heyday of these programs and the rivalry, the players that filled out the roster was mostly homegrown and from the state of Kentucky.

This, unfortunately, has changed drastically since the new age of recruiting and the AAU circuit. No longer are the days of back road boys playing for the school they grew up watching and dreamed of playing for all their lives.

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