Trying to pick the 25 most memorable University of Kentucky basketball games since the start of the 1983-84 season is challenging.
I imagine it is a little like asking Hugh Hefner to pick the 25 most attractive playmates. You get an impressive list — but you have a whole lot of beauty left over.
Over the last 26 seasons, UK has played far more than its share of truly epic college basketball games.
Starting today and running each day in the Herald-Leader and on Kentucky-Sports.com until Nov. 11, you will see the 25 Kentucky games I have chosen.
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I'd say 90 percent of the schools that play NCAA basketball would kill for a list filled with the kind of games that didn't make my list of memorable Cats contests.
Sam Bowie's dramatic return from two years of injury to spark UK's revenge from the Dream Game against Louisville in the 1983-84 season opener?
Not in the top 25.
The miracle rally Rex Chapman led in Rupp Arena in 1987 from 10 down in the final minutes to defeat Tennessee in overtime?
Kentucky surviving Navy big man David Robinson's 45-point tour de force in Rupp in 1987?
Then there was Jeff Brassow's last-second tip-in to win the 1993 Maui Invitational championship that sent Rick Pitino into a manic post-game hugging fest.
Tayshaun Prince's 41-point game against Tulsa in the 2002 NCAA tourney.
The 2003 BasketBowl in Detroit in which UK beat Tom Izzo and Michigan State in front of a mammoth crowd of 78,129.
None of them made a very tough list.
Here is a teaser of what did make it.
Ten contests from NCAA Tournaments, including three national championship games and three from the Final Four semifinals.
After much debate here in the Herald-Leader sports flagship, you will not find UK's national title game appearances from this period listed Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
Though the stakes of such contests are obvious, I decided other UK games rated higher on the memorable scale.
There will be nine games each from the Tubby Smith and Rick Pitino coaching eras.
Also included are three contests from Joe B. Hall's tenure (Remember, the countdown starts with 1983-84, Hall's next-to-last season) and two each from Eddie Sutton's and Billy Gillispie's UK careers.
(Can you guess which two Billy G. games will appear?)
There are only six games on the list against SEC foes, including two championship games from the Southeastern Conference Tournament. Only one SEC team, Louisiana State (twice), appears more than once.
The opponent who will appear most often is Louisville. You will see U of L five times, three of them with Pitino in TurnCat mode coaching the Cards against his old school.
Over the course of our countdown, a who's who of modern basketball royalty will cross paths with UK.
Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon (actually before he put the "H" on his first name), Michigan's Fab Five, Dwyane Wade and, yes, Christian Laettner will all appear.
As was the case for the countdown of memorable UK football games we did earlier this year, the reason for this stroll down memory lane is to promote the "Blasts From The Past" feature on KentuckySports.com.
Every UK game story in football (since 1983) and men's basketball (starting with the 1983-84 season) that has appeared in the Herald-Leader is available online.
Go to the front page of KentuckySports.com. You will find databases that allow you to search for game stories via several criteria, ranging from date played to opponent to games UK won or lost by specific margins.
Of the 25 games I have chosen, 16 are Kentucky victories, and nine are losses. Remember, we are picking memorable games, not UK's 25 greatest wins.
Still, as I compiled the list and relived so many vintage college basketball moments, I found myself returning to the same thought.
In many cases, a person's sports allegiances are owed to the geographic accident of where one is born.
Whether you were born into the Kingdom of the Blue or got there by choice, there are few franchises at any level of sports that have supplied more lasting moments than Kentucky Wildcats basketball.
From the last two years of Joe B. to the only two years of Billy G. and everything in between, UK basketball has been a ride.
I hope you enjoy 25 days of retracing the journey.