UK Men's Basketball

By the numbers: The nearly impossible task of beating UK in Rupp during the Calipari era

Kentucky’s Alex Poythress (22) dunked during the first half against Wright State on Nov. 20, 2015, in Lexington.
Kentucky’s Alex Poythress (22) dunked during the first half against Wright State on Nov. 20, 2015, in Lexington. mcornelison@herald-leader.com

The Louisville Cardinals roll into Rupp Arena on Saturday afternoon, and they’ve emerged as a trendy pick to knock off Kentucky on its home court.

That’s been easier said than done during John Calipari’s tenure in Lexington.

Never a fun place for opponents, Rupp Arena has become an even more formidable venue for outsiders during the Calipari era of UK basketball. Since 2009, it’s been nearly unheard of for the team not wearing white to walk off the Rupp court victorious.

Here’s a sample of the recent history facing the 16th-ranked Cardinals on Saturday:

96.5

John Calipari’s winning percentage in seven-plus seasons in Rupp Arena. He’s 109-4 at home since taking over the Wildcats in 2009. UK has won 89.3 percent of its overall home games since moving into Rupp in 1976.

27

Number of consecutive victories since UK’s last loss at Rupp Arena, a 71-67 overtime defeat to Arkansas on Feb. 27, 2014.

1,120

Number of days since UK’s last non-conference loss in Rupp Arena (and the Cats’ only such defeat under John Calipari). Baylor topped UK, 64-55, on Dec. 1, 2012. The Cats have defeated 31 consecutive non-conference opponents since then.

3

Number of times UK has defeated Louisville in Rupp Arena under John Calipari, who is 7-1 against Rick Pitino and the Cardinals overall. All three home victories have come by at least seven points. U of L was ranked in the top 10 on two of those trips to Rupp.

15

Number of games UK has played against Associated Press top-25 opponents in Rupp Arena under John Calipari. The Cats have won 14 of those games, the only loss coming in a 69-59 defeat to No. 1-ranked Florida on Feb. 15, 2014.

4

Number of undefeated seasons John Calipari has had in Rupp Arena (not including the current campaign). That’s already the most ever for a UK head coach. Joe B. Hall and Rick Pitino each had three undefeated seasons at Rupp. Eddie Sutton and Tubby Smith had one each.

17

Number of games that UK lost at Rupp Arena in the four seasons before John Calipari arrived in Lexington. Tubby Smith was 24-7 at home in his final two seasons. Billy Gillispie was 26-10 at Rupp in his only two seasons at UK.

24

Years since John Calipari coached his only game against Kentucky in Rupp Arena. UK defeated Calipari’s UMass squad, 90-69, on Dec. 4, 1991. The Wildcats’ coach that day: Rick Pitino.

129

The number of consecutive home games that Kentucky won from 1943 to 1955 before a 59-58 loss to Georgia Tech at Memorial Coliseum. That’s an NCAA record that still stands today. John Calipari would probably have to stick around until the 2021-22 season — and win all of his home games between now and then — to break that mark.

Ben Roberts: 859-231-3216, @NextCats

UK’s losses in Rupp under Calipari

Opponent

Score

Date

Arkansas

71-67 (OT)

Feb. 27, 2014

Florida

69-59

Feb. 15, 2014

Texas A&M

83-71

Jan. 12, 2013

Baylor

64-55

Dec. 1, 2012

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