LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky and Kansas, the two most winning programs in the sport, will face off Saturday for the 30th time.
The series started with a legendary coaching matchup between Adolph Rupp and Phog Allen. Some 66 years later it will continue with national title winners John Calipari and Bill Self at the helm of their respective programs.
Kentucky leads the all-time series 22-7.
SEC Country ranked the top-10 Kentucky-Kansas games ahead of their 6 p.m. matchup Saturday at Rupp Arena:
10. Nov. 8, 2014: Kentucky 72, Kansas 40
It was set to be a signature top-5 Champions Classic matchup to kick off the season, but it ended up being Self’s worst loss as Kansas head coach.
The top-ranked Wildcats tore apart the Jayhawks without anyone scoring more than 11 points (Dakari Johnson). No Kansas player reached double-digit points.
It was the beginning of a historic 38-1 season for the Cats.
9. Dec. 11, 1976: Kentucky 90, Kansas 63
It wasn’t a close game, but it was the first Kentucky-Kansas game at Rupp Arena. It was the third regular-season game at Rupp Arena and Rupp himself was there for a dedication ceremony beforehand.
He would die almost exactly one year later — Dec. 10, 1977.
8. Dec. 9, 1989: Kansas 150, Kentucky 95
The game set a slew of records for both schools — good ones for Kansas and bad ones for Kentucky.
It was the worst loss in program history for the Wildcats. Kansas’ 55-point victory was led by Terry Brown’s 31 points on 7-of-10 shooting from behind the arc. Derrick Miller led Kentucky with 32 points on 19 3-point attempts, but it wasn’t close to being enough.
Kansas’ 150 points are the most it’s ever scored in a game and the most lopsided matchup the two programs have ever played.
7. Dec. 14, 1959: Kentucky 77, Kansas 72 (OT)
The second meeting between the schools and first in Lawrence, Kan., was a good one.
Ned Jennings paced the Cats with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Wayne Hightower had a monster game for the Jayhawks with 33 points, 14 rebounds and a whopping 36 field goal attempts.
It was the first of five overtime games between the two programs.
6. Jan. 30, 2016: Kansas 90, Kentucky 84 (OT)
No. 20 Kentucky fell just short of pulling off an upset against fourth-ranked Kansas.
It was the first time in 10 years that the game was played on a non-neutral floor as all of Allen Fieldhouse was behind the Jayhawks.
Wayne Selden went off for 33 points for Kansas and Tyler Ulis led the Wildcats with 26 points and 8 assists. Self moved to 4-3 against Kentucky with the win.
5. Dec. 31, 1984: Kentucky 92, Kansas 89
Kenny “Sky” Walker might’ve turned in the best single-game performance for Kentucky in the history of the series. The junior forward recorded a mega double-double with 36 points and 19 rebounds as unranked Kentucky beat No. 11 Kansas.
He did it against one of the best players in Kansas history — Danny Manning. The current Wake Forest head coach and former No. 1 NBA Draft pick had 30 points and 11 rebounds, but he and Kansas were bested by Walker and the Wildcats.
It was a career high in points for Walker and Manning, and one of the best 1-on-1 matchups in the history of the series.
4. Dec. 16, 1950: Kentucky 68, Kansas 39
The first-ever game between the storied programs deserves a high spot on the list regardless of what the score was.
The coaching matchup was the most notable part — Rupp vs. Allen, student vs. mentor.
Rupp played at Kansas from 1920-23 and was a member of one of Allen’s first Jayhawks teams. Thirty years later, the two legends were coaching against each other for the first time. Rupp got the best of his old coach in a season where UK went on to win a national championship.
It was the only head-to-head meeting between Rupp and Allen. The two coached a combined 78 seasons at their respective schools.
3. April 2, 2012: Kentucky 67, Kansas 59
Kentucky and Kansas had met twice before in the NCAA tournament, but this was the first in a national championship game. The Wildcats were vying for title No. 8, with the Jayhawks in search of their fourth.
It was Calipari’s crew that prevailed behind Doron Lamb’s 22 points and Anthony Davis’ 16 rebounds, 6 blocks, 5 assists and 3 steals.
The win capped a 38-2 season and Kentucky’s first national championship since 1998.
2. March 14, 1999: Kentucky 92, Kansas 88 (OT)
The first NCAA tournament meeting between the two programs was a classic — courtesy of a clutch Scott Padgett shot.
The Cats had beaten the Jayhawks by 18 points several months earlier in the regular season, but this time they found themselves on the verge of defeat. But Scott Padgett received a pass with Kentucky down 3 with under 25 seconds to go. He lift faked to get his defender in the air and hit a step back 3-pointer to tie the game at 79 with 18.7 seconds to go.
UK won in overtime as Padgett finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds in the second-round matchup.
1. Dec. 9, 1978: Kentucky 67, Kansas 66 (OT)
It was the most improbable Kentucky win in the series, considering the hole the Wildcats had to crawl out of. Joe B. Hall’s 10th ranked Wildcats trailed No. 5 Kansas 66-60 with 31 seconds left in overtime before Kyle Macy played hero for Kentucky.
A Dwight Anderson steal led to a Macy shot that locked the score at 66 with 3 seconds left. But that was just the beginning of a bizarre ending. A Kansas player called timeout after Macy’s tying shot, but the Jayhawks didn’t have any stoppages left. Macy nailed the technical shot and the clock expired as Kansas threw in the ball.
It capped a 7-0 game-winning Kentucky run in the game’s final half-minute.