NCAA Tournament: Kentucky Wildcats meet West Virginia in Sweet 16


The year was 2010, it was John Calipari’s first year at Kentucky. The Wildcats boasted a one seed status, and easily cruised to the Elite 8. John Wall and company’s lowest margin of victory in the first three tournament games was 17, with their highest standing at 30. The boys in blue felt good, and only needed one more win until UK was back in the Final Four, one more win until Big Blue Nation would travel to Indianapolis for the final weekend of College Basketball.

The only problem, BBN would never make that trip. John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and Eric Bledsoe would never wear Kentucky lettered across their chest again. The Wildcat’s tournament run had ended, from the hands of Bob Huggins and West Virginia. Kentucky would go home, unable to venture to Indianapolis, unable to play for the programs 8th national title.

Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky Wildcats /

Kentucky Wildcats

Now, it is 2015, John Calipari is in his sixth year at Kentucky. The Wildcats boast the overall one seed status, and have easily cruised to the Sweet 16. Karl-Anthony Towns and company’s lowest margin of victory in the first two tournament games was 13, with their highest totaling at 23. The boys in blue feel good, and only need two more wins until UK is back in the Final Four, two more wins until Big Blue Nation will travel to Indianapolis for the final weekend of College basketball.

The only problem, the Wildcats must meet, you guessed it, Bob Huggins and West Virginia.

This Sweet 16 matchup will only be the second time UK and WVU have met since the 2010 tournament game. The Wildcats and Mountaineers duked it out the year after in tournament play again, this time in the round of 32, with the Cats winning on the run to Houston for 2011’s Final Four.

While his record at UK is an even 1-1, per ESPN Stats and Info, there isn’t any other coach in the nation with a better record against John Calipari than Bob Huggins, who is 8-2 overall against Coach Cal (with a minimum of three games played).

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Of course, this round between the two premiere coaches could be a little different with the amount of talent on UK’s side, plus the fact that Coach Cal has faired pretty well in the Sweet 16 while at Kentucky, going 4-0, making this years appearance his 5th in six years.

The pregame talk began early yesterday during team practices, starting with WVU Freshman reserve Daxter Miles Jr.

"I give them their props…Salute them to getting to 36-0. But tomorrow they’re gonna be 36-1."

When asked to give a reaction to those comments, Aaron and Andrew Harrison both had the same answer.

"What are they supposed to say, we are going to lose?"

West Virginia no doubt had a tough conference schedule in the big 12, and came out alive standing in the 4th position.

Individuals to watch for WVU will definitely include senior guard Juwan Staten, who has the range to shoot from beyond the arc. Staten displayed his three skill set in the round of 64 against Buffalo, going 5-9 from the arc. He will be a pinnacle along with his range if the Mountaineers want to upset the unblemished Cats.

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Coach Cal has confidence in his young squad heading into this matchup, expressing that confidence to the media yesterday.

"We’ve been zoned, we’ve been trapped, we’ve been physically mauled, the best thing about this team is they’ve remain composed."

And composed they have been, but I don’t think you can go 36-0 without being composed.

Kentucky and West Virginia meet this evening at 9:40 to try and punch their ticket to the Elite 8.