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UNC vs Kentucky, perhaps the greatest rivalry in college basketball

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North Carolina and Kentucky battled it out last night in a game that felt like a mid-March classic.  It was a wild game that featured large crowds from both schools , high scoring, and gritty/intense gameplay kept the fans and viewers on their feet throughout the entire contest.  The game was Kentucky 56, North Carolina 51 at the half and then the scoring just kept going.  There were 5 lead changes in the last 4 minutes and it came down to the very end.  After North Carolina took a 100-98 lead, everyone thought they had one.  Everybody except the Kentucky Wildcats.  Kentucky took the ball up the floor and then kicked it out to star freshman shooting guard Malik Monk who buried a three in Joel Berry’s face putting at a season record 47 points for the game.  North Carolina then had to make a quick score but Isaiah Hicks missed a tough turnaround hook shot forcing the Tar heels to foul De’Aaron Fox.  After Fox sank both free throws UNC had one shot to tie and force overtime.  The ball fell to Kenny Williams off the inbound pass who put up a tough three that just missed hitting the front iron.  The game just continued these teams’ long and successful legacies and as CBS announcer Brad Nessler said, “The fans got what they wanted, what a classic in Vegas!”  Kentucky won 103-100. The stats for both teams:

North Carolina:

Justin Jackson Career High 34 points

Joel Berry 23 points

Kennedy Meeks 12 points

Luke Maye 11 points

Tony Bradley 10 points

Kentucky:

Malik Monk Career High 47 points

De’Aaron Fox 24 points

Bam Adebayo 13 points

Isaiah Briscoe 10 points

 

The rivalry between both UK and UNC is without question one of the best of college hoops.  There first meeting was in 1924 and even though they are in different conferences, they play usually once a year whether it be in the regular season or the NCAA tournament.  They have met a total of 38 times with North Carolina leading the all-time 23-16.  From the days of Adolf Rupp at Kentucky who is their all time winningest coach as of now (876 wins), to Dean Smith at North Carolina who is their winningest coach (879 wins).  Both coaches even have their schools’ arenas named after them, Kentucky (Rupp Arena) and UNC (The Dean Dome).  Between Chapel Hill and Lexington, “Kentucky Blue” and “Carolina Blue”, Michael Jordan and James Worthy, Anthony Davis and Tony Delk, these schools are practically inseparable with their talent, tradition and great history.  Both schools know how to win too.  Kentucky has 17 Final Four appearances which is 3rd all time, while North Carolina has 19 which is the most of any Division 1 team.  But Kentucky has more National Championships with 8(most all-time) to UNC’s 5 titles (tied for third all-time).  Here are just some of their many incredible matchups:

March 19th 1977 Elite 8: #5 UNC 79 – #3 Kentucky 72

March 25th 1995: #4 UNC 74 – #2 Kentucky 61

December 2nd 2000: Kentucky 93 – #6 UNC 76

March 27th 2011 Elite 8: #11 Kentucky – #7 UNC 69

It is most certainly a rivalry that will live on forever as many more thrillers and dramatic moments are sure to come in this unforgettable rivalry.