UK – Live Breathe Blue

Kentucky Baseball — Role Reversal

Photo by Britney Howard/UK Athletics

Role Reversal–By John Huang

Early in the 1986-87 season, Kentucky basketball coach Eddie Sutton uttered the famous phrase that would forever vault the UK versus UL rivalry into the stratosphere. “Kentucky is like the big brother and Louisville is like the little brother,” the embattled coach proclaimed when asked about the antagonism percolating between the two schools. Understandably, that quip rankled many in the Louisville camp and for the subsequent three decades, UL fans have simmered like a petulant younger sibling, trying desperately to bury that well-fitting moniker.


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Kentucky Baseball — It Just Means More

Photo by UK Athletics

It Just Means More—by John Huang

The new Southeastern Conference slogan, “It just means more,” certainly applies to its baseball teams. Unbeknownst to many Big Blue basketball die-hards, America’s pastime has always surpassed hoops in both attendance and interest throughout the other 13 SEC campuses. Although the pigskin still reigns supreme on Saturdays down south, bleached cowhide consistently surpasses dimpled leather every other day of the week. In my first year on the baseball beat, I learned first-hand how every SEC school (outside of Kentucky) prioritizes baseball success over basketball dominance. It just means more, especially for SEC teams out on the baseball diamond.


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Kentucky Softball — For the Love of the Game

Photo by Gary Moyers TCP

For the Love of the Game—By John Huang

The UK Softball team advanced through the NCAA Lexington Regional on Sunday with an exhilarating 4-2 win over Illinois. The Wildcats, riding the golden arms of senior Meagan Prince and Junior Erin Rethlake together with the sizzling bat of freshman Alex Martens, swept through DePaul and the Illini twice this weekend to survive the double elimination format. Coach Rachel Lawson’s crew now stands with an impressive 39-17 overall record for the year. The unpredictable Wildcats were .500 in the always murderous SEC gauntlet, knocking off nationally ranked powerhouses such as Florida and Texas A&M along the way. Next up for Kentucky will be the NCAA Super Regional round, a familiar Wildcat stomping ground in four of the past five years. “The one thing that I can guarantee is that this team knows how to fight,” Coach Lawson recently said. As I covered the Softball Wildcats throughout this season, I frequently questioned what motivated the team to always battle and fight at such a high level.


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Kentucky Baseball — Blue Blooded Chemistry

Photo by Katie Dugan

Blue Blooded Chemistry—By John Huang

While all of BBN has been fretting over the Diallo decision and the Kroger corporate takeover, the UK Baseball team has been quietly and methodically winning games, mowing down traditional SEC powers and moving up the national polls en route to possibly the most magical season in program history. What’s making this team so special? What supernatural Gatorade have they been drinking? The same players who last year went .500 in the conference and missed out on post-season play suddenly have their sights legitimately set on Omaha.


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Kentucky Baseball — Cardinal Menace

Photo by UK Baseball

Cardinal Menace—By John Huang

Baseball may be America’s pastime, but University of Kentucky Baseball is usually an afterthought to many in BBN. Seriously, how many of you can name more than a couple of players on the current roster? Anybody out there actually attended a game this year—or ever? See what I mean? It’s a shame the Bat Cats have been relegated to second class status, because Coach Nick Mingione has the team playing a winning brand of baseball in his first year at the helm. It’s not quite the armageddon of basketball or football, but there’s nothing like an in-state rivalry game against the nationally ranked Louisville Cardinals that should ultimately stoke the fires of a tepid fanbase.


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Kentucky Football — Great Expectations

Great Expectations—By John Huang

Curiosity won’t kill these Cats, but expectations just might. In one of the most highly anticipated seasons in UK Football history, hopes are already running rampant across the Bluegrass State. Last year’s on-the-field successes together with another Mark Stoops/Vince Marrow recruiting bonanza have combined for an upcoming perfect storm of a triumphant gridiron campaign.


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Kentucky Basketball — Mauled in Memphis

Mauled in Memphis—By John Huang

I’ve made no bones about the fact that I do not like the University of North Carolina. Everything about the dreaded Tar Heels reeks of high-browed elitism. All the rhetoric about keeping their coaching fraternity “in house,” the hubris of “the Carolina Way,” and jokes about God being a Carolina fan because he made the sky “Carolina blue”—it’s all enough to make any Wildcat fan immediately upchuck. Throw in the fact that back in the 80’s, Kentucky and Carolina jockeyed back and forth for supremacy in total NCAA victories and you can see why Carolina is public enemy number one in my book. Ask anyone over forty and they’ll be sure to agree.


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Kentucky Basketball — Bruins Ruined!

Bruins Ruined!—By John Huang

As a kid growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, the mere mention of UCLA basketball would immediately invoke in my mind a magical sense of awe and wide-eyed wonder. In my own imaginary world, Coach John Wooden would pencil me into his starting lineup alongside Lew Alcindor, Lynn Shackelford, Curtis Rowe, and Henry Bibby. Together, our team would win a slew of consecutive national titles and become the envy of every competing college program in the land.


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Kentucky Basketball — Shockers Shucked!

Shockers Shucked!—By John Huang

The last time the Wildcats played in Indianapolis, I left Naptown with a horrible taste in my mouth and a terribly upset stomach. No, my affliction wasn’t due to too much beer at a St. Paddy’s Day celebration, or the world-famous shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo’s—but rather I was hung over from the indescribable dejection of Kentucky’s loss to Wisconsin in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament. The image of Frank Kaminsky ruining our undefeated season and the Duke Blue Devils subsequently cutting down the nets two nights later still torments me to this day. I’ll never completely rebound from that traumatic experience, but this past weekend certainly aided my recovery process.


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