Can an old timer give a history lesson of the LSU/Kentucky basketball series?
Prior to Tulane and Georgia Tech leaving the SEC, the SEC basically had division --without having divisions. What I mean is the two didn't always play home and home and that started each year in 1966-1967. This lasted through 1990-1991.
LSU and Kentucky didn't play AT all in 1954,but they both finished unbeaten in SEC play. This was 21 yrs before more than one team from a conference could play in the NCAA's,so the SEC had LSU and Kentucky play at Vanderbilt in Nashville.Kentucky won,63-56 but declined the bid as 'grad students' could not play in post-season (several SEC baseball champions deferred to the runnerup in that era for the same reason). LSU went to the NCAA's that year. Image: http://www.bigbluehistory.net/bb/Graphics/GameAction/19540309LouisianaState.jpg
Playoff game at Vandy-- Bob Pettit is # 50.
LSU got their first win in 1961, a 73-59 win at the Ag Center. Miss State won the SEC, but Mississippi law prohibited them from going to the NCAA's which enabled UK to go. (same thing happened in La with LSU's baseball team that Spring--fancy words about playing blacks)
LSU didn't win again until 1972, Adolph Rupp's last year, as well as Press Maravich's in the first year of the Assembly Center. LSU crushed them on the SEC game of the week, 88-71 --and at that time it was THE game of the week.
The '78 game LSU won in OT has been discussed as has Dale's outburst in the game in Lexington that year earlier when Dale went on a rant about how physical UK was and when Billy Reed of the Louisville Courier-Journal asked him if LSU was pure, Brown then asked Reed, "have you ever masturbated ?"
'79 was when LSU beat UK in Lexington for the first time. LSU never won in Memorial Coliseum and this was year 3 of Rupp Arena. LSU won the BR game but in the first year of the SEC tournament renewal in Birmingham they met again. In a totally bastardized format, LSU and Tennessee (the top two teams) got two game/day byes. LSU met Kentucky in the semis and was just blown out 80-67 in a game that wasn't that close. This was the game where Scales got in trouble for not shooting and passing more per an agent's instructions.
1980 were pure classics.Each won on the other's court -- LSU 65-60 in Lexington and UK 76-74 in Baton Rouge that was NOT the day of the USA beating USSR in hockey,but the gold medal game
. A week later in the snow in Birmingham, LSU won 80-78 to win the SEC tourney. NCAA seeding had started the year before and LSU and UK became the first two teams from one conference to get #1 seeds, LSU in the MW and UK in the Mideast.
In 1981,#6 LSU bombed #3 UK 81-67 in Baton Rouge. NBC had them play the final game of the year in Lexington. LSU was 17-0 in SEC play. Only UK's 1969-1970 team had won 17 in SEC play going 17-1.UK won 73-71.
'82 was another split, with LSU winning 94-78 in the home finale in one of the more under-rated LSU games in any sport.After flirting with an SEC title run,LSU lost 5 of 6 down the stretch. UK and Tenn were tied for first,so the game was huge for #7 Ky.They got up 21-13 early,but LSU went on a wild 32-6 run to end the half.LSU got up by as much as 35 as everything LSU went in and UK couldn't shoot,pass,etc.
After splitting again in '84,Kentucky won big in Baton Rouge and even bigger in Lexington. Dale was miked for the Lexington game. Paul Galvan,who was the official who did the infamous clock game vs Tennessee in 1982 did his first LSU game since then. During one break after a questionable call, Dale leaned over to him and said,"Paul,I've had you blackballed before and I'll do it again." Just for NBC's camera and sound.
Split in 1985 with once again NBC (even thought they lost the NCAA tourney in 1982,they still showed a lot of college games until 1989 or so)having Kentucky at LSU on tv in the season finale. LSU won 67-61 which after Georgia lost to Tennessee, gave LSU the SEC title outright.This was Joe B Hall's last year and the loss gave him a losing record 7-8 in Baton Rouge.
1986 had 4
games, all classics.#8 Kentucky under Eddie Sutton came to Baton Rouge in the first game after the "chicken pox" outbreak and rescheduling of games. Roger Harden nailed one at the buzzer to win 54-52.They won 68-57 at Lexington and six days later met in the SEC tourney semifinal.
LSU was playing for their NCAA life after starting out 14-0. The win over Florida the day before was LSU's first tournament win (SEC,NIT or NCAA ) since 1981
.LSU played about as gutty as they could before 22,997 Kentucky fans and me and two other LSU fans. :lol: LSU led 56-51 with 2:00 left but lost 61-58. Still,John Williams was named the MVP of the tourney amidst howls of protest the next day.He remains the only player to win the MVP and not be in title game.
The next week in Atlanta's Omni was one of LSU's finest hours,regardless of sport. The two met for the fourth time and third in three weeks,with LSU winning 59-57 to go to the Final Four.