Toughest Ticket Around: Kentucky vs Louisville Basketball

The UK vs UL rivalry refers to the rivalry between the University of Kentucky Wildcats (Kentucky) and the University of Louisville Cardinals (Louisville). The Kentucky–Louisville rivalry is one of the most passionate rivalries, especially in men’s college basketball. It is considered one of the most intense rivalries in all of sports. The intensity of the rivalry is captivated by the proximity of the two schools and the interest in college sports in the state of Kentucky where there are no pro-affiliated sports teams.

The Kentucky–Louisville rivalry has been ranked the 2nd best rivalry in college basketball by Bleacher Report and 3rd best rivalry in all of college sports by Basketball Hall of Fame contributor Dick Vitale. Kentucky and Louisville first played against each other in 1913 but stopped playing each other in the 1920s, playing only twelve times between 1913 and 1983. The rivalry was generally dormant with only occasional matchups until the teams met in the 1983 NCAA Tournament. Since then, the two teams have met each year in late December or early January.

The Kentucky–Louisville rivalry is all the more intense because the two schools have consistently been among the nation’s elite men’s basketball teams for most of the last 50 years. Both schools are also two of the most victorious programs in NCAA men’s basketball history; Kentucky is #1 on the list of all-time winningest programs in Division I Men’s Basketball and Louisville #11. Kentucky has eight national championships and Louisville three. Combining for eight national championships over the last 38 years, Kentucky and Louisville have captured 22% of the national championships or greater than one every five years.

Kentucky leads series 34-16 and has won 4 of last five meetings. This year both teams are talented but not dominant yet. In this series, records do not matter! Once again, this year’s game (Friday, December 29th) will be a great sporting event!

Make no mistake: Respect each other –Yes…Like each other…No Way! Play Ball!!

John Leonard

John Leonard is the lead Kentucky Sports Writer for John, a Western Kentucky Graduate, loves Sports. Especially, the Yankees. He has been with the Writing Team since October 2017. Email any questions or comments to

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