The Legacy: Kentucky basketball

Sampling of the history, tradition and legend that is Kentucky basketball

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The tradition

Some of the coaching shoes he will try to fill and ghosts he will contend with as Kentucky's 21st coach:

Adolph Rupp: The "Baron of the Bluegrass" was college basketball's winningest major-college coach until being passed by Dean Smith in 1997. He coached the Wildcats from 1930-72, taking the Wildcats to 20 NCAA tournaments, six Final Fours and winning four NCAA titles while also raising 27 Southeastern Conference regular-season banners.

Joe B. Hall: Succeeded Rupp and brought the school its fifth national title in 1978 when the Wildcats defeated Duke. He also took them to the final in 1975, losing to UCLA in John Wooden's final game, and to the Final Four in 1984. He won eight SEC regular-season titles.

Rick Pitino: Brought the program back from a decade played under clouds of scandal and probation and within four years returned the program to the Final Four in 1993 and brought a sixth national title to Kentucky by 1996. He again guided the Wildcats to the title game in 1997, where they lost to Arizona in overtime.

Tubby Smith: Although his career soured at the end, he took the remnants of Pitino's last team and won the NCAA title in 1998 -- his first season as coach. He also won five SEC regular-season titles in 10 seasons and had four Elite Eight teams. But by Kentucky standards his decade in Lexington wasn't up to school standards. Such is the pressure to win in the land of the bluegrass.


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