On Tuesday night at Rupp Arena, the Kentucky Wildcats suffered one of its most embarrassing, unlikely losses in its history at the hands of Evansville, an unranked team that was 25-point underdogs entering the game and ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) had given them just a 4% chance to win.
The 67-64 win marked the Evansville program’s first victory over a No. 1-ranked team and snapped Kentucky’s 52-game winning streak over unranked non-league opponents inside Rupp Arena.
Following last season’s 11-21 record, the Evansville Purple Aces were predicted to finish eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference’s preseason poll.
To make matters sweeter for Evansville head coach and former Celtic Walter McCarty, other than the fact that Kentucky paid Evansville $90,000 to play them on their home court, the second-year coach won a national championship at Kentucky in 1996.
After the game, McCarty was predictably ecstatic.
“To be able to come back home and play against the No. 1 team in the country and be able to perform the way that we did, I don’t know if anything matches this other than winning a national championship,” he said. “It’s awesome, man. To be able to come here and play on this type of stage. My guys, I got a good group of guys, I really do. They love each other. They’re very connected.
“To bring this group in here and to be able to do that is just awesome; it doesn’t get any better than that.” [via ESPN]
Anyone and everyone with even a cursory interest in college basketball was stunned Kentucky getting upset at home by a school with 2,500 students.
Anyone know where I can cop an Evansville jersey?