Kentucky 1996 Championship Team Ranked #13 In Sports Illustrated
Tonight, the NCAA will crown its 78th Men's Basketball Champion. One of those teams in this year's Final Four, Syracuse, was in the title game twenty years ago when they met the unstoppable force of Rick Pitino and the Kentucky Wildcats. Sports Illustrated has released a ranking of all 77 championship teams and the '96 team ranked the highest at number 13.
I remember them well. Allen Edwards, Ron Mercer, Walter McCarty Jeff Sheppard, Derek Anderson, Tony Delk (senior season), Wayne Turner, Antoine Walker; they were dubbed "The Untouchables" and after losing the SEC tournament to Mississippi State, the Cats breezed through the Midwest Region with wins over San Jose State, Virginia Tech, Utah, and Wake Forest. In the National Semi-Finals, Pitino's team won over a team that had beaten them earlier in the year, that team, UMass, and their coach? John Calipari. The Cats would go on to defeat Syracuse 76-67 to win the school's sixth NCAA title.
I remember where I was that night 20 years ago. I was watching the game with two friends/ UK fans in their dorm room at WKU. As soon as UK won, I could hear screams and car horns. As far as I know, a couch was not burned in Bowling Green.
Here are where the other UK championship teams landed on SI's list: 16. 2012, my favorite team, 20. 1978, 42. 1998, Tubby's win, 43. 1951, 50. 1949, 56. 1958, and at 68. 1948.