By Dr. John Huang
In the state of Kentucky, our basketball coaches are like presidents. Love them or hate them, when one of them passes, we pause, reflect, and pay our respects.
Eddie Sutton, who coached Kentucky from 1985-89, died yesterday at the age of 84. His tenure at UK certainly didn’t go as planned, but one thing stands out about his hall of fame career. The guy could coach. If you asked college coaches around the country who they didn’t want to face, Eddie would be at the top of nearly everyone’s list. His teams always played hard, and they guarded you with a vengeance.
Who’s the best coach never to win an NCAA Championship? It might just be Eddie Sutton. He’s certainly the best coach at Kentucky never to have won one. His 1986 team that went 32-4 was definitely up to the task.
That got me to thinking? Which other UK teams could’ve, should’ve, would’ve won the title if only…?
Here’s my top 10.
10. 1993 versus Michigan—Mashburn fouls out, Dale Brown gets hurt, and Fab 5 gets the glory.
9. 1966 Rupp’s Runts—You know the narrative on this one.
8. 1997 to Arizona—Simon says should have been three in a row.
7. 1986 to LSU—RIP Eddie Sutton. Shouldn’t have to beat anyone four times in a year.
6. 1975 to UCLA—Curse you, John Wooden.
5. 1984 to Georgetown—3 for 33? You gotta be kiddin’ me!
4. 2003 to Marquette—My ankle hurts typing this one.
3. 1970 to Jacksonville—Phantom foul on Issel. Grrr!
2. 2010 to West Virginia—C’mon man.
1. 2015 to Wisconsin—Can you say 40-0?
There you have it. What did I miss?