Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Pat Kelsey Understands the Louisville-Kentucky Basketball Rivalry and Really Likes Mark Pope

By meerna Jul11,2024
Pat Kelsey Understands the Louisville-Kentucky Basketball Rivalry and Really Likes Mark Pope

Calling Kentucky vs. Louisville a rivalry, at least recently, is in some ways a disservice to some of the other rivalries in college basketball.

When Rick Pitino was in Louisville, sure. That was more controversial.

Now? Not so much.

Great Britain have been dominant in recent times, winning five of the last six matches in the series, with their only loss coming during the shortened season due to COVID-19.

New UofL coach Pat Kelsey hopes to change that. He’s fully aware of how much the in-state rivalry means.

“The rivalry is what makes college basketball great, man. That’s what makes the sport great,” Kelsey said in a recent interview with Andy Katz. “On another scale, I grew up in Cincinnati and there’s an incredibly fierce rivalry there (between Xavier and Cincinnati). I don’t know if you want to say fierce because it’s kind of like a house split, like South Carolina and Clemson or Ohio State and Michigan.

“Louisville and Kentucky…man, that’s one of the greatest rivalries in our sport. It’s a basketball-crazy state, a basketball-crazy state.”

One problem Kelsey has? Finding reasons not to like new Kentucky coach Mark Pope.

“I wish I didn’t like Mark (Pope), but it’s hard not to because he’s a really good guy,” Kelsey said. “He came up to me and introduced himself. We started talking, and I walked away thinking… Louisville fans might not want me to say this, so I apologize; he’s a really good guy.”

Kelsey came to Louisville from Charleston, where his three seasons were considered the most successful era in Cougars history. He finished his three years with a 75-27 record, two regular-season conference titles, two conference tournament titles and a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances.

Cardinals fans are hoping that success follows Kelsey to Louisville and leads to a fierce rivalry with the Wildcats.

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By meerna

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