Jan 30, 2014; Louisville, KY, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats forward Titus Rubles (2) exchanges words with Louisville Cardinals forward Montrezl Harrell (24) during the second half at KFC Yum! Center. Cincinnati defeated Louisville 69-66. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

A Rivalry Sad to See Go

Jan 30, 2014; Louisville, KY, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats forward Titus Rubles (2) exchanges words with Louisville Cardinals forward Montrezl Harrell (24) during the second half at KFC Yum! Center. Cincinnati defeated Louisville 69-66. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

A Rivalry Sad to See Go

What comes to mind when you think about the Rivalry between the Cardinals and the Bearcats? For me the earliest memory I can think of is playing the Bearcats when they had a certain former Cardinal running Point Guard in Keith LeGree. LeGree went from a good guy to one of the worse by transferring to Cincinnati, and will never be forgiven for that transgression and shouldn’t amongst most fans. The rivalry was built on hatred and mutual respect, both programs played in a conference that was not looked to be as good as the major conference’s by the power brokers of college sports, which brought a mutual respect amongst the programs to prove those power brokers wrong.

Both programs have had many great players come through their doors and led to many great games between the two. Louisville has played Cincinnati more than any other team throughout the history of Cardinal Basketball. This is why it is so sad to see this rivalry come to an end. There is so much history between the two that will be forgotten and lost because we are moving to a new conference in the ACC and leaving the Bearcats behind for now. It was never hard to find players on the other team that you could not stand and openly cheered against. Cincinnati is just so easy to dislike from the days of some of the more hated players like Eric Hicks, Kenyon Martin, and Jason Maxiell. Let’s not forget the most disliked Bearcats of all time in Bobby Huggins.

Bobby Huggins took this rivalry to another level in my opinion, his hatred for Louisville was easy to see through is blood-red face and the screaming and stomping on the sideline. Huggin’s tough demeanor showed in his players and their personalities leading to nicknames like the Thugcats. It was always a question of whether or not we would let Cincinnati push us around as to whether we could win the game. This led Denny Crum and Rick Pitino to recruit tough hard-nosed players like Ellis Myles. It was said that Denny Crum specifically recruited Ellis Myles because of Cincinnati and their physical style. Both teams shared points in the rivalry where it seemed that one school would dominate for a few years but it always seemed to be a competitive game. That is why it is sad for the next generation not to experience the same thing we have growing up, we have agreed to continue the rivalry with Memphis and I know you cannot play everyone but I for one am really sad to let the Cincinnati rivalry go. Feel free to share some of your favorite memories from the rivalry below.

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  • Jon McSwain

    Yeah, one can only hope that since Rick and Mick are close, that they will work to keep this rivalry alive. I feel confident that they will come to some sort of an arrangement. To be honest, I would rather play Cincy than Memphis. Josh Pastner has really devalued that rivalry for me. He is “Mr. Nice-guy” and that is just NOT Memphis, or Memphis State as I prefer to call them.

    • http://Bigredlouie.com Richard Clark

      I would rather play Cincy than memphis also, i dont care for Pastner but he did mix it up with the fans earlier this year so maybe this might lead to something. Rick said memphis asked before cincy and thats why he choose to continue rivalry with memphis over cincy.