Kentucky, with 1,914 victories, has the most wins of any college basketball program.
Kansas University, at 1,856 wins - 12 behind North Carolina - checks in at No. 3.
So, why in the name of Drs. James Naismith (the inventor of the game is a KU guy) and Forrest C. Allen (the legendary Jayhawk coach taught UK coaching legend Adolph Rupp) has Kentucky defeated Kansas in 19 of the 23 meetings between the powers?
"They've had a better program than we've had. They've had better players, but they've also had some advantages," said Jerry Waugh, who played at KU under Allen from 1947 to '51 and assisted Dick Harp from 1957 to '60.
Kentucky's 2005-06 edition visits KU today for an 11 a.m. tipoff in Allen Fieldhouse.
"When Rupp got started, the great high school players were from Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, and he was able to get them to go to Kentucky. Also, Rupp had things organized. He was able to take care of his kids financially," Waugh added with a look of disdain.
"There were more opportunities for a good basketball player in Lexington, Ky., than anywhere else in the country."
Opportunities? That wouldn't mean paychecks for players, would it? Waugh wouldn't say, but grinned when asked.
History of KU-Kentucky
- 7-3 versus KU in Lawrence
- 7-1 in Lexington, Ky.
- 3-0 in Louisville, Ky.
- 1-0 in Chicago
- 1-0 in New Orleans
"I sense Doc (Allen) was jealous of Rupp's success," Waugh said. "He used to allude to the fact kids could get jobs at the (horse) racetracks in Kentucky. There were no racetracks in Kansas.
"Kentucky's been good," Waugh said. "They've also been good about scheduling us when it's been in their favor. I know Roy would have played them a lot more if he could have. I'd have backed Roy's teams against any they've had."
Roy Williams, KU's coach for 15 seasons, had a 2-3 record versus the Wildcats. Three of those five meetings were in the regular season, one was in the Great Eight preseason tournament, and one was in the NCAA Tourney. KU, in fact, is 3-3 versus the Wildcats in the last six meetings, meaning the Jayhawks at one point were down an incomprehensible 16-1 in the all-time set.
Some memorable meetings:
l No. 3-seeded UK's 92-88 overtime victory over No. 6 seed KU in a second-round 1999 NCAA Tourney game in New Orleans.
l KU's 150-95 victory in Lawrence in 1989, the most points scored in a game by the Jayhawks and most allowed by the Wildcats.
l Kentucky's 67-66 victory in 1978 at Rupp Arena, a game in which KU squandered a 66-60 lead with just 31 seconds left in overtime. The 'Cats also beat KU by a point, 57-56, the following season in Lawrence.
l Kentucky's 77-74 overtime victory in 1981 in Lawrence, a game in which coach Ted Owens was so frustrated he flung a towel against a wall in his postgame interview session.
l And, of course, UK's 68-39 victory in 1950, the first meeting in the series and first meeting between ex-Jayhawk player Rupp and his mentor, Allen.
Waugh played in that historic meeting, one that drew much pregame hype considering Kentucky was ranked No. 1 in the country and KU No. 4.
"It was the first time Phog competed against Baron (Rupp was nicknamed Baron of Bluegrass for signing so many players from the Bluegrass State)," Waugh said. "At Kentucky, there was no conversation in practice the whole week prior to the Kansas game. The only one who spoke was Rupp all that week as they prepared. He wanted that win.
"Rupp was intent on beating Phog, since Doc (Allen) had that notoriety. They beat the blood out of us. They really hurt us on the backboards. We only scored 39 points."
KU went 18-6 that year. Kentucky, 32-2, won the national title.
"I remember it, because they dominated," recalled Bill Hougland, who, like Waugh and Bill Lienhard, was a member of that KU team and resides in Lawrence. "They took Clyde (Lovellette) clear out of the game. The rest of us had to survive," he added with a laugh.
It was a rare lopsided loss for KU players, who, the following season, won their own national title.
"That's the one we all try to forget," Lienhard said. "They'd go up, knock us out of bounds, and nothing was called (by refs). They manhandled us on the boards for that reason.
"That is the team they got for point shaving."
Indeed, leading scorer Bill Spivey of Kentucky was banned from the NBA for life for failure to cooperate with gambling-scandal investigators and refusal to implicate Kentucky teammates accused of fixing games.
"One thing that bothered us is, they were supposed to come here and play us the next year, and Rupp canceled out on us," Lienhard said. "We wanted them to come here. It was supposed to be a home and home. I don't know what excuse he used. We'd have beaten them that year."
The teams met once in 1959 and once in '69, and Kentucky won both. After that, the schools played from 1971 to '85, never skipping a year, with Kentucky winning 14 of the 15 meetings.
Since '85, the meetings have been sporadic, but both schools now are committed to start playing again regularly.
From a KU perspective, one game of the 19 stands above the rest.
"The best one was here when we scored 150 on 'em," Lienhard said of the last time Kentucky ventured to Lawrence. "That's the one I remember."
No KU fan can forget the day Terry Brown hit 11 threes and scored 31 points versus Rick Pitino's first Kentucky team, which was decimated by probation.
"It was so loud in the fieldhouse, I got goosebumps," ex-Jayhawk Mark Randall said. "It was so loud ... I won't say it scared me, but it gave me a different sensation."
That was the game in which Kentucky coach Pitino shouted an expletive at KU coach Williams when Williams motioned to Pitino asking if he wanted him to call a timeout so the 'Cats, who had just eight scholarship players, could catch their breath.
"That game meant a lot to Roy," said Waugh, Williams' friend. "One time, we were about to beat somebody by a similar margin (scoring 140 points versus Oral Roberts in 1993). Somebody asked Roy if he wanted to set the record. He said that Kentucky score will stand as the record while I'm here."
That was just KU's third victory in the series. All Jayhawks are hoping KU wins today and starts to knock into UK's monumental lead.
"Kentucky is tough, especially at their place," said Hougland, who, like Waugh and Lienhard, will be cheering loudly for KU today. "I want to win every game. In these type games you can't help but get involved. You feel bad if you don't get involved. It should be a great game."