5. 2009: Louisville 74, Kentucky 71
Billy Gillispie’s ill-fated stay at Kentucky almost featured a historic comeback win, as Jodie Meeks scored seven points in 17.1 seconds to tie the game at 71. No. 18 Louisville, though, got the clutch play that mattered—the last one—on an Edgar Sosa three-pointer.
4. 2012 Final Four: Kentucky 69, Louisville 61
Fittingly, no team gave Kentucky’s top-ranked Undeniables a tougher fight in the NCAA tournament than their archrivals. Peyton Siva led the fourth-seeded Cards back from a 13-point second-half deficit before Anthony Davis (18 points, 14 boards, five blocks) and the Wildcats recaptured the lead for good.
3. 2004: Kentucky 60, Louisville 58
Down 16 points with just more than 11 minutes remaining, No. 9 Kentucky followed sharpshooting Patrick Sparks to an improbable comeback. The 6’0” Western Kentucky transfer (playing in his eighth game as a Wildcat) nailed three free throws with less than a second to play, stealing a road win over the No. 13 Cards.
2. 1987: Kentucky 76, Louisville 75
Despite entering the game as the top-ranked team in the nation, the Wildcats needed a miracle to survive the unranked Cards at Rupp Arena. Cedric Jenkins scored only two points on the day, but they came on a third-chance tip-in at the buzzer after Ed Davender’s jumper rattled out.
1. 1983 Elite Eight: Louisville 80, Kentucky 68
Louisville was ranked No. 2 and seeded No. 1 entering the so-called Dream Game—the first meeting of the two teams since 1959—while the ‘Cats were No. 12 and a third seed. The Cardinals started off 4-of-20 from the field, but rallied in the second half. Lancaster Gordon’s jumper put Louisville up by two with eight seconds to go, only to have Jim Master nail a buzzer-beater to send it to OT.
In the extra period, the Cardinals’ speed took over, as they piled up five steals in seven possessions to launch a 14-0 run that put the game away. Louisville would go on to lose an equally epic showdown with Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma team in the Final Four.