Bitter Sports Rivalry Hits Boiling Point

March 27, 2012 by staff 

Bitter Sports Rivalry Hits Boiling Point, John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats and Rick Pitino’s Louisville Cardinals don’t meet until Saturday in the Final Four, but the signs are evident that this isn’t just the latest flare-up of their long-simmering rivalry, or even just an historic, high-stakes meeting between two programs bitterly opposed to each other.

That, alone, will make this one of the most anticipated, heated and intense college basketball games ever played.
There’s more though: for the first time since the Pitino-Calipari relationship deteriorated a couple decades back, the roles and stakes for these two big coaching personalities have completely flipped.

Pitino, 59, was always the older brother; more successful, more established and more polished – the flawlessly attired New Yorker. He spent forever trying to downplay their relationship and ignore Calipari’s yapping. He did it mostly by projecting an image that whatever he was doing was automatically bigger than anything Calipari could dream up.

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