Steve Lavin's history of giant-slaying

Steve Lavin, during the win over #1 ranked Kansas in 2002. (Photo: Stephen Dunn, Getty Images)

With North Carolina's loss to UNLV over the weekend, the Kentucky Wildcats are your #1 team in the country per the Associated Press.

That number 1 team faces St. John's this Thursday at home in Lexington, KY, as part of the 12-team Big East/ SEC Challenge.

On paper, the matchup looks like a potential drubbing for the Red Storm. St. John's has a seven-man rotation and a 4-3 record after this weekend's loss to Northeastern. Meanwhile, Kentucky continues to beat on opponents with a wealth of talented freshmen and sophomores who can run, score, and defend with the best.

But it's still early in the college hoops season.

Before St. John's fans write the game off as an L because of that coveted number in front of Kentucky's name, note that Steve Lavin has slain a quartet of #1 ranked giants in his time at UCLA. And in the years as a head coach with the Bruins and with St. John's, he's taken out a number of top-10 teams and St. John's - usually tipping off with the less-favored squad.

One of Lavin's great claims to fame while coaching UCLA was his ability to keep the pitchforks at bay by knocking off top-ranked teams. (It was the early losses to less-heralded foes that got Bruin Nation in a tizzy over the state of their hoops program.)

Below, Lavin's year-by-year wins and losses against #1 teams (often Arizona and Stanford back then) and against top-10 teams.

Data taken from Statsheet.

Year
#1s Faced
Wins vs #1
#Top10s faced
Wins vs Top-10
Team (AP Rank, W/L)
96-97
1
0
5
2
Kansas (1, L)
Arizona (6, W)
Louisville (6, L)
Duke (6, W)
Minnesota (3, L)
97-98
0
0
7
1
North Carolina (4, L)
New Mexico (8, W)
Arizona (8, L)
Stanford (7, L)
Duke (2, L)
Arizona (2, L)
Kentucky (5, L)
98-99
0
0
5
1
Maryland (5, L)
Kentucky (4, L)
Arizona (6, W)
Stanford (4, L)
Stanford (6, L)
99-00
1
1
6
1
Arizona (2, L)
Stanford (2, L)
Syracuse (4, L)
Arizona (4, L)
Stanford (1, W)
Iowa State (6, L)
00-01
3
1
5
2
Kansas (7, L)
Stanford (1, W)
Arizona (8, W)
Stanford (1, L)
Duke (1, L)
01-02
1
1
4
4
Kansas (1, W)
Arizona (9, W)
Stanford (10, W)
Cincinnati (5, W)
02-03
2
1
4
1
Duke (6, L)
Arizona (2, L)
Arizona (1, L)
Arizona (1, W)
At UCLA
8
4
36
12
St. John's
#1s Faced
Wins vs #1
#Top10s faced
Wins vs Top-10
Team (AP Rank, W/L)
10-11
0
0
6
5
Georgetown (9, W)
Syracuse (4, L)
Notre Dame (9, W)
Duke (3, W)
Connecticut (10, W)
Pittsburgh (4, W)

 

Steve Lavin was 4 for 4 against #1 ranked teams at UCLA, with wins over Stanford twice, Arizona once, and Kansas once. Of course, one could point out that Lavin's wins over top ten opponents often took place after December, when his team has started to gel; only the New Mexico win came before the calendar turned over.

But keep in mind: it's entirely possible that Lavin pulls a tricky game plan out of the coaching hat to defeat the Wildcats.

Follow the Rumble on Facebook | Follow on Twitter: Rumble In The GardenQuinn | Tim | Pico

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Rumble In The Garden

You must be a member of Rumble In The Garden to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rumble In The Garden. You should read them.

Join Rumble In The Garden

You must be a member of Rumble In The Garden to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Rumble In The Garden. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker