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The secret to undefeated Kentucky: A Super Smash Bros. addiction

Beatdowns on the court, beatdowns off the court.


Ian J. Barker

Internet Culture

Posted on Mar 26, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 5:25 am CDT

Everyone wants to know the secret behind perhaps the greatest college basketball team of all time. Is it training? Is it coaching? Is it talent?

Turns out, it’s a video game.

The still-undefeated, 36-0 Kentucky Wildcats have a secret weapon up their sleeves: Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 64. The 16-year-old game started as a simple distraction for the world-class players, but quickly turned into a source of camaraderie and competition.

The players have even assigned one another characters based on the way they play. Tyler Ulis is the lightning-quick Pikachu, while Dakari Johnson is Donkey Kong. And EJ Floreal?

“EJ’s Fox because he’s a cheater,” says a bitter Aaron Harrison.

At this point, Brian Long is the team’s anchor in case a Smash crew battle starts. But even if it doesn’t, the N64 classic remains exactly what Kentucky needs to recharge, regroup, and remain friends—even as the road to perfection gets significantly bumpier this weekend.

Photo via Nintendo

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*First Published: Mar 26, 2015, 6:48 pm CDT