Final Four Thoughts Through Big Blue Shades

Photo credit: USA-Today/Bob Donnan

Is there anything sweeter than Final Four week when Kentucky is one of the four and you’re a part of the BBN? Here are a few of my observations from behind my Big Blue shades:

  • The difference between Louisville making the Final Four and Kentucky making it can be seen clearly when you walk into nearly any retail store in the Commonwealth. This week, visits to Kroger, Walgreens, K-Mart and Walmart were all the same:  a display of UK merchandise at the front of the store.  Last year, as U of L was heading to the Final Four, other than sporting goods stores, only Kroger had an “upfront” display celebrating their accomplishment.  Even after the National Championship, more than half of the display remained unsold.  Yesterday, barely 36 hours after UK had defeated Michigan, the Kentucky displays had already been picked over significantly.   And, should we eventually capture the Championship Monday night, I know from experience in 1996. 1998 and 2012 that a minimum of 15 temporary stands will pop up all over Frankfort, each selling National Championship apparel. Last year, there were 2 such stands for Louisville.  Advantage:  Big Blue
Photo Credit: (The Winchester Sun/Bo Morris)

Photo Credit: (The Winchester Sun/Bo Morris)

  • Speaking of Louisville, and truly that’s not something I prefer to do very often, their fans are still ranting and raving about how Kentucky “paid the refs”, thus ensuring a victory for the Cats.  Card fans, I have only one thing to ask:  did the refs also cause you to miss 10 free throws?  I’ll wait for you to get back to me on that one. Advantage:  Big Blue
  • Bo Ryan fired the opening shot with his comments that were thinly-veiled slams at Kentucky and the BBN.  Those comments have been well-documented and rebutted quite well by countless BBN fans and local media.  I would consider his comments to be bulletin board material and a little more motivation for the Cats.  (In reality, the Cats probably don’t need any more motivation other than their desire to bring #9 home to Lexington!)  But Bo, one question I have for you:  Are you new here?  Did you really want to raise the ire of the BBN?  I’ll wait for you to get back to me on that one.   Advantage:  Big Blue
  • Speaking of Wisconsin, here’s a few tidbits you might like to know.  All-time, Kentucky is 3-1 versus Wisconsin.  In the NCAA Tournament, Kentucky is 1-0 over the Badgers. Bo Ryan is 0-1 versus Kentucky.  This is John Calipari’s first time to face UW.   In five seasons at UK, Coach Cal is 17-2 in the NCAA Tournament (.895 percent).  Those 17 wins represent the most by any team in the country for that 5 year span (Florida comes in second with 13 victories).  Advantage: Big Blue
  • I am still amazed at the amount of hate Cal is still getting from various members of the media.  It appears to be in vogue to forget the “one and done” rule was created by the NBA, not Cal.  Many are opposed to this rule, including Calipari, but certain pundits continue to vilify our coach.  They want to claim our elite players don’t attend classes, but refuse to report proof to the contrary when the athletics department releases academic records of the student-athletes.  First it was “Cal can recruit, but he can’t win a title with freshmen”.  After 2012, “Well, this was a once-in-a-lifetime team and Cal got lucky.”  Now, after this incredible, record-breaking, record-setting run through his first 4 games, some are still claiming Cal cannot coach and he cannot win with freshmen. The anti-Kentucky media bias is real.  Don’t let anyone suggest otherwise.  Just because this bias is wrong, I award the advantage to Big Blue.
  • If you’re looking for ways to pass the time while waiting for tip-off Saturday night, I suggest browsing through social media.  I always knew Kentucky fans had more than their fair share of superstitions about the Cats, but I have learned it’s more widespread than I ever imagined.  This week I’ve seen the usual list of suspects: lucky shirts, a favorite beverage cup, hats worn backward or turned around depending on how the game is progressing.  But I’ve also become aware of a few new entries on this list.  For instance, one Twitter acquaintance did not watch the first NCAA tournament game live.  Now, for fear of jinxing the Cats, he is watching every game on DVR after it is over.  Some may call it crazy, but I just call it “taking one for the team” and on behalf of the BBN I thank him!  Advantage: Big Blue
  • You can also pass the time by watching replays of the tournament games played thus far.  CBS Sports Network has been replaying games (check their listings), so you might want to check that out.  As for me, I have the games on DVR and have been watching them in their entirety as well as just the final 5:00 of each.  Even removing the anxiety experienced when watching live, I find I still get excited and even a bit anxious.  It’s been an exhilarating run so far and I am looking forward to it continuing! Quality of tournament games thus far? Advantage:  Big Blue
  • I really, really, really want this Championship for the Cats.  Naturally, I want one every year, but after all the bumps in the road experienced by this team, a title would be so much sweeter.  Watching this team grow, band together and put on the display they have these past two weeks has warmed my heart 100 times over.  Seeing the joy on these Cats’ faces as they have started winning the close games against the big time opponents is priceless.  It is then you remember that these really are just a bunch of kids and they are having some serious fun right now.  So am I.  Advantage: Big Blue
Michele Brown

About Michele Brown

A lifelong Wildcat fan, I retired from KHEAA where I worked as an IS Manager. I am a single mom of a teen daughter, play piano for my church and love to golf. But my first & greatest love is always my Kentucky Wildcats! Go Big Blue! Follow me on Twitter @ForeverBigBlue