Kentucky/Louisville Is the Most Psychotic Matchup in Final Four History
WBKR General Sales Manager Traci Davis came to me and told me that this morning, while she was in her office, she heard a thud, like something had hit the window. Sure enough, a bird had flown into it. But it wasn’t just any bird. It was a cardinal. She took that as an omen.
When I told my sister that story, she reminded me of the time she came home from work to find red feathers all over her living room. It seems a cardinal had gotten into her house and one of her cats had completely devoured it.
Friends, the craziest thing to ever happen to the NCAA Final Four will take place tomorrow afternoon at 5:09 PM in New Orleans, Louisiana. Kentucky and Louisville will meet for the right to advance to the title game on Monday night. And, no, you can’t write this stuff. But you CAN write about this stuff.
And sports analysts and writers have been mining the depths of the UK/U of L rivalry all week long to bring the Wildcat and Cardinal faithful and the rest of the basketball-loving world every single possible story thread they can find. It’s like these folks have been saving it all up in the off chance that these two powerhouses and hated enemies would one day meet on college basketball’s biggest stage.
I’ve seen statistics galore. I’ve seen humor. I’ve seen sarcasm. Let’s be honest; I’ve seen it all. CBS Sportsline’s Gregg Doyel humorously relates his fear of this game, comparing it to overeating to the point of nausea. Doyel’s colleague, Gary Parrish, informs us, in his Final Four Look Ahead column, that wedding plans were altered because of this game. Parrish is also one of many who have chronicled some aspect of the John Calipari/Rick Pitino feud.
ESPN offered up a fascinating timeline with parallels of the careers of both John Calipari and Rick Pitino. Would they have ever done that simply for the annual December meeting? I think not. Then there’s Pat Forde, a writer for Yahoo! Sports and columnist for the Louisville Courier-Journal, who likely would never outline the 10 reasons why Louisville can win and then use the same 10 reasons to explain why it won’t happen if this were just the annual rivalry game.
And let’s not forget about the two men duking it out at a dialysis clinic–one a UK fan, the other a Cardinal fan–which might have been why Coach Cal sent out a plea for sanity on Twitter. Oh, and here’s one more broomstick poke at the hornet’s nest: Kentucky’s last four seasons have ended with a loss to a Big East team–Marquette in 2008, Notre Dame in ’09 (in the NIT), West Virginia in ’10, and Connecticut last year. And Louisville is–you guessed it–a Big East team! Psychotic, I tell you.
It has to be the most unhinged game ever to happen to the Final Four. We’ve never had rivals as bitter as these two meet in the National Semifinals. Yeah, that’s right. As big as the programs are, Duke and North Carolina have never met in the Final Four. So tomorrow evening’s game is kind of a first. Depending on what happens, we might hope it’s the last. Whew!