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WKU Roars Back From 16 Down, Advances to Play Kentucky…Thanks, Lucky Shirt

Photo by Dave Spencer

Here I was, having some dinner, watching Western take on Mississippi Valley State in the first of four NCAA Tournament play-in games. And, with all due respect to my Hilltoppers, it was some of the worst basketball I have ever seen. I was beginning to wonder what the record was for most turnovers in a game. But then…

I finished dinner and checked the score–MVSU 53, WKU 37. Yuck. We were well into the second half and it looked like a wash for the Tops. So I put on my Big Red polo shirt. Western scored. Then Valley turned it over. Western scored. Then Valley fouled. Western scored free throws. Then Valley turned it over. Western scored.

This sequence repeated itself for a good bit of the last 10 minutes. Next thing you know, the Tops and the Delta Devils are tied at 54. Then Western scores. Up 2. And a foul. Up 3. Another foul. One of two. Up four. Valley scores. Western’s up 2. Valley fouls. One of two. Western’s up 3. Ballgame! MVSU did score a two at the buzzer, but it didn’t matter. One of the greatest comebacks in Western’s rich history was complete. Coach Ray Harper, former KWC coach, had won his first ever Division I NCAA Tournament game. And I realized I was wearing¬†“the magic shirt.”¬†The next opponent is overall #1 seed Kentucky. 16 seeds have never beaten 1 seeds. But there’s no doubting the magic that will float through the air at the Yum! Center on Thursday when a Kentucky-heavy crowd (UK fans, Western fans, AND Murray fans) fill the arena and prepare for a great night of tournament hoops. In case you were wondering, I LOVE March Madness!

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