Kentucky's Long, Strange Trip from Preseason #1 to Unranked Also-Ran to the Final Four
LEXINGTON, KY - The dorm that Kentucky basketball players left Tuesday (pictured above) appeared more modest than I expected, as was the reaction of most of the students I met within a couple of blocks from the Wildcat statue on campus (see picture below). The players made the trek from their dorm to Texas (see video here of flight), and most students seemed even more proud of the lack of rioting after the win over hated Louisville, unlike two years ago when a similar win led to fires being set all over campus.
The statue in front of the basketball dorm in the photo is of Joe B. Hall, one of the most successful coaches ever to follow a legend (Adolph Rupp).
The number-one topic of conversation among students randomly interviewed by Breitbart Sports was how well the residents here had behaved.
"I was here two years ago and we were so embarrassed about the fire department having to run all around town putting out big fires," one student told Breitbart Sports. "This year there were just little fireworks being set off and people were actually calling the fire department ahead of time to tell them exactly what time individual fireworks would go off and where so they would not worry about it."
That comment was indicative of many others, as students were very conscious of the school's image.
While some fans are not as humble (click here to read about the fan that got a tattoo claiming a 9th National Title in 2014 before the tournament started), most talked about how wonderful it was to see the freshman-dominated team pull out wins in the tournament.
The last three years have been a roller coaster for Kentucky students. They fully expected to win the title two years ago, and did--beating Louisville in the Final Four. Then they sunk to the humiliation of a first round NIT loss against Robert Morris last year. This season they started as the No. 1 team at www.valueaddbasketball.com and with many others, but struggled with freshman mistakes throughout the season to land just an 8-seed for the tournament. However, four wins later the Wildcats play in Texas for the Final Four.
Sometimes the surprise runs are sweeter than the ones you are counting on--and our unscientific sampling of Kentucky students was refreshing and not full of the trash-talking that is often common with national powers with a chance at another title.