UK Basketball: March Madness

Well, it's that time of year again Wildcat fans; it's that glorious, fun-filled, ever-so-thrilling time of year that we-who-are-crazy-about-college-basketball call March Madness.  Selection Sunday is behind us and now it's time to rearrange your schedules, take time off of work, get a sitter, plan pre-game and during-game parties, grocery shop for the proper food, buy the proper drinks, shop for festive new UK-inspired apparel, or whatever it is you normally do in order to suitably prepare to celebrate March Madness and to watch a whole lot of college basketball.  In addition to schedule reshuffling and all the other things mentioned above in order to get ready for March Madness, it's also time to fill out your annual NCAA tourney brackets.  March Madness, here we are.

I am so excited that this year's bracket includes our beloved Kentucky Wildcats, and boy does it ever include them as our remarkably talented boys are making us quite proud with an extremely impressive return to the field of 65 this year with a #1 seed coming out of the East region, and our first game is slated against the Buccaneers of East Tennessee State on Thursday March 18th.  When quickly glancing at our bracket and perusing the teams with the highest seeds I see a few teams of interest.  Now, this is not to say that any of the teams in our bracket couldn't be a potential matchup for us, but just for the sake of simplifying things I will just make mention of the #2-6 seeds in our bracket.  I confess to knowing absolutely nothing about New Mexico or Temple, so I have no informed opinion whatsoever about them, but I have seen Wisconsin, Marquette and West Virginia all play numerous times this year and if were we to meet up with any of those three, Bob Huggins' Mountaineers being the most difficult, IMO, well, they could prove to be quite challenging for us, but you must play and beat the best to be considered the best as that is the name of the game, after all, and I for one, relish the chance.  March Madness, I can't wait.

It's true that our team is young and our critics, rivals and even some of our own fans see that as a negative aspect for us, and it's also because of that youth we might not be coming in as the paper-favorite or popular favorite to win it all this year, and while no team as young as we currently are has actually ever won it all, history does not always repeat itself, anything is possible this time of year and they don't call it March Madness for nothing.  The paper or popular favorite does not always win games in March, but rather it's the teams that peak at just the right time and click on all cylinders precisely when they should that win games in March and ever the optimist, it's that mentality that gives me great hope and belief in our team, and there is really no good reason for me to think that we won't be the team that excels and overcomes any obstacle in order to advance and conquer.  It's what we have been waiting for, it's what we have been working ever so hard for, and even though we are young and inexperienced in major tournament environments and could be prone to youthful mistakes and those mistakes could indeed prove costly, our boys are also totally and admirably fearless in their youth and that's one of the reasons I really like our chances, they are not afraid of losing when the stakes are raised, why should I be?   I'll take fearless talent over experience any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

Sure, sometimes we get down, and we don't play with an experienced teams' level of intensity for 40 minutes straight or make all the decisions that a veteran laden team might make, but in addition to flexing our considerably talented muscles by blowing teams out as we have done a few times this year, maybe more remarkably, we are capable of taking a 10 point deficient and converting it into a lead in a matter of minutes, we are capable of overcoming glaring rebounding and turnover deficiencies, we are capable of playing incredibly ferocious lock-down defense, and simply, somehow, have successfully been finding a way to win more than a respectable amount of games all year long, and when you reach March and everyone elevates their play and is playing for their lives, so to speak, it's because of the fact that we can overcome being down in one way or another and it's because of our will-to-win ideal combined with our freakish athleticism, extraordinary playmaking ability, unsurpassed talent, and Coach Calipari's leadership that I find this team to have a truly magical nature about them, they are more than capable of greatness in a major tournament environment and could very realistically be the last one standing come April 5th.  In the end, though, whatever happens this March, I am simply ecstatic that I have the opportunity to cheer on our ‘Cats in the tourney this year.  March Madness, bring it on.

March Madness is when considerable memories are made, and as I said previously, just because a team as young as ours has never won it all, that doesn't mean it can't happen.  This year, we have a chance to write an amazing story and make history while we are making memories -- here's to all our memories being good ones.   We shall see.  March Madness, oh, how I love thee.

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