I admit to being on pins and needles, that's why you see me up at 1 AM doing a blog post. I am nervous. About tomorrow. About Louisville vs. Kentucky.
Look, like most of you, I live an breathe Kentucky basketball. Yes, I am loving UK football lately, and last night's Liberty Bowl was a truly great way to ring in the new year. But we all know, we ... have all lived all our lives vicariously through the roundball game, the game that Naismith invented and Rupp perfected. The game that has made the name of our fair state synonymous with something besides fine bourbon and horse racing. One of the things that got mentioned in 2010: Odyssey Two.
This game is a rite of passage every year, but this year it is different from last. Last year, we were severely over matched, and we got beaten just like we deserved to. This year, we are much closer, although Louisville is still the more talented team. More talented, but maybe not better.
I would like to feel more confident in that last sentence. I would like to say, with conviction, that Louisville is more talented, but definitely not a better team. But the fact is, it depends upon which Louisville team takes the floor tomorrow. Will it be the one that crushed Austin Peay like a bug, or the one that lost to the former conference mate of Austin Peay and my own alma mater, Western Kentucky? Which will it be? Or will it be something in-between, or some North Carolina-esque juggernaut as yet unrevealed, or a directionless berserker, like some giant dreadnought with no one at the helm, all firepower and no purpose?
What of Kentucky, then? Will we see the hapless team that took the floor in the first half at Miami, clueless how to attack a simple 2-3 zone defense and relegated to bombing away fruitlessly from the perimeter with only slightly better accuracy than random chance would provide? Will we see the team that got drubbed by UNC, turning the ball over 28 times and almost unable to advance the basketball over half court as though they were a high-school team playing an NBA squad? What lies in wait at 4:30 this afternoon in Freedom Hall -- glory, or disaster? Or maybe a tough, painful last-second loss, or perhaps another 2004-05 game? Or will we see the team that emasculated five out of the last six opponents it has faced?
You know, Louisville fans are really, really down right now. They are as fearful and full of doubt as many Kentucky fans. Both teams have given each fan base reason to question and reason to hope. Louisville has clearly lost momentum, and Kentucky has clearly gained momentum, but none of that matters today. Today is about wrath, today is about ruin, and both teams and fan bases want to be the one left standing when the smoke clears.
I'm getting sleepy now, and I wonder what my dreams will be. Will they be nightmares of Terrence Williams sailing from the free throw line to dunk massively on our heads, or Earl Clark lighting us up like the still-glowing Christmas lights on neighborhood houses? Or will they be sweet dreams of nothing-but-net rainbows from Jodie Meeks, powerful dunks and post moves from Patrick Patterson, or 6th-row rejections by Perry Stevenson? Will it be a night filled with acid reflux and tossing, or restful repose? I will know soon, I guess.
So prepare for battle, Big Blue Nation. This is what we have been waiting for. Good night to you all, and may all your dreams be Big Blue rainbows.