I saw another thread which asked of you watch the Cats at the games, in a sports bar, at home with friends or alone. I used to have lower level season tickets at Rupp Arena for twenty years, but watched the away games on TV. As a student, I went to every game at Memorial for all four years, including the North Carolina game where the student line to get in was wrapped around the Coliseum almost twice. That's the way things were done back in the sixties....first come, first served. That line began the day before the game.
After I graduated in 1971 and moved to Atlanta, I was forced to watch the Cats on television, mostly at home. My wife and I did go to some of the alumni parties that gathered to watch the game. The best was the night before the 1976 Peach Bowl when Jay Shidler went off on Notre Dame. The hotel ballroom became so crowded that they had to open up another ballroom. The place, of course, was just another example of how UK fans are crazy. With 40,000 Kentucky fans in Atlanta for the drubbing of North Carolina, more who attended the basketball game came down to "Catlanta" that night and the following morning to go to the Peach Bowl. Folks, that's devotion.
I had the pleasure of going to San Antonio back in '98 to watch the "Comeback Cats" bring home #6. It was an incredible experience in an incredible city. Being down by five at the half against Stanford and by ten against Utah in the championship game made the experience that much more enjoyable.
So, why am I nervous? If you've watched Kentucky basketball for many years like me, you remember the games when our guys, for whatever reason, got that deer in the headlights look. Instead of playing to win, we played "not to lose." The end result of that was always a loss. The games that come to my mind was the Georgetown game, the UCLA game (Wooden's last), the Duke game (Pitino's worst ever coaching decision), the "Dream Game" in OT, the UConn games. I could go on. You get the idea, or maybe you experienced those games. For me, those games are always in the back of my mind during tournament time, especially in the Final Four.
With this team, I have been very confident every game until the Notre Dame Fighting Irish took us to the wall. Yeah, we won, but it was a borderline miracle. Some might think that game signaled a team of destiny. I'm not so sure. With two games left (assuming we do beat Wisconsin), I know Kentucky isn't unbeatable unless they win both in a season that I don't want to ever end.
Wisconsin is capable of beating us. Any team with the Player of the Year is capable. The Badgers are not a one man band. We know that from last year when Sam Dekker and Ben Brust torched us with 15 apiece while we held Frank Kaminsky to 8 pts in his 32 minutes on the floor. We won by one points on that incredible Aaron Harrison three off of Andrew Harrison's assist with six seconds remaining.
One thing we know. Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein rode the bench last year with an injury. This year, he's ready to play. Willie may or may not be a force on the offensive end. Statistically, he won't be a big factor on offense, but he will be a factor on the defensive end, particularly in the second half as the opponents tend to wear down. He is an effective rebounder, averaging 6.5 per game. That's right behind Karl-Anthony Towns' 6.6 per game. WCS could very well be the difference maker in this game.
I fully intend to watch the game alone at home while my wife visits the grandsons. After all these years since I earnestly began to follow the Cats in 1958, Ive found the older I get, the more I don't want anyone talking to me as I watch the game. I know watching the game on TV is better. When you sit in a bar or at home with a groups of friends, there's just too much distraction for my taste. When I'm alone I can tell the announcers who would rather talk about most anything other than the game, I can yell at them to "Shut the eff up!" I can also pause the TV when the first commercial comed on and pause the telecast for five minutes while I go do something, come back and fast forward through the commercials and continue watching the game. Is it just me? I'm thinking we get to watch about six minutes of game for every five or six minutes of commercials.
As I said, I'm worrying about this game, but can hardly wait for it to begin. I'm like Calipari, I just want our guys to play their best. If they do that and can't win, I'm oksy with that because we‘ve already made a single season's history: 38-0. Like I said, I don't want this season to end......ever. I might add that I don't want to grow any older either.