In the course of what amounts to an aesthetic argument on behalf of the Louisville Cardinals, Dennis Berman argues:
This should be a moment of elation for Kentucky fans. Their team plays a ruthlessly beautiful brand of basketball. Their starting lineup is better than the New Jersey Nets.
And yet there is something lurking underneath: A sense that winning is, in its own odd way, making UK’s fans miserable. Their expectations of triumph—be it recruiting battles or tournament games—has hardened into a coarse entitlement. It’s gotten to the point where even a championship will feel like anticlimax.
My best friend, a rare species of Louisville-turned-Kentucky turncoat, admits it. “It’s not fun,” he says. “We expect it.”
There’s something to this. While I appreciate that the state of Kentucky basketball since my arrival in the commonwealth has been unusually tumultuous (the graceless exit of Tubby, the trainwreck called Billy Gillespie), I’ve generally found Kentucky fans to be knowledgeable, committed, but curiously joyless about the object of their affection. I count myself as a fan now (I lack the contrarian spirit, except in extreme situations), and it seems that at certain atmospheric dread backdrops every game; the Wildcats will probably win, and will in all likelihood destroy the opponent of the day, but what if they don’t? After the final Gillespie year, when it seemed that the center of power in the SEC might be drifting permanently south, this dread became palpable.
I wonder; do Notre Dame football fans feel this same way? Is it characteristic of dominant programs that may be on the wane? Will this atmosphere of dread and apprehension lift if the ‘Cats win the title, at least for a while? I hope so; cheering for the Cats is altogether more trying that cheering for the Ducks, even if I’m a great deal more enthusiastic about Oregon football than Kentucky basketball. I suppose that the Ducks would have to have a very long run of success before the legacy of the program itself became weighty.
In any case, go ‘Cats! Brutalize the Cardinals! Louisville isn’t really even in Kentucky…
…and as for the LGM NCAA Tourney Bracket:
If Kansas wins and is beaten by Kentucky, tb_slash wins.
If Ohio State wins and is beaten by Kentucky, mwbugg wins.
If Ohio State beats Kentucky, grinchgalleriesofoysterbay wins.
If Kansas beats Kentucky, rapayn01 wins.