Subscribe via RSS Feed

Kentucky Basketball Tonight

[ 18 ] March 31, 2012 |

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.

Share with Sociable

Comments (18)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jim Lynch says:

    Uptight sports fans should learn to relax and enjoy the weather while the sun shines. I savored every season of the 49ers golden era all the more, knowing perfectly well it wasn’t going to last. When they shockingly advanced to the NFC championship game this year, the thought of them getting beat didn’t faze me a bit. Win or lose, I was happy as a pig in mud that they had got as far as they did. A sense of dread is just so much wasted energy, so long as life remains in any team vying for a crown.

    • Thlayli says:

      Funny, I felt exactly the same way about the Giants. In that game — and the next one — I thought “the Giants have no business even being in this game, so how can I feel bad if they lose?”

      Of course they didn’t lose, and it was great, but it’s a different experience from winning a title off a 14-2 season.

  2. UberMitch says:

    Notre Dame football is supposed to be a “dominant programs that may be on the wane”? How many decades ago was this post written?

  3. Ben says:

    Looks like it’s going to be a very entertaining game. But Jesus Christ, Clark Kellogg, shut the fuck up. Let ten seconds go by without saying something. You might like it.

  4. Macgyver says:

    UK fans are victims of our teams successes. We’ve won forty something SEC titles, most all-time wins, havent lost a home game in 3 yrs, and have highest all-time win percentage now a vocal minority only get excited to hang national title banners. There is a majority of fans who enjoy the ride but it is fair to say we’ve all been spoiled.

  5. Lamont Cranston says:

    What was UPS thinking with that ad? It may as well be thirty seconds of someone repeatedly saying “screw you, Kentucky.”

  6. charles pierce says:

    Bob – When you get a moment, google “1978 Team Without Joy” for the source of this curious phenomenon. Joe B. Hall Lives!

  7. jwinters says:

    In any case, go ‘Cats! Brutalize the Cardinals! Louisville isn’t really even in Kentucky…

    But Louisville is across the river from Kentucky, so does that count?

  8. JMG says:

    Excellent game. Poor (well, extremely rich) Rick, first team of his career without a three-point shooter, and there you are.

  9. joejoejoe says:

    As Stan Van Gundy said, any NBA team would crush any NCAA team. Kemba Walker was the 9th pick in the draft last year from the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies and he doesn’t start for the worst team in the NBA, the 7-42 Bobcats. Pitino and Calipari are college coaching legends and both washed out of the NBA. The NBA is intense and all the boolah-boolah nonsense you see each March gets you exactly nowhere as a pro.

  10. Mike Schilling says:

    The only long-term dominant team I’ve ever been a fan of is the 49ers of the 90s and 90s. And I do recall their waning years (the late 90s) as quite joyless. When they lost to upstarts like the Panthers and Favre’s Packers, it was immensely frustrating, and when they won, big deal, they were supposed to win. The increasingly frantic moves they made to try to get back on top were even uglier, and it felt almost preordained when one of the worst, Lawrence Phillips, resulted in Steve Young’s career-ending injury, which ended the dynasty once and for all.

  11. c u n d gulag says:

    Though I’m no KY fan, as a Yankee fan, I like to see them win the NCAA’s.

    The last 6 times Ky won the National Championship, the Yankees won the WS:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1125154-if-kentucky-wins-the-yankees-will-march

    I do like Calipari – though don’t ask me why.

    And he’s done a great job of coaching kids who are probably only going to school for that one year. It can’t be easy trying to get kids who think they’re future millionair NBA stars, and get them to play “D.”

  12. c u n d gulag says:

    Or future “millionaire” ones either…

    “Edit” please – 4 oui blin’ ‘n stoopid peeple.

  13. Sophia says:

    the Wildcats will probably win, and will in all likelihood destroy the opponent of the day, but what if they don’t?

    I think it was Purdue that started the “How the fuck did we lose that game?” support group. Wolfpack brought the coffee. UNC the donuts. OSU the booze. Should be a party by the time the Wildcats get there.

  14. efgoldman says:

    …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.

    See, you’re doing it backwards. What you want to do is cheer for Kentucky football and Oregon basketball. Then you won’t have any of the problems of the entitled, front-running fan base.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.