Thursday, March 18, 2010

Welcome back Kentucky - You were missed

Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back

50 weeks ago, Kentucky began its road to today. The ousting of former coach Billy Clyde Gillispie, a courtship with choice 1a Billy Donovan, the hiring of 1b John Calipari, nearly immediate letters of intent from Demarcus "Boogie" Cousins and Eric Bledsoe, and then the acquisition of John Wall. The Cats won the regular season SEC championship, swept Player and Freshman of the year honors in the SEC, and won the SEC tournament for the 26th time.

But today, Kentucky returns to the NCAA tournament. For a chance to end their longest streak without a Final Four appearance in the storied history. An East Tennessee State team that has a longer streak of NCAA appearances (2) than Kentucky, will be their first test. A win would be followed by a matchup of Texas or Wake Forest Saturday for a chance at the sweet 16 for the first time since the Tubby Smith era and farther than any current player has ever ventured into the NCAA tournament.

The Wildcat faithful will be at full attention at 7:15 tonight to watch this event. This is the day they, OK we've all been waiting for. Who/what do I ultimately credit for this reemergence. None other than BCG and his NIT bid last year. That may have done something for the Cats and Cat fans other than get the removal of BCG from the first chair on the bench. It may have brought back the glow of the NCAA's. Once taken for granted, I can't remember the fan base being more excited and energetic than this year, right now, this very moment.

It's been more than 700 days since the last time Kentucky played in a post-season tournament that mattered, and that's entirely too long. But just long enough to make them/me miss it.

What the future holds for the Cats is unknown, but whatever it is, I'm fine with the ending. It's been an awesome season with a great group of guys to watch. Welcome back to the NCAA's, Welcome back to relevance, Welcome back to March Madness - You were missed.

1 comment:

  1. This makes the tournament 100% more interesting.