My girls go to school approximately 11 miles away from Lucas Oil Stadium. When I picked them up about an hour ago, that is the closest I’ll get to downtown Indy this weekend.
I’ve already dealt with a downtown swarming with Kentucky fans once this year. No need to do it again when A) there are going to be approximately 8 million of them clogging the streets this time and B) their team is on the verge of history. They were insufferable back in November. I can’t imagine what they’ll be like this weekend.
Nope, I’ll stay up here in the northern suburbs practicing spring sports with the girls.
It’s not just Kentucky, though. We’re on the verge of a nightmare scenario national championship game for most of the college basketball world. Who do you root for if there is a Duke-Kentucky final and you are not a fan of either school? These are the bluest of the blue bloods over the past 25 years. They are, likely, the two most loathed programs in the game. How do you pick when it’s Evil Empire 1 vs. Evil Empire 2?
I suppose the right answer is that you hope that matchup does not happen. Maybe Michigan State can spin their Tom Izzo magic one more game and knock off Duke. And might Wisconsin have the perfect combination of size, experience, offense, and smarts to hang with the Wildcats for 38 minutes and then make the winning plays that Notre Dame could not make in last week’s regional final?
Sure, both are possible. Anything is possible in the NCAA tournament. This is an event that routinely does not end up with the best team winning the championship.
But I won’t be holding my breath for two upsets, let alone one Saturday.
So it’s going to be the ultimate college basketball brand, Kentucky, where John Calipari sells his program as the finest stepping stone to the NBA, versus the most corporate program in the game, Duke, where when Coach K isn’t expertly adjusting his offense to best suit the talent he has in a given year, he’s thinking of how he can leverage that success into another round of speeches and books aimed at business leaders.
I can’t bring myself to root for Duke as the final chance to prevent Kentucky from going undefeated. But neither can I want anything good to happen to UK and Calipari.
So I’m going to root like hell for Wisconsin tomorrow, and then I’ll spend most of Monday night watching baseball. But I’m sure I’ll be checking in on what’s going on downtown regularly.
- Early dismissal for Good Friday, then no school on Monday. The joys of Catholic schools! ↩
- As a reminder a Kentucky fan a couple rows behind us told the 9-year-old Duke fan directly behind us to pay attention, because this was the best team he would ever see. And this was in the first 10 minutes when KU was still in the game. TO A 9-YEAR-OLD! ↩