March is one of my favorite times of the year...Spring has started (cough not really cough) and so has the most important part of collegiate basketball. As a native of Kentucky, March Madness has always been serious business for myself and my family. My grandmother was a die-hard member of the Big Blue Nation of the University of Kentucky and once told my mother she couldn't talk on the phone for two weeks because "her team was playing." I once cheered for Kentucky in basketball back when the program had respect, but alas, as with anyone with a penchant for common sense and a need for intellectual thought in the state of Kentucky, I went to the University of Louisville. All Hail.
The Athletic Department of my Louisville Cardinals has come a long way since I began my college career. I remember how excited I was when I purchased both football (We won't talk about the Kragthrope days.) and basketball season tickets with my best friend and roommate, Lauren. My die-hard love for Cardinal Athletics grew over the years. Under the leadership of Rick Pitino, our basketball program has grown into a respected national powerhouse. When Louisville made the Final Four two years ago in New Orleans, I wasn't able to go due to pre-existing responsibilities, but last year, my husband surprised me with a trip to see both the Final Four and Championship games as Louisville became the 2013 National Champions.
|Bad qualiity...I know. I didn't have my camera yet.|
As for this season, I will describe it as a tough road: a new conference as a in-between until UofL moves to the ACC, the removal of Chane Behanan, and an early loss to that team in Lexington (it's always hard to play at Rupp Area), but the second half of the season showed new promise as I was consoling my husband after Alabama's loss in the Sugar Bowl. My Cardinals ended the season with one confusing loss to me, but entered postseason play strong and determined. This determination helped snag Louisville's one and only American Athletic Conference championship.
On Selection Sunday, many of my Facebook friends were surprised and disgruntled at Louisville being a fourth seed coming out of the Midwest, but honestly, I am not worried about it. Let the usual commentators underestimate us again. Let the commentators disrespect us again. Let the usual fans of our rivals belittle us with untrue statements about our great university, but one thing is for certain: we are damn good at rising to the occasion during tournament play.
|(USA Today Sports photo)|
Welcome to March Madness. All Hail.