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UK Vs. WKU – My Ultimate Dilemma

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Well, I have to admit, when my Western Kentucky Hilltoppers squeaked into the NCAA Tournament after a terrific run through the Sun Belt, I had a feeling they might meet up with my other love: The Kentucky Wildcats.  And now, tomorrow, we’ll see that very matchup.  What’s a guy that was raised on the Big Blue and graduated from the Big Red to do? 

Whenever I’m asked who my team is, I always list two: Western and UK.  I became a rabid WKU basketball fan in my days in Bowling Green.  In the days of Chris Marcus, Patrick Sparks (before he jumped to UK), and current Houston Rockets star Courtney Lee, I frequently went to E.A. Diddle Arena to wave my red towel.  I was on campus last time Kentucky played the Tops – a win for WKU, where the whole city of Bowling Green, iucluding myself came unglued!

Growing up, it was all about the Cats.  I learned from an early age that you don’t bother my dad when Big Blue is on the TV.  Rick Pitino became a name respected on the level of high-ranking officials, and Christian Laettner was a name reviled more than Satan himself.  From the Farmers to the Mashburns to the Delks to the McCartys to the Padgetts to the Mercers to the Princes to the Bogans to the Walls, I could never name all the superstars that kept me on the edge of my seat.  I loved Rick Pitino.  I loved Tubby Smith.  I suffered through Billy Gillispe.  And I love Coach Cal.  I’ve watched them win two national titles and I’m ready to see another.

So, when I talk about my favorite teams, it’s always these two, but there’s only one occasion when I cheer against one, and that’s when they play each other.  In this case the Hilltoppers will win my affection.  It’s been a rough season for the guys, considering they fired their coach mid-season after a strange ending to a game where their opponents played 6 players.  They moved former, Kentucky Wesleyan coach, Ray Harper to intirim coach and then full time coach.  He took them through the Sun Belt tournement, winning 4 games in 4 days.  He then brought them back froma 16 point deficit in 4 minutes to beat Mississippi Valley State in the First Four.  Let’s face it, they have fought from way behind to get here, so why not cheer the underdog and my alma mater.  UK is more dominant than ever, and has held their number one ranking most of the season.  I just want WKU to have a good showing, then I will do what I expect to, and that’s cheer UK on to a national title.  Hey, WKU is good, but the CATS are amazing this year!  I LOVE MARCH MADNESS!

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