I’m going to talk about basketball today, so if you skip over the basketball posts, you’re excused. Having said that, I do have a bit more of a deep purpose with this one. You know…beyond, “GO CATS!”
The University of Kentucky basketball team is standing at the door to history. If they beat Florida on Saturday, they will complete the first undefeated regular season in UK history. If they actually manage to keep the streak of perfection alive through the national championship, they will become the first team in college basketball history to go 41-0. They will also be the first undefeated team since the current bracket system was implemented. Did you get all of that? If not, don’t worry. Here’s all you need to know: if they go 41-0, it will be difficult for anyone to argue against the claim that this is the single best team in the history of college basketball.
It is almost shocking for me to think that UK has never had a perfect regular season before. Not because I bleed blue – though I do – but because Kentucky has had some pretty amazing, historic, national championship-winning teams through the years. And yet, even with all of their successes – which are too numerous to count – their two most historic events are generally considered to be two separate losses.
It’s been called the greatest game/greatest moment/greatest win/greatest shot in the history of the sport. “The Shot Heard ‘Round The World” And Kentucky was the loser. Ever heard of a guy named Christian Laettner? On March 28, 1992, Duke beat Kentucky 103-102 in overtime in the regional final of the NCAA Tournament. The shot was from half court, involved an assist from some guy named Grant Hill, was at the buzzer, blah, blah, blah. If you have no idea what I am talking about, all you have to do is watch any televised evening of basketball during March Madness, this or any year. In some retrospective or opening montage, I guarantee you’ll see it. Or you can watch the upcoming ESPN special “30 for 30: I Hate Christian Laettner”. Seriously what it’s called. Seriously the sentiment of the entire state of Kentucky.
And then there is the 1966 Championship game – Kentucky and their 5 white starting players vs. Texas Western and their 5 black starting players. That one is truly historical, as it came during the Civil Rights movement. Texas Western’s black starting line-up was the first ever. And they won the championship. That’s huge of course, and there has been a movie about it and everything! (That’s how you know something is truly historic!) Yep. Huge, historic moment. Glad it happened. But again…Kentucky lost.
Someone has to lose. I don’t understand why it ever has to be Kentucky, but someone does have to lose. And there is as much history in the loss as there is in the win. That’s the deeper purpose of this one. And also…