Twenty-three years ago on this date, March 24th, 1989, the Exxon Valdez, a 987-foot oil tanker, collided into a reef, spilling crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. The tanker spilled over 200,000 barrels of oil, making it one of the largest and most devastating environmental disasters ever at sea. It was determined that approximately 250,000 seabirds, 3,000 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, and up to 22 killer whales died as a result of the spill, and the fish stocks in the area were also devastated due to the oil.
Like the Exxon Valdez, this college basketball season also started in the Pacific Ocean, when North Carolina defeated Michigan State on an aircraft carrier on Veterans Day. But unlike the oil tanker in 1989, this season has lived up to it’s billing and has been far from a disaster. If you were a fan of any of the heavyweights going into the season, besides a certain 2 seeded team which was ranked 6th preseason in both polls and was planning to celebrate a certain 20th anniversary this weekend, your team is likely still alive and you’re most likely very happy with the results of the season and the tournament so far. Of the final eight teams, all were ranked in the preseason top 13 in the country.
Although Louisville and Florida had many bumps along the way, in the end of the season when it mattered, they were both right were everyone expected them to be. Unfortunately for the Gators, they were once again unable to close out a good team. Florida played great for about 36 minutes, but collapsed in the final four minutes, even with Peyton Siva fouled out. Kentucky fans had a lot of mixed emotions this afternoon, having to decide on whether they should root for the SEC or for Louisville and a potential date with the Cards in New Orleans. Whatever your preference was, the Cards and Ohio State have each advanced and they will be in New Orleans.
Now it’s time for the Cats to do their part to set up the Bluegrass Final Four match-up, and it won’t be easy. Baylor is one of the few teams that can actually match up athletically with Kentucky and it should be a battle. Anthony Davis is the one special talent that can be the difference maker, but he can’t afford to have two early fouls as he did Friday night. The pressure is at an unbelievably high level to win and set-up a meeting with the Cards, but as we’ve seen time and time again, these kids are focused, mature, and on a mission.
I just hope they aren’t reading much on twitter, or even the excitement we have here at KSR, about what may happen next Saturday in New Orleans. Our kids need to be relaxed and loose, like they were last night. If they don’t worry about all the hoopla, they should be fine. One thing is for certain: they’ll have Big Blue Nation strongly behind them at 2:20 tomorrow afternoon, including fellow KSR College writer Meagan Matthews, aka “Meagatron”, and her sisters, who would like to say hi from Catlanta.
Thanks for spending a day with some of us KSR Interns, we’ll see you again tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter @wilmhoffKSR