(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
8pril. It’s finally here. We made it together, and we said it all along: this was the championship team. This was the team to bring that title back to its rightful place in the heart of basketball country — back to the Bluegrass. Kentucky is 40 minutes away from hoisting a National Championship, and putting an exclamation point on an absolutely incredible season — one Kentucky fans will remember for the rest of their lives.
Remember the start of the season? Back in October at Big Blue Madness. The legend of The Brow had begun, and we got our first glimpse at him in action. Here’s a quick summary: dunks on dunks on dunks. Go back on your Twitter timelines and look at how awestruck you were. I think it’s safe to say Mr. Anthony Davis lived up to the hype. Coach Calipari said at the podium, “We don’t move the needles, we are the needle,” and the 2011 Final Four banner was unfurled. Just like that, the Brandon Knight era had passed, and a new title hunt was on.
Remember how the Cats steamrolled through their schedule in the early season, dispatching Marist, Penn State, Radford and Portland, and more notably Kansas in Madison Square Garden. Kentucky looked elite in every sense of the word, and already the national media was talking title year. One of the only teams, so they said to challenge that was North Carolina. And the Tar Heels visited Rupp for one of the most anticipated games of the decade, and exited with a one-point loss, thanks to the long-arms of Anthony Davis. If he wasn’t already, it was this game on December 3 that firmly placed Davis in the national spotlight.
Remember bursting out of the gates at 8-0 to start the season, and the newly crowned No. 1 team in the nation, Kentucky cruising up to the hostile confines of Bloomington, Indiana. The Cats displayed their worst game of the young season. But despite it all, they had a chance to win… but fell to another “shot” by Christian. It’s a memory engrained — at least in every Kentucky player’s memory — and one which could be credited in part for helping the team advance to the Elite Eight.
Fast forward through the SEC schedule where Calipari and company dominated the regular season. They stumbled only once, in the final battle with a Southeastern Conference foe. Many would argue it refocused the team for this legendary run in March. Others would say it didn’t matter because this team had bigger goals to accomplish. Whatever the reason, all Kentucky fans (and even fans of basketball in the state) can unite for this one goal: to bring the title back to the Commonwealth.
Not to put a damper on this final day of college basketball, but realize too this is more than likely the last time we’ll see Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, and possibly Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Marquis Teague in the Blue and White. Savor the moment, friends; especially you fellow students. You owe it to yourself, the fans, and the city of Lexington to make this a night to remember. This is a game and a time of our lives we will never forget, so let’s be safe and responsible.
Coach Calipari said at Big Blue Madness to start the season, “Tonight we feel the Kentucky Effect in full force as we redefine college basketball.”
Now let’s go get that title.