Fairly slow day when it comes to UK news, which is good for us since we have been sitting in traffic in Chicago for the past three fortnights. As I write this, I am sitting courtside for Pittsburgh-Marquette and comparing it to a UK homegame. There are some obvious things to notice:
— First, the level of UK’s passion really is unprecedented. This is a huge homegame for Marquette, one in which an NCAA berth could be at stake and the marketing folks have been hyping for weeks. Yet this arena is not close to sold out and there are probably 13,000-14,000 people here. Compare that to Lexington where Gameday has 22,000 and you see that what happens in Lexington truly is special.
— Having said that, the student section nearly everywhere is better than what we see at UK. We are sitting in front of the students and it has been rocking since tipoff. I am not sure how you explain why the UK students homecourt presence is not what it is at other schools, but it just isnt. Some blame the students (I dont), some blame the tickets (hard not to make money with big donor seats) and some blame Rupp (still the best arena when rocking). But the reality is that it just isnt the same.
— I like Marquette’s cheerleaders. Carry on.
— They serve alcohol at the games and it makes a difference. Crowd gets rowdier as the game goes on. That may be good, it may be bad, but it is reality.
— The final sequence of the Marquette introduction video is the segment in which Dewayne Wade is seen going off on Kentucky. I didnt approve.
— On the UK end of things, prep is ongoing for Vandy which one person close to the program told me today will be the “hardest game of the year” for UK. I agree. Clay Travis calls it the “biggest game for Vandy in decades.” To me, the Vandy game is the one where I see what this team is made of going into March. They dont even have to win, but I want to see them play their “A” game. I have a feeling it is going to happen.
— By the way if you want to see what an ESPN Roadtripper thinks about Rupp Arena, check out the linked piece. Good stuff on Rupp and the atmosphere.
Check out our CBSSports.com Roadtrip Blog and post a comment if you can. The process for registering takes entirely too long, but give it a shot if you can. Also, keep supporting the guys and girls that are here doing the tremendous daily work on KSR…they have had a great day. See ya down the road….
And yes, Drew left the camera in the car when we came to the game, got lost going back to the garage and had a hard time re-entering during halftime. KSR!