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We’re a little under seven hours away (ugh) from tipoff in Quaker Oats/Quicken Loans Arena and blue is slowly making its way into the city of Cleveland. I’ve been cooped up in my hotel room all day, but I did do a lap around the mall and casino a little earlier and saw plenty of blue moving into the hotels. However, I also saw plenty of Mountaineer blue and gold so it may not be the lopsided crowds we saw in Nashville and Louisville the past two weekends. The UK fans here in Cleveland need to bring the noise tonight.
— Seth Greenberg, one of the good guys in the media, made a good point today about the new Calipari-to-the-NBA rumors swirling around everywhere. Greenberg believes these “sources” are planting the rumors to affect recruiting at Kentucky. With several elite prospects out there and UK still looking to land three or four of them, the thought of Cal bolting this summer could sway some decisions. Bold strategy by, oh, let’s say Bill Self. (I have no idea if it’s Bill Self, or if it’s true. Good point by Greenberg, though.)
— Shane Battier picked West Virginia to win tonight. In related news, someone pays Shane Battier money to talk about college basketball.
— UK still sitting at -13 out in Las Vegas. Give me the Cats to cover, please. I think all of this new media-driven hype around the Mountaineers is only setting this game up for a blowout. Daxter Miles didn’t do his team any favors yesterday, either. Cats win big tonight.
— Brad Paisley is talking trash on Twitter. (And has a deal with Four Roses bourbon, apparently.) Paisley tweeted: “Dear Kentucky, I love you, your bluegrass & your people, & tonight we toast @4RosesBourbon to your 36-1 season.”
He will soon drink his pain away a little at a time. But he’ll never get drunk enough to get tonight’s game off his mind.
— Our friends at Thoroughbred in Lexington are ready for the game!
I love Thoroughbred.
— Matt just wrapped up his appearance on ESPN’s Outside The Lines. We hope to have video on the site soon so check back a little later if you missed the show.
— Ryan Lemond and I will be on the air tonight at 7:00 pm for the KSR pregame show. Tune in and give us a call as we broadcast live from the lobby of The Renaissance. Matt Jones and Oscar Combs will take over at 8:00 pm for the official IMG pregame show in the arena.
— I’ll leave you with this reader submission from #TeamWes:
David Wesley “Wes” Freeland is a man of many passions and talents. On any given day, you can find him cheering on the Kentucky Wildcats, training for a marathon, watching the Thoroughbreds race, or shopping for a new pair of running shoes. His athleticism is far better than most his age and his spirit and determination is admired by all who know him.
He is a husband, father, son, brother, friend and FIGHTER. Wes has run many marathons in his lifetime, but he was not at all prepared nor did he train for what would prove to be the most difficult marathon of all — CANCER.
In July 2014, Wes was diagnosed with Grade IV Glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer. For the past 8 months he has experienced many ups and downs, but very little has deterred his determination to beat this deadly disease. At the young age of 36, Wes tied on his best pair of running shoes and took off on a journey he thought he’d never have to run.
His love for Kentucky basketball and running started at a very young age. Wes started running track and cross country at Elizabethtown High School in the 7th grade. He was State AA 800 meter champion in 1994 through 1996, and was a member of the State AA champion 3200 meter relay team in 1994 and 1995, setting a record in ’95.
After high school, Wes attended the University of Kentucky where he was a member of the UK Cross Country and Track Team from 1996 through 1999. His athleticism earned him letters his sophomore, junior and senior years. He was also a member of the K Club, before graduating in 2001.
Most recently, Wes learned that his cancer was showing signs of progression. While the original tumor has remained unchanged since surgery, some other unwelcome lesions have appeared. As a result, Wes started a new chemotherapy regimen and remains determined as ever to keep fighting.
Although fatigued, he is always ready to cheer on the CATS. Whether he’s watching the game from home or a hospital bed, one thing remains certain, he will be wearing blue and white. While Wes is cheering for the Cats path to perfection, his family and friends are cheering for him. Although very different situations, one could say Wes and the UK basketball players have something in common, DETERMINATION.