by Alan B. Gibson
Tourney time in Kentucky – part 8
The March part of Madness may be behind us with the arrival (finally) of April , but the fun part of the Madness still is aplenty for NCAA roundball fans as we head toward the “meat and potatoes” part – this weekend’s Final Four games.
Of course all Kentucky eyes – even the “haters” are turned toward the team from our state’s largest city – the Louisville Cardinals, and their quest to bring the National Championship to the state of Kentucky for the second consecutive year.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge Louisville fan – in addition to being huge UK fan, and there are plenty of us out there. Still I know first hand that there are some in-state Louisville “haters” who just hate for the sake of hating the Cards.
It’s the same all over – I’ve got friends who live in Tennessee – really, I do – who are actually residents of Nashville and are huge fans of the UT Volunteers, while at the same time wouldn’t travel across the street to watch the Vandy Commodores play even if they were in a National Championship game.
Anyway, still says here – as it did in both of my NCAA brackets, that the championship title will remain in Kentucky when the dust has all settled – just some 70 miles to the west.
My question is whether or not Ricky P will take off the 1996 UK Championship ring for a new one, or just wear them both.
Thoughts returned to January 9, 2001
Watching Sunday’s matchup between the Cardinals and Puke – sorry Myra, I meant Duke – the tragic leg injury suffered by Louisville’s Kevin Ware in the first half was ugly, ugly, ugly.
Looking at the replay, when I saw that bone sticking out of the skin just above his sock, my stomach went straight to my throat and my thoughts immediately turned to that Tuesday night on January 9, 2001 when I watched Clinton County’s Brent Guffey go down with a very similar injury.
Like Sunday’s event, Brent wasn’t pushed, fouled or did anything out of the ordinary to cause his injury – he just came down funny on that leg and it buckled. With both bones broken just above his ankle and bones protruding through his skin, Brent immediately tried to get up and run back down the floor with his leg folded in half.
I still remember thinking for a split second that the loud “popping” sound I had just heard was a player slapping the backboard – then witnessing Brent on the floor, I came to realize that the sound was that of his leg bones snapping.
It was then, and still remains to be, the ugliest thing I’ve ever witnessed an athlete suffer from the sidelines.
Brent made a full recovery, and here’s hoping that by next season, we’ll be watching Ware back on the court in a Louisville Cardinal uniform as well.