Shortly after Jarrod Polson’s improbable turn as hero in Kentucky’s opening win over Maryland, he got over 100 text messages, including one from his childhood hero, Cameron Mills. If anyone knew what Polson was experiencing, it was Cameron Mills. Both were walkons at UK that earned scholarships at UK that played sparingly during a NCAA Title. But after Kentucky’s 1996 title, Cameron Mills had a historic game versus the Duke Blue Devils in another title run. Mills had 5 points in UK’s 1998 Southeast Regional win over the Blue Devils, but three of them were “The Shot heard around the Bluegrass”, a trey that put a dagger through the heart of the Dookies and spurred UK to the Final Four.
Tonight, the stakes are not as high, but a win over the Blue Devils will be almost as big to the BBN. Ryan Harrow is out of tonights game and Polson will get his chance on the big stage yet again. And according to Polson, he plays best in this type of situation:
“I just like that feeling of being nervous,” he said Monday. ” … I’ve always liked that feeling, even though it is a little scary. I feel I play better when I’m in those situations.”
It has been 11 years since Kentucky has played the over celebrating, floor slapping Blue Devils. It seems that every game these team play is epic as the big game mentality goes back to 1978 when Kentucky won the ultimate prize against the Dookies in the NCAA Title game. Despite all this history, the teams rarely play and as a matter of fact, Kentucky and Duke have played just three times since the 1992 classic in Philadelphia. John Clays runs down the history between the two teams since that classic game in Philly.
As a matter of fact, the latest classic showdown between UK and Duke went down last night when most of you were sleeping. Yet war was waged. The WBN’s very own Jason Marcum appeared on ESPNU’s Unite at midnight last night and faced off in a debate against Adam Rowe, a blogger from the Duke Hoop Blog in an epic battle of wits. You should be shocked that Jason claimed another win for the BBN, but don’t let me tell you. Watch the appearance here: