For those of you that have been reading me for awhile, you might recall that I grew up a fan of the University of Louisville. I was all Cards, all day everyday. Which, in the late 70s/early 80s wasn’t unheard of for a black kid growing up in Louisville. In fact, during my youth, I saw more panda bears than black UK fans. It just didn’t happen. Not back in those days. Now, I’m not going to rehash the undertones of why the two teams didn’t play for years or the dynamics of the fan bases when the series resumed in 1983. But what I will tell you, as someone that has seen it from both sides, is that this is the best rivalry in college basketball. Period. Bar none. End of story.
Unlike Duke and North Carolina, The Dream Game is a once a year game for year round bragging rights. And as anyone that has lived within the borders of the Commonwealth of Kentucky can tell you, there isn’t an off-season here. It’s college basketball year round. And that’s just the way true Kentuckians like it. And, to be honest, there’s not a lot that Kentucky can be proud of. We lead the country in a lot of bad areas and are dead last in most of the good ones. But the one thing that the Bluegrass State can be proud of is the high level of college basketball played at its state universities and colleges. At every level, Kentucky schools have competed and played for national championships. But, at the heart of it all is the blood feud between the Wildcats and the Cardinals.
I’ll say this, as I’ve said for years, the University of Louisville Men’s Basketball Team is, now matter how you look at it, a Top 10 Program. The resume is there. The championships, the Final Fours, the wins all add up to a historically great program. UL’s biggest issue is that it’s located 75 miles from, historically, the best college basketball program in the country. Stacking them up side by side, it’s not a contest. From 8 NCAA Titles to 2, 15 Final Fours to 9, 57 NCAA Tournament Appearances to 38 and from 2090 all time wins to 1662, it’s easy to see why Little Brother is very good, Big Brother is great. It’s indisputable fact.
I might be in the minority on this one, but I’m going to pick the Cats in an “upset,” 68 – 61. Go Big Blue.