Over the weekend, CBS Sports aired a two hour retrospective on the 75 year history of March Madness. It got me thinking about some of my favorite memories while watching the tournament.
I’m a child of the 1980s and the first time I recall watching the tournament was in 1992. I was only 7 years old. I was rooting for the wrong team during the first half of the Kentucky-Duke game because the Cats had been in white for the previous 3 games of the tournament. My father, appropriately, corrected me during halftime. That regional final in Philadelphia, to this date, remains one of the greatest basketball games of all time.
Jamal Mashburn and Travis Ford were my first favorite Kentucky players. I’ll never forget Mashburn fouling out and getting blood on his jersey in the 1993 Final Four. I just wish Mashburn’s final college game would have been a win but that was not the case.
My favorite Kentucky squad that I watched would have to be the 1995-96 Untouchables squad. Not only did the team win the national championship at the Meadowlands but a large majority of the roster would end up playing some part of their professional career in the NBA. I was able to meet many of those players when they reunited in mid-December for a signing at Cardboard Heroes in Louisville.
Of the 21 seasons that I have watched Kentucky basketball play, the 2012 squad is my second favorite team that I have seen. Of course, I wish that those guys had come back for another season at Kentucky but we have to accept the fact that until the NBA and NBPA go to a 2-and-done rule, college basketball will not be as good as it could be.
For me, being able to attend my first NCAA tournament game in 2012 is one of those experiences that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Have a happy new year and see you in 2013!