Early reveille in Africa; Kentucky vs. Duke live at 5:30 am on Wednesday here in Africa!
If you come to Africa, there are plenty of opportunities to go on a safari. You’ll see lions, giraffes, elephants, leopards, rhinoceroses, to name a few.
However the balance of animals in the African country of Djibouti has been offset by an enormous influx of Wildcats. Kentucky Wildcats to be exact.
On what would be just another quiet African morning here in Djibouti, there were loud yells and cries from the Wildcat population that has now spread itself throughout the African countries, deserts and plains. These normally peaceful and quiet Wildcats apparently, were stirred this morning around 5:30 a.m. (Tuesday 9:30 pm EST) ready to pounce their prey. This morning they were hoping to feast on the rarely seen, at least in these parts, Duke Blue Devil.
Okay, enough National Geographic build-up.
So what, I didn’t get to see the whole game of Kentucky vs. Maryland! It was Maryland and I’m a Kentucky fan. I knew the outcome before tipoff. No offense Terp fans, but even when you were ranked as high as #2 in the country back in the 1998-99 season, it didn’t matter inside Rupp Arena. You came in with a 10-0 record and left with a 10-1 record, final score UK 103 – Terps 91. It was also the largest crowd to see you play live all season. Just saying.
Duke vs. Kentucky brings on a very tasty flavor of college basketball, albeit a different flavor. Matt Jones would have you believe that Duke fans don’t hate Kentucky like we hate Duke. Well, my best friend and the best man in my wedding is a Duke fan, and he hates, I mean HATES Kentucky, worse than North Carolina. Sorry Matt, but Duke fans hate us, too.
Forget Laettner and 1992. There have been many classics in this series. The “Goose” Jack Givens put 41 on Duke in the 1978 title game. To me that’s bigger than 1992, but not as dramatic maybe.
Then in the 1998 NCAA South regional final, Kentucky trailed by 16 points with 9 minutes left to play and somehow clawed its way back to an 86-84 victory and a berth in the Final Four. That eventually led to title banner #7 for the Cats.
December 2001 wasn’t quite as fun with Duke, but an incredible classic match-up nonetheless. The 2002 Jimmy V Classic showdown was played in East Rutherford, N.J. With Kentucky outplaying the Blue Devils for the better part of the second half, coach Krzyzewski pulled out all his starters. It worked too. Duke PG Jay Williams, who by his own admission to me personally wanted to come to Kentucky as his first choice, scored 38 points as the Blue Devils prevailed 95-92 in OT.
Here’s one you never hear about.
Kentucky vs. Duke 1966 national semi-finals from College Park, Md.
Kentucky’s No. 1 ranking was put to the test when it took on the No. 2 team in the nation, Duke, in the semi-finals of the National Collegiate basketball
Kentucky with an all-white starting five won 83-79 against Duke. That same team would play for the National Title, and lose to an all-black starting five in Texas Western.
Here’s what I find interesting though. DUKE also had an all-white starting five that year. I wonder if the game would have been as racially-charged if Duke had played Texas Western?
In any case, I’m here in Africa and we’ve convinced the people running MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) to get up pre-dawn for us Big Blue Nation fans and turn on the big screen for about 200+ Wildcat fans. Go Cats!
Hi Mom, Bro and Sis, I love you all!
I love you Lindsay YAMWW, Kenadee and Trey!