Overseas, staying united despite the blue-red division

The smack-talk had been going on for weeks and was getting nowhere, just
circling like buzzards waiting for something to die. After months here in Africa
the 500-plus members of Task Force Longrifles had become more divided as
basketball fans. There were those that cheered on the red team and those that
cheered on the blue team. They both got exactly what they were waiting for
Sunday at midnight here in Africa: The Game.

The Louisville Cardinals vs. the Kentucky Wildcats in Louisville, brought to you by the Armed Forces Network!

How big was this game? Louisville PG Peyton Siva summed it up by saying, “For our fans this is like a national championship game.”

An honest Kentucky fan will admit it’s not just another game on their schedule

Kentucky, full of freshman starters, and unranked in the polls, made the trip west on I-64 to take on the #4 ranked team in the country, the Louisville Cardinals.  What a difference a year makes, right? Last year the Cats were the #3 ranked team in the nation taking on the, you guessed it, still ranked #4 Cards.

But these new Cats no longer had names like Teague, Jones, Lamb, Miller, Kidd-
Gilchrist and Davis running around in the blue and white. These were Cal’s Cats
4.0, still a great operating system but a few bugs need to be worked out.

Louisville would win 80-77,  led by the efforts of Chane Behanan, who
finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and three steals. One thing was apparent for Kentucky; this was a much more physical team than the one that played Duke 6 weeks ago.

Soldiers of Task Force Longrifles celebrate here in Djibouti, Africa after watching the Cardinals defeat the Cats in men’s college basketball on December 30, 2012.

Kentucky’s Goodwin was a beast, pacing the Cats with 22 points. Nerlens Noel led everyone with 8 rebounds. The Cats trailed 51-34 at one point, then went on a tear and outscored the Cards 28-14 to cut into the lead making it 65-62. But it wasn’t meant to be as the Cards closed it out with that Rick Pitino defense that we used to love, but now hate to see.

For now though the Kentucky Guard Soldiers of Task Force Longrifles can
drop their red flags and blue flags for a while and raise the Kentucky state flag
together that unites us all. And be reminded by the words of one of the greatest
Kentuckians of all-time, Abraham Lincoln, who so eloquently said: United we
stand, divided we fall.

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