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They don’t call it March Madness for nothing! You won’t find any more avid basketball fans in the nation than those in Kentucky. Whether rooting for the Kentucky Wildcats or the Louisville Cardinals, Kentuckians take their basketball very seriously. This year, fans of both programs have special reason to be proud as both schools have reached the NCAA Final Four. This year marks the first time since 1961 that two teams from one state have met in the Final Four.
The history of this rivalry has been carried into the national media, and the excitement level is spilling beyond the borders of the Bluegrass State. Fans of both schools are sparring on Facebook and sharing photos, each giving the other a hard time about how their school will lose Saturday evening. Locally, we have noticed stores with special merchandise commemorating the big game, and many businesses are decorated with the colors of one or both schools.
Kentucky comes in with seven national championships under its belt, while Louisville has two. The Wildcats were the most recent winners of the two, picking up the 1998 championship. UK and U of L have met 43 times, with Kentucky holding the 29-14 edge after the most recent win, a 69-62 victory on Dec. 31, 2011.
Some people will tell you they cheer for one school when it’s not playing the other, and that’s often true, even in the CKNJ office. But this Saturday, when Kentucky takes on Louisville for a trip to the national championship game, the lines will not be blurred, and fans will root for their favorite team with no regard for the other.
Will your team win on Saturday? Visit www.cknj.com and click on the opinion tab to take our online poll and cast your vote for which team will win and advance to the national championship game.