The upcoming battle in the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four between the Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats has made its way to Washington, with members of the federal delegation marking the contest.
Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says Saturday’s game proves the commonwealth is the best college basketball state in the nation and that it will be one of the greatest moments in Kentucky’s sports history.
“From birth, it seems, Kentuckians are raised to root for one of two teams—you either wear red for the Louisville Cardinals, or blue for the Kentucky Wildcats,” he says. “If the excitement and frenzy and turbulence that’s been stirred up in Kentucky this week could be harnessed, we could solve our energy crisis. Basketball fans from Kentucky have been waiting their whole lives for this game.”
Local and state elected officials have also touted the game as the two teams prepare and the sports world focuses on the rivalry.
Earlier this week, the mayors of Louisville and Lexington made a friendly wager and Governor Steve Beshear appeared on ESPN’s Sportscenter to talk about the games economic impact on the state.
As an alumnus of both universities, McConnell avoided picking either the Cards or the Cats, but promises the victor will go on to win the national championship.
“I don’t know who will win Saturday’s game. But I do know this: whoever the winner is, they will go on to defeat either Kansas or Ohio State and bring a national championship back home to Kentucky where it belongs. So count me in with my fellow Kentuckians and college basketball fans everywhere as we tune in this Saturday to see history in the making. It’s going to be very exciting to watch,” he says.
Congressmen John Yarmuth and Ben Chandler, however, proudly showed their partisanship for each university and brandished the school’s colors on the steps of the Capitol. Yarmuth’s district covers most of Louisville and Chandler’s district includes Lexington and covers much of central Kentucky.
The two Democrats didn’t make a wager on the game, but both engaged in friendly trash talk to boast about their respective universities.
“Even when you look back at our seven championship teams, I’m not sure anyone’s ever seen such an unbelievable display of talent at the college level as this one,” Chandler said. “I think it’s great that everyone in Kentucky can be a part of the Wildcats’ journey to another championship.”
“The Cards have been underdogs in the vast majority of their games in the post-season, and they continue to rise to the challenge, surprise people, and just find a way to win,” Yarmuth added.