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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Conrad Discusses NCAA Traffic Plan

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad is preparing for the NCAA Final Four showdown between Kentucky’s biggest in-state rivals, and he hopes fans of both teams show their maturity this weekend.

Police unveiled a traffic and safety plan earlier this week and officers will be out in force Saturday night. They’ll be prepared to shut down streets and make arrests if necessary, with extra attention being paid to the University of Louisville’s Belknap campus, West Broadway and the Baxter Avenue/Bardstown Road corridor.

Conrad says police want fans to have fun, but officers are prepared to make sure things do not turn riotous.

“We want to make sure that people have, but that fun doesn’t interfere with other people’s ability to use the streets, use the sidewalk, get to businesses, get to their homes and we certainly don’t want to see the couch burning ways of some of the things we saw in Lexington,” he says.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Fischer Claims ‘Cardinal Red Day’ Set World Record

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared the city has set a world’s record for people wearing red in a single day for his “Cardinal Red Day” to celebrate the University of Louisville’s trip to the NCAA Final Four.

The university rejected Fischer’s offer to hold a pep rally so he called for every resident and business to either wear or display red. No numbers have been released to confirm whether the city did actually break a record, but the mayor is taking full advantage of the fanfare surrounding “Basketball Armageddon.”

“We have no idea what the existing record was–or even if there was a previous record–but we know we smashed it,” Fischer said in a news release. “You can’t go anywhere today without running into a sea of red.”

On a more serious note, the mayor dodged a question on whether he’ll fly or drive to New Orleans to watch the Cardinals take on the Kentucky Wildcats, but said whatever the cost he will “do the right thing” regarding expenses.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Federal Delegation Catches Basketball Fever

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.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Fischer Declares Friday ‘Cardinal Red Day’

After the University of Louisville turned down his offer to hold a pep rally before the Cardinals Final Four appearance this Saturday, Mayor Greg Fischer wants the city to set a world’s record for the most people wearing red in one day to celebrate.

Fischer has declared Friday as Cardinal Red Day and is encouraging residents to wear red, business to display red and residents to show red at their homes. The mayor continued to make his earlier prediction that U of L will beat the Kentucky Wildcats as part of a friendly wager with Lexington Mayor Jim Gray.

“I want to paint the town red – literally,” Fischer said. “Everyone knows that UK fans will be seeing red when the Cards win on Saturday.”

The mayor said if there is no world’s record category for Most People Wearing Red in a Day, the city will simply create one and declare victory. He is also asking residents to display the Cardinal Red Day proclamation at work, at home and in local businesses.

Fischer had sought to hold a community-wide rally sometime this week, but the university’s athletic department told the mayor’s office it wanted the players to be focused before the game.

“This is a great time to be a Louisvillian and to show your support for our hometown team,” Fischer said.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Beshear and Abramson Discuss ‘Dream Game’ on ESPN

Appearing on ESPN’s Sportscenter, Governor Steve Beshear and Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson discussed the upcoming game between the Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament.

The excitement over the archrivals playing for a spot in the championship game spilled over into the political arena earlier this week when Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray made a friendly wager over Saturday’s outcome.

Basketball craze has engulfed the commonwealth as the two teams get closer to “Basketball Armageddon”, but Beshear and Abramson—who is the former mayor of Louisville—chose to tout their teamwork despite being on opposite sides of the rivalry.

“Jerry and I are living proof that Louisville and UK can work together,” Beshear said.

Check it out:

UPDATE: The two have also cut a radio ad promoting the fact Kentucky is the only state with two teams in the NCAA Final Four.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Stein Calls Out Williams for SEC Tournament Trip

Adding more fuel to their burning rivalry, state Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, continued her criticism of state Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, over his recent trip to New Orleans for the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference basketball tournament during the legislative session.

The Senate changed its schedule and did not take up any legislation last Thursday or Friday in order for Williams to attend the University of Kentucky men’s basketball games.

When asked about that decision, the former Republican gubernatorial candidate lashed out at reporters and defended his attendance record.

“Go ahead, write a bad story about me; I don’t give a rat’s ass. I’m here more than anyone else,” Williams told The Courier-Journal.

Speaking to CN2’s Ryan Alessi, Stein continued to poke at the GOP leader by (4:05 mark) decrying Williams’s trip to the NCAA’s SEC basketball tournament last weekend and said it was a “mis-use” of his power.

Check it out:

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Local News

Pitino: Kuric Out For DePaul Game With Ankle Sprain

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino says leading scorer Kyle Kuric won’t play tomorrow against DePaul after suffering a high ankle sprain in practice.

The Cardinals have lost four of their last five games, including a 31 point blowout Tuesday night at Providence.

Pitino says he understands fans’ frustration with the team’s struggles, but the Cards need their support to recover from a 1 and 3 start in Big East Conference play.

U of L has had seven players miss at least one game with health or eligibility issues this season.

Pitino bristled at suggestions raised in a Courier-Journal article that his players are feeling the effects of overwork in practice, saying he doesn’t push his players any harder than other coaches.

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Local News

UK Tops U of L 69-62

The 4th ranked University of Louisville men’s basketball team couldn’t hold off the 3rd ranked University of Kentucky today.

Freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the Wildcats to a 69-62 victory at Rupp Arena. Kidd-Gilchrist scored a season-high 24 points and had 19 rebounds.

Both teams went into the match with 12 and 1 records, though UK was favored to win. Since the two teams have played the annual Battle of the Bluegrass, the Wildcats have come away with more victories. This also marks the team’s 44th straight home win.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

NY Times: McConnell Lobbying Big 12 for U of L Athletics

The New York Times is reporting that U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is lobbying the Big 12 conference to select the University of Louisville over West Virginia University to fill the vacancy.

It had been expected that NCAA leaders were going to announce the Mountaineers’ move to the conference as part of a realignment earlier this week, but now sports analysts are calling it “50-50” chance on whether the Cardinals will be selected instead.

From the New York Times:

Two other people with direct knowledge said that the lobbying of the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, had helped Louisville. His communication with Oklahoma’s president, David Boren, a former senator, and Texas Tech’s chancellor, Kent Hance, a former congressman, played a role in raising Louisville’s fortunes. Hance confirmed that McConnell called him to push Louisville.

McConnell’s office would not comment for the story, but West Virginia’s two U.S. Senators have questioned the appropriateness and ethics if the Republican Leader did get involved.

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Local News State of the News

Money Is Main Cause of College Football Conference Shuffle: State of the News [Audio]

Earlier this month, the University of Pittsburgh and Syracuse University announced they would leave their athletic conference, the Big East, and join the ACC. Syracuse is a charter member of the Big East, which currently has 16 member school, including UofL. The move has touched off much speculation and shuffling among conference throughout the country. Friday on State of the News, we caught up with Sports Illustrated blogger Holly Anderson, and Eric Crawford from the Courier-Journal, to help get to the bottom of the realignment and its effects.

Audio MP3