The Kentucky Wildcats basketball team just wrapped up the 2014-15 season with a disappointing 71-64 loss at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers in the Final Four up in Indianapolis. The Badgers will now move on to play the Duke Blue Devils in the national championship game.
This will be the Badgers’ second time playing for all the marbles. The last time they did so was in 1941 when they won the title. The date was March 29, 1941, Wisconsin defeated Washington State 39-34 in Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.
Seventy-four years later they again play for the title. Bo Ryan has been gradually building their program. They have been solid for a while but weren’t consistently accustomed to making deep tournament runs. They have now made three Final Fours this millennium (2000, 2014, 2015).
Think back to the fact that this is Wisconsin’s first trip to the title game since 1941. This article isn’t a knock on the Badgers, but think about it.
World War II was raging when they won their title. Pearl Harbor had yet to be bombed. Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan is no spring chicken but he wasn’t born until 1947, a full six years after the Badgers cut down the nets. Generations of Badgers fans have been waiting a long time to see their team have a chance to win a championship.
From the Kentucky perspective this is why we’re a tad spoiled and there is nothing at all wrong with that. It just makes the case for how good we’ve had it.
I am 37 years of age. Half of the eight championships won have come in my lifetime (and yes I count the 1978 title win against Duke when I was four months old). They have appeared in 10 Final Fours. Nearly a third of my life UK has been one of the last four standing. To take it even further, if you are 50 years old, Kentucky has played in 12 Final Fours in your lifetime. Nearly a quarter of your life has been spent watching Big Blue in the Final Four.
Can you imagine having to wait 74 years between Kentucky’s national championship game appearances? We couldn’t fathom it, we can’t fathom it. We have no idea what that’s like. Kentucky is always in the mix and more often than not competing for championships.
As tough as this 38-1 season is to swallow and last year’s loss to UConn as well for that matter getting to Final Fours and title games and having a shot to win it all is much better than the alternative.